Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Fans quick to inquire for next All Blacks trips

The tour company hopes fans give players space and not be like over-friendly Tim. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The tour company hopes fans give players space and not be like over-friendly Tim. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Tours for All Blacks fans have been launched by the new overseas-owned official player in the market.

All Blacks Tours kicked off at the weekend and would have hoped the team could have produced a better result at Twickenham - one of the worst places in the world to be wearing black when England wins. But the company says it is looking ahead to next season and beyond with a range of domestic and international packages.

British-owned All Blacks Tours has been exclusively appointed by the NZ Rugby Union to provide official All Blacks supporters travel, replacing Williment Sports Travel.

All Blacks Tours general manager David Caldwell said it was always better for touring fans when the national side won.

"If they can keep that momentum going the interest is high. The more they keep winning the more you want to see them play."

Caldwell said since the company's website went live at the weekend, a "fair number" of inquiries had come through, especially for games in Argentina and South Africa.

All Blacks Tours is a joint venture between sports hospitality firm Sodexo and the Mike Burton Group, which were behind Rugby Travel & Hospitality that managed the official travel and hospitality programme for last year's Rugby World Cup. The NZRU, which is trying to leverage more from the All Black brand, will get a proportion of profits.

Caldwell said the 2015 cup in England was a big focus for the firm, although it will firstly have to win the rights to be an official provider.

"Primarily that's what the business is building towards - we're looking to send 5000 to 6000 supporters there hopefully," said Caldwell. "History shows that the nation who has the cup sends a lot of people to the following cup."

Packages for domestic tests start at $355 and pricing is still being worked out for overseas tours. The company has Air New Zealand as a commercial partner and where possible travel will be with the airline.

Caldwell said fans would be able to get a behind the scenes perspective and attend training runs, but expectations had to be managed with some who were somewhat like the Tim character from the Mastercard ads who wins a trip with the team.

'We have to make sure that the consumer doesn't think that because you're going on tour with them you're going to have access to them 24/7. We'll help them understand that the guys are there to do a job."

v Australia

* Sydney, August next year.
* Two nights' accommodation including a match ticket, functions and a celebrity tour host
* $2195

v France

* Auckland, June
* One night plus ticket
* $355.

- NZ Herald

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 01 Oct 2014 18:31:36 Processing Time: 1082ms