TRENZ Report

*Kimpton's EarthCare Program
*Marriott's L.A. Expansion
*Mile Hi Tours Closes

By: Deborah Dimond

Buyers from around the world gathered in Christchurch, New Zealand, for the annual Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand (TRENZ). There, the country showcased its best accommodations and tour operators.

For four days international tourism buyers met with local exhibitors to negotiate and plan future New Zealand tour packages the exhibitors varied from bungee jumping to balloon rides and luxury hotels to elaborate tree houses.

Minister of Tourism Damien O’Connor spoke to the international media about catering to the “interactive traveler” with new opportunities for unique cultural travel itineraries.

O’Connor also stressed New Zealand Tourism’s continued efforts to educate the American public regarding New Zealand’s natural beauty, as well as its proximity to the Western U.S. (a 12½-hour flight).

In addition, O’Connor announced that the popular 100% Pure New Zealand ad campaign will continue to run on the Travel Channel and CNN, targeting potential visitors.

On the main convention floor, Air New Zealand, one of the shows main sponsors, gave visitors a chance to put their feet up in style on their newly designed “Beach Bach” lounge. The design incorporates sleek lighting fixtures, wicker furniture and a reoccurring fern motif. The exhibitors’ set up mimicked the newly completed Melbourne Airport’s Koru Lounge.

“We want Kiwis to feel at home,” said Chris Meyers, an Air New Zealand employee.

Plans were also revealed for similar renovations to take place at the Air New Zealand lounge at Christchurch to be completed mid-November.

New exhibitors at TRENZ this year included The Secrets of Bungy, a behind-the-scenes bungy tour, allowing visitors to explore the dynamics of the sport without actually having to jump.


As part of its ongoing EarthCare environmental program, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants announced the 2006 Parks for People campaign, a partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL).

Dedicated to nurturing its guests and the environment, Kimpton is partnering with TPL, the only national nonprofit dedicated to conserving land for public recreation. The campaign will include events and outreach in all hotel locations through July.

“Kimpton has always held a strong, eco-friendly outlook at all levels of the organization, which includes a sense of responsibility, appreciation and care for the planet,” said Niki Leondakis, COO of Kimpton hotels. “Our Trust for Public Land partnership, and Kimpton’s EarthCare initiative as a whole, demonstrates our unyielding commitment to make a difference for the environment on a local, national and global level.”

Kimpton’s EarthCare recycling and water-preservation programs have saved about 347 trees and enough water to fill 681 747 aircrafts. In one year, Kimpton’s efforts to use non-toxic cleaning solutions and air fresheners kept more than 14 Olympic-sized pools of toxic waste out of the environment.

As part of the TPL partnership, Kimpton employees and guests will work together on a variety of environmental community service events, including organic wine hours with local TPL staff, eco-friendly fundraising events, percentage-of-sale donations for green KimptonStyle products and cross-promotional regional charity events.

Over the two years that Kimpton has partnered with TPL, over $90,000 has been raised for the organization.

“Parks are vital to livable, lovable cities,” said Will Rogers, TPL president. “Kimpton Hotel’s commitment to the Parks for People is about just that quality of life close to home.”


KB Urban, one of the nation’s premier homebuilders, and AEG, a leading sports and entertainment presenter, announced an agreement with Marriott International to open two luxury hotel properties and private residences at the L.A. Live sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles.

The complex will include the Marriott Marquis, an 876-room property; the Ritz-Carlton-Los Angeles, a 124-room boutique hotel; as well as more than 200 condominiums known as The Residences. Condo highlights include concierge, valet, housekeeping services, as well as VIP access to events at Staples Center and the Nokia Theater. Opening dates for the properties are scheduled for 2010.


In an e-mail message, Mile Hi Tours’ president Pam Murdock informed travel agent customers that the Denver-based wholesaler has closed its doors after 33 years. The wholesaler started up in 1973 as a Las Vegas specialist and then expanded across the U.S. to Mexico, the U.K. and Asia.

The e-mail informed customers of Mile Hi’s closing and said that while the company was focused on customer service and support, apparently the travel industry had “moved away from service as a valued selling point, and short-term profit has become more valued than established trusted relationships.”

Mile Hi found it impossible to compete in the new “technology-driven, mega-business environment,” the message said.

The company Web site also notifies customers of Mile Hi’s closure and lists information and contacts for travelers.


Dreams come true during Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts “Year of a Million Dreams,” a first-of-its-kind celebration beginning Oct. 1.

During the event, Disney will debut new attractions and entertainment at its resorts, plus new technologies that allow guests to customize their Disney experience.

Guests will be selected at random through the “Disney Dreams Giveaway” promotion for a stay at the royal bedchamber inside Cinderella’s Castle or at a Mickey Mouse Penthouse, both to be completed by January 2007.


The 2006 edition of Los Angeles: The Official Meeting and Travel Professionals Guide, was designed to capture the city’s diversity, creativity, history and culture with a 38-page pictorial showcase.

The guide offers photos and information on city life, including fashion, restaurants, attractions and nightlife within Los Angeles’ seven distinct regions. Listings include hotel accommodations for different budgets along with information on city services and transportation.


Ensemble Travel Group recently added five new suppliers to the Ensemble On Location and Preferred Destination Partners programs. New members include My Tropic, Escape-Jamaica, United Travel-Turkey, Wilderness Australia, India Tourism and Tourism Ireland.

“Thanks to the strong relationships we have with our Ensemble On Location and destination partners, our members are able to deliver those ‘bragging-right’ experiences to their clients in a way that builds customer loyalty and grows their bottom line,” said Jack E. Mannix, CTC, president and CEO of Ensemble Travel Group.

Ensemble has more than 40 Ensemble On Location suppliers and seven Preferred Destination Partners.

Jenna Convoy