As a result, criteria have been refreshed and a live trial will begin from 25 October. The focus is about continuous improvement with the period up until Christmas serving as a time of testing and refinement. After a full year of assessments under the new criteria, Tourism New Zealand will then be seeking feedback and looking to make further improvements.
The improvements mean that Qualmark will take a much more rounded view of what quality means. It will offer a more tailored experience to members, recognising that not one size fits all. There will be more advisors, providing more frequent contact with business. The Enviro awards programme won’t stay in its current form but rather than lessening the emphasis on sustainability, all assessments will include some aspects of environmental performance.
There will be a greater emphasis on customer service and customer satisfaction. What the customer is actually saying about the experience or product will be included in the assessment. With new legislation in place, health and safety will also play a more important part in the new criteria.
The way criteria is applied will also be different. It will move from a tick box structure to more of an overall evaluation of the criteria against three models; either a minimum set of attributes, or those that are demonstrated by a good performing business or those attributes that represent best practice.
Assessors will be looking for good processes that result in good products that lead to a good visitor experiences.
The introduction of a new product, 100% Pure NZ Experiences will recognise the very best, sustainable operators. These are the operators that reinforce that drive preference for New Zealand and are regarded as a uniquely New Zealand experience.
Tourism New Zealand has always informally prioritised working with Qualmark operators and is now moving to a stronger preference to use Qualmarked operators in all our famil, travel, trade and media work.
By choosing to work with Qualmark operators, Tourism New Zealand is aligning itself with businesses that can be assured are delivering a superior customer experience; demonstrating strong customer safety and delivering a responsible social and environmental performance.
The improvements are part of wider efforts to unite the New Zealand tourism industry around securing a strong sustainable position for future generations by looking after what makes New Zealand a unique and desirable destination.
This refresh of Qualmark is seen as more important now than ever before with more international visitors who are better informed and have higher expectations about what they expect from every experience and product.
A series of webinars will be rolled out in the lead up to the trial to explain the changes in more detail. Look out for registration details.