Tourism New Zealand's Director of Trade, PR and Major Events Justin Watson says the organisation has made a concerted effort in working with the travel trade to develop their understanding and knowledge of luxury New Zealand, demonstrated in the activity undertaken across November.
"The premium travel trade is a key channel in connecting with high net worth individuals. Many of them act as trusted advisors, organising bespoke luxury itineraries for high net worth individuals and their families.
"Our job is to ensure New Zealand's unique style of luxury is front and centre by ensuring the trade's understanding and knowledge of New Zealand - and in turn, their ability to effectively sell the premium experience is high.
New Zealand was the topic of conversation in Marrakech with Tourism New Zealand sponsoring the PURE awards, a celebration of what is said to be the industries' 'high-end experiential travel mavericks'. This is the second year in a row that the organisation has sponsored the awards and is an opportunity to present New Zealand's unique style of luxury to a pre-qualified audience. The ceremony put New Zealand firmly in the spotlight and even featured a haka with every member of the audience participating.
The awards were held as part of PURE 2014, the world's leading invitation-only travel trade show for the experiential travel market. Eight New Zealand trade partners were at the event to showcase luxury New Zealand to the 400 attending buyers who make up the crème de la crème of experiential travel across the globe.
In the lead up to PURE, a New Zealand luxury evening supported by Air New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers was held in London. Providing product training to 42 reservation staff from premium tour operators and super yacht charter managers in the UK, the event was an opportunity for those New Zealand partners already in market attending PURE to train guests on New Zealand's luxury offering. The value of the event is already paying dividends, with booking secured already.
Earlier in the month, Tourism New Zealand exhibited at A Taste of ILTM at World Travel Market, the UK's annual trade event. During pre-scheduled appointments, Tourism New Zealand met with 15 premium tour operators and personal travel agents from around the country to showcase luxury New Zealand.
And last week the team were in Paris for a tour operator client event with over 200 guests in attendance, followed by a Luxury Lodges of New Zealand dinner back in the UK with 16 top product managers and reservation staff from key operators in Chester.
And closing out a busy time on the road, Tourism New Zealand will be at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Cannes in early December meeting with over 60 luxury operators from across Europe.
Complementing the trade activity in these markets, marketing and public relations efforts focus on telling the story of New Zealand as a premium destination.
Trade marketing campaigns with premium operators in the UK, France and Germany are currently underway with campaigns live throughout the peak booking period. The activity includes online and print advertising, client evenings and targeted database marketing.
The latest edition of high-end French magazine Hotel & Lodge features eight pages on luxury tented lodge Minaret Station, following a New Zealand visit earlier in the year. This follows their 32-page July feature and pieces from premium publications Voyage de Luxe and Le Figaro Magazine.
Murray McCaw, Chairman of Luxury Lodges of New Zealand says the activity across the month has been very good and it was evident that the showcasing of New Zealand as a luxury destination was well received by operators who currently sell New Zealand as well as new ones considering it.
"It is clear that being at these events definitely puts New Zealand on the map and works to strengthen New Zealand's positioning as a luxury destination.
Justin says, "we're seeing some good success coming out of UK and Europe with tour operators reporting some superb bookings as a result of the work we're doing with them.
"A year on, the increased efforts to promote New Zealand as a premium destination in these markets is evident and we're looking forward to building on this in the new year."
Capturing greater value from the lucrative premium sector is an important component of Tourism New Zealand's strategy to grow the number of high-value visitors to New Zealand.
Read more about Tourism New Zealand's Premium activity and strategy.