New Zealand's target market in the US uses guide books and the
Internet as key research and planning tools. However, travel agents
continue to have more influence on travel decisions in the US than
other markets. US travellers tend to book close to arrival.
The way people research and book travel has changed in the last
five years. Better access to broadband internet and the growth of
e-commerce have been major factors behind this shift in
Tourism New Zealand has conducted research into the way
consumers from our target market research and book travel in order
to ensure the most effective channel strategy. The research
surveyed travellers from Australia, the UK, US and Germany. Over 200
surveys were conducted with those who visited New Zealand during
November and December 2008.
It should be noted that since the research was undertaken,
industry feedback suggests that visitors are now booking later
because of the economic downturn that hit in late 2008 and an
increase in special deals on last-minute travel.
How US visitors plan and book travel
Despite being a long-haul market for New Zealand, visitors from
the US tend to book travel relatively close to time of arrival,
around one to three months before arrival. The exception is cruise
travelers who tend to book early - up to 280 days prior to travel.
The cruise season runs from October to April and cruise travellers
make up 27 per cent of the US market.
Tourism New Zealand's target market in the US has multiple ways
of going through the process of research and of booking
US travellers are the heaviest users of guide books to research
holiday destinations and they tend to use the internet as the key
planning tool. When it comes to booking, they are most likely to
use provider websites, though they do tend to only book familiar
international destinations online.
The use of online travel agents (OTAs), such as www.expedia.com
and www.orbitz.com, is growing as Americans become more confident
researching and booking holidays online. This is particularly true
with regard to booking flights.
Industry feedback suggests that the influence of 'on-the-ground'
travel agents is higher in the US than in other markets, primarily
because of the perception of this group as 'experts' and the
level of personal and customised service they provide. This
is especially the case for more specialised travel or when the
traveller doesn't know much about the destination. Travel
agents are likely to remain an important booking channel for the
Once in New Zealand, travellers are also very likely to visit
operators and i-SITE visitor centres to find out more information
As with other markets, booking of activities is done largely
after arrival in New Zealand, except in cases where pre-booking is
recommended. In this case, bookings will be made directly through a
Read an overview of the research
about the US in the online market guide