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NZ Cruise Industry Pioneer Joins Tall Poppy

A passion for houses has seen a pioneer of New Zealand’s cruise holiday industry join Tall Poppy Real Estate after the Covid-19 ‘tsunami’ decimated the travel industry overnight.

Jacqueline Unsworth is part of the Tall Poppy Tauranga South team, working in the community where she’s lived and raised her family for 18 years. She says travel and real estate have many things in common.

“(in both) You’re dealing with people and their expectations. Communication is key, and honesty is everything. In travel, you are dealing with people’s short term dreams to make them a reality, and in real estate, those dreams are longer-term as this is where they will spend so much of their time with loved ones and making memories,” says Jacqueline.

The Changing World of Travel

Jacqueline was the co-founder of the first company to begin marketing world-wide cruise holidays in New Zealand in the early 90’s. During her career, she went on to become the face of helloworld Travel as the Cruise Marketing Manager, helping grow revenue from $3 million per year to more than $60 million.

She was awarded a lifetime achievement award in 2008, known as the Cruise Lines International Association Hall of Fame Award, and is the only New Zealander to have been given this honour.

However, everything changed in early 2020. Jacqueline says they could see Covid-19 coming in late January, but initially had no idea to the extent it would cripple the travel industry.

“Initially we thought it would be contained in Asia and then Italy and we would be spared. By early March it was clear that Covid had moved at such a pace we could no longer market cruise holidays. It was like a tsunami hitting us, and there was just nowhere to go.

“Cancellations were escalating; ships were desperately trying to get clients home safely, regulations were moving by the hour, borders were closing - suddenly we were dealing with a whole raft of issues we had never had to deal with, including international situations, where ships were stranded with Covid-19 infected patients.”

Since then, thousands of people have lost their jobs, and New Zealand’s outbound tourism industry income has dropped by up to 95%, with many travel stores closed or in hibernation.

 New Horizons in Real Estate

Jacqueline says real estate has always intrigued her. A passion for houses runs in her family. Her mother was a real estate agent and her father a builder, so she was always on building sites with him growing up or helping at their family home over the weekends with DIY jobs.

“In real estate you need to listen well to find a solution and deliver results. Like travel – if you do a great job, people refer you and come back to you time and again for your experience and service. Many of my travel friends have switched to real estate and haven’t looked back,” says Jacqueline.

Janet O’Shea, Business Partner for Tauranga South says she has known Jacqueline for just over 10 years, when she first met Jacqueline and her husband as clients. Since then she has gotten to know Jacqueline as a friend.

"Jacqueline impressed me right from the start with her friendly manner and obvious understanding of marketing and sales.  Put that together with warmth, intelligence and a great sense of humour and you have a great recipe for success."  

“I am very excited to have her as part of the Tauranga South team and know she will be a huge asset to anyone looking to sell," says Janet O’Shea.

If you’re keen to find out more about properties in Tauranga South contact Jacqueline or call us on 0800 82 55 76.