Tourism New Zealand unveils new digital strategy
Tourism New Zealand has launched its new travel website, newzealand.com, as the next phase of the organisation’s digital marketing strategy. The site now enables potential visitors to New Zealand to research activities and experiences, update and load content, and read articles contributed by locally-based travel companies, as well as like-minded travellers. Visitors can also ‘virtually’ explore New Zealand and directly interact with tourism operators.
The tourism board said the impetus for the changes came from research data that indicated the internet had become the prime place for potential travellers to research and book travel. The research also indicated that potential travellers were strongly influenced by the experiences of like-minded people, and that they wanted to be able to do all parts of the purchasing process (research, plan and secure a booking) online.
Catherine Bates, Tourism New Zealand General Manager, Brand & International PR commented; “The new functionality takes newzealand.com to a whole new level by inspiring, informing and connecting visitors to New Zealand – effectively delivering a one-stop online travel showroom and connecting our web visitors to travel partners.”
The major new feature of the site is the ‘explore’ function which enables New Zealand travel operators to contribute content and travel deals to the site as well as adding links back to their own websites. These articles will be ranked based on their content ‘richness’, for example use of images and videos, and feedback from consumers, to encourage companies to post high quality and relevant articles.
Registration for operators is free and open to all companies selling New Zealand ensuring the trade benefits directly from visitors to the site. Content can be posted by anyone, including past travellers to New Zealand, as well as bloggers or New Zealand based travel experts.
Bates continued; “The redeveloped site reflects the shift in marketing New Zealand internationally from generating awareness about the country through traditional media, to actively targeting the people who are already considering travelling here using online channels.”
Visitors will be encouraged to the site through search engine marketing, other online advertising and social media.
“The internet had become the prime place that 80 percent of potential travellers go to research, plan and book travel. With many millions of potential travellers actively considering visiting New Zealand at any one time, our revamped website has to be able to actively convert this interest into referrals to our travel partners and ultimately, bookings.
“The site also represents the most cost-effective approach in engaging with such a large number of people in a way that moves them from being ‘active considerers’ to ‘actual travellers’,” Bates added.
The benefits of businesses actively participating in the site were made clear during an initial pilot phase. Businesses that contributed at least one article were 58 times more likely to be contacted by a customer than those without an article on the site, while businesses that loaded at least one deal were four times more likely to be contacted by a customer, three times more likely to have their pages shared with a friend and 1.5 times more likely to receive comments or questions on one of their articles or listings.
This year newzealand.com has been tracking about 60% above a year ago at 1.2M unique visits, and 150k referrals per month.