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Continuous improvements yield results for industry

Over the last 12 months, a range of improvements have been made on our consumer site - newzealand.com - to make it more effective in connecting potential travellers with operators and travel sellers, converting them to travel.

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Results are looking very positive with users appearing more engaged with them more readily connecting with businesses listed on the site.

The changes were completed 31 October and total referrals to industry are up 30 per cent when compared to November 2011.

The improvements that were made are part of the site's on-going evolution and build on our 2011 redevelopment, which gave operators and travel sellers greater ability to use the site to promote their business.

The changes were based on an independent usability review, industry feedback and robust user research. This helped to inform what improvements would support the needs of users, and will continue to feature in the on-going evolution of the site.

One example of the benefit of user insights is the increased use of the Trip Planner tool since changes were made based on user feedback. During our research 47 per cent of visitors to the site told us they were actively planning a trip. As a result we ensured the Trip Planner tool would feature more prominently in relevant places. The result has seen a 277 per cent increase in visitors adding content to their Trip Planner while exploring the site, confirming they are actively planning and booking their holiday.

In the months leading up to the re-launch, small but significant changes were implemented including an updated navigation structure to help users find popular content and business listings. Content was also renamed and re-grouped to enable users to make a clearer distinction between official and contributed content.

The longer-term benefit of these continuous improvements can be seen when we look at the results from July - November 2012 against the same period last year. 

Here we see total site referrals up 21 per cent year-on-year, while referrals to New Zealand-based operators, are up 47 per cent compared to July to November 2011. We have also seen large increases in business listing referrals from all key markets - Australia is up 37 per cent, USA 54 per cent and UK 44 per cent.

This tells me that the series of improvements are delivering incrementally positive results - with more visitors to the site connecting with New Zealand businesses.

In the coming months we will continue to monitor how visitors to the site are using the content and will keep you updated on key results in our operator newsletter Inside newzealand.com, distributed to registered businesses, through Tourism News and our corporate website tourismnewzealand.com.