What do travellers expect from a luxury tour vehicle? A guide for NZ luxury tour operators.

A luxury passenger fitout, by experienced professionals, with a quality finish and attention to detail can completely transform the travel experience.

Epic ‘Lord of the Rings’ scenery, Instagram-able experiences, internationally acclaimed food and wine, premium accommodation, not to mention kiwi encounters (the bird, people and the fruit). These are only a few of the expectations a visitor has from their luxury New Zealand travel experience.


As Greg Bruce, Senior multimedia journalist for the NZ Herald, and luxury travel fan writes in this article ‘My favourite thing about luxury travel is the way it breaks down the barrier between the part of your brain that desires things, and the fulfilment of those desires, so you no longer need to think about what will make you happiest because someone else already has.’
And what if that someone happens to be you – the tour operator?

With so many details to get right, it can be easy to overlook the fact – the quality of the journey plays an integral part in their experience. So, what can a luxury tour operator do to ensure their fleet meets expectations?

The main factors that make a luxury tour bus or minivan stand out are

  • Comfort
  • Convenience
  • Safety
  • Sustainability
  • Style and attention to detail

A luxury passenger fitout, by experienced professionals, with a quality finish and attention to detail can completely transform the travel experience!

Luxury tour van


Part of what makes Aotearoa so appealing is that a visitor can experience a lot of the country, in a short time. Imagine being on a beach in the morning and on top of a mountain in the afternoon. But the time spent in a vehicle can make or break their holiday.


Having comfortable seating is essential. An ideal seat should have a well-engineered design with extra cushioning and ergonomic sitting position, to provide supreme comfort. Extra features add to the feeling that everything is taken care of.

These include:

  • Leather covering
  • Fold away trays
  • Magazine nets
  • Reclining backrests
  • Folding arms
  • Coat hangers

The number and layout of the seats, to allow ample room, is an important factor when it comes to comfort. It is also worth considering whether an extra wide seat would suit your clients.

For more detail around seating read our article Not all seats are created equal.

Interior of Tour Van showing Luxury Seating

An ideal seat should have a well-engineered design with extra cushioning and ergonomic sitting position, to provide supreme comfort.


For a comfortable journey air conditioning is a must. Many fitouts feature an air-conditioning vent per row of seats to ensure everyone is at the perfect temperature. Another consideration is curtains and/or tinted windows – allowing visitors to keep the sun off their faces or to sleep more comfortably (or for your celebrities to travel incognito!).


A luggage rack is a convenient and practical addition, as passengers can safely stow away small items above their heads. Luxury luggage racks have features such as an LED light that activates when the door is opened, and individual air-conditioning vents, creating an inviting environment for your passengers. For larger luggage installing a solid bulkhead with a storage shelf means items can be contained at the back of the vehicle.

Luxury luggage rack with LED lighting

A luxury luggage rack adds storage space and includes additional details such as LED lighting.

With all the photos of breathtaking scenery they’ll be taking, a USB charging port is a thoughtful touch for charging on-the-go.

Scene of New Zealand mountains with purple flowers in foreground

Your clients wont be able to resist photographing the spectacular scenery so a USB charging port would be a handy feature!


Adding to both safety and convenience are steps and safety handles. For a luxury vehicle steps and doors need to be automatic. While safety handles mean that passengers can enter your vehicle with ease.

If your business requires further accessibility options look at a crossover between a passenger and mobility vehicle, which provides both regular seating and wheelchair access.

Other safety features and considerations:

  • All passenger vehicles operating in New Zealand must have a Certificate of Fitness (CoF)
  • Choose a vehicle model that has a proven safety record
  • Seat designs should be certified to New Zealand safety standards and have passed crash tests
  • ISO fix brackets support the correct installation of child seats
  • Lighting to illuminate steps and walking paths


To match the clean green image of Aotearoa, fuel efficiency is imperative. This is aided by installing lightweight seats and linings. Consider a SmartBoard lining – this innovative product weighs less, saves fuel, lasts longer and is 100% recyclable.

Style and attention to detail

The visual aspect of your fitout is equally important. To really hit that luxury look ensure you have picked

  • A vehicle that is stylish and visually appealing
  • Delux carpet
  • Leather seats
  • LED lighting
  • Finishing that is second to none

A state-of-the-art high-quality sound system, PA system and television screens, are all great additions to enhance the journey with information and entertainment.

Overall the luxury tourism market demands a vehicle with a high-quality fitout that prioritises passenger comfort and safety.

As a luxury tour operator you are offering the best of New Zealand. So it is essential to your brand that you are offering the best travel experience – starting with the comfort, safety and detail of a luxury passenger fitout.


Auto Transform have been specialists in automotive transformations for over 35 years. Explore our website to see some of the fantastic passenger vehicle fitouts we have completed and to hear from our loyal customers. Download our Passenger Vehicle Brochure here. Or feel free to contact us for more personalised advice on your luxury tour vehicle requirements.

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