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Tour operator Headfirst Travel pivots to delivery services

16 Apr 2020  By Staff Reporter | | @tourismticker

ToMyDoor founder Evan Bloomfield with Nomad Safaris owner David Gatward-Ferguson in the background. Image: ToMyDoor

Tour operator Headfirst Travel has pivoted into a new personal shopping service hiring tourism drivers to deliver goods.

The Dunedin-based firm has used its national network to launch ToMyDoor, which transports groceries or medicines to customers stuck in lockdown who could not or were reluctant to leave their accommodation.

Headfirst Travel owners Evan Bloomfield and Ralph Davies said they created the business to help alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry.

“When the Government announced on 14 March that all travellers arriving in New Zealand would have to self-isolate for 14 days and cruise ships were banned until the end of June, we knew we were in for some tough times,” Bloomfield said.

“To suddenly have zero customers was pretty sobering. But we also knew we have a dedicated, passionate group of permanent employees, who want to help their local communities in a time of need. We have a fleet of vehicles in five centres around the country, so we looked at ways to pivot the business to support those communities.”

The service now operated in Queenstown, Dunedin, Oamaru, Rotorua and central Auckland and planned to expand to the rest of New Zealand by partnering with other tourism operators who could deliver goods. Each shopper/driver wore their own existing branded uniform and travelled in their own branded vehicle.

Queenstown-based Nomad Safaris had already partnered with the business.

“We explained the idea to David Gatward-Ferguson [owner of] Nomad Safaris and he instantly got it,” Davies said.

“He texted five minutes later to say he had three drivers keen to give it a go. They were delivering the next day.”

Customers could place an order on ToMyDoor’s website and enter the list of items they needed. A personal shopper would purchase the items from a local store and deliver them to the customer’s door. ToMyDoor charged the cost of the goods, a prescription delivery fee of $10 or a custom shopping order fee, usually $20.

The business had worked with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Transport to ensure it was an essential service. The venture was supported by the Government’s Business Continuity Package.


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