Following a year of continuous design and usability improvements Catherine Bates, General Manager Brand and International PR, says the latest results are very positive and confirm that the site is effectively engaging with travellers.
"The results seen in January conclude a year of incremental growth resulting in the site's strongest 12 month period - visits are up four per cent and referrals up 18 per cent for the year ending 31 January."
The site attracts more than 12.1 million visits per year.
"Sitting at the centre of our marketing strategy, the core role of newzealand.com is to build preference for New Zealand as a holiday destination and connect potential travellers with operators and travel sellers and convert them to travel.
"With such a significant increase in industry referrals we know we have the mix of innovation and usability right."
The launch of two major campaigns in late 2012 have also been a catalyst for substantial traffic increases - however, it is the conversion of this traffic into quality referrals to the industry that is important.
In November, 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand was rolled out across all market versions of the site, maximising the international attention New Zealand is drawing from starring in The Hobbit trilogy, into travel. In December a wedding themed campaign was launched in China with Chinese brand ambassador Yao Chen highlighting New Zealand as a wedding destination.
"While the latest campaigns have played a key role in driving traffic to the site, the increase of referrals tell us that these visitors are engaged and actively planning their trip to New Zealand," says Catherine.
Just under half of the referrals generated on the site went to New Zealand based businesses, while international airlines including Air New Zealand received 32 per cent and offshore travel trade 17 per cent.
"Since we completed the usability improvements to the site we have seen important increases in consumer engagement - views of content contributed by users and listed businesses is up 47 per cent and there has been increased use of new functionality such as the integrated maps and the Trip Planner tool which is up 300 per cent."
The site continues to evolve, and enhancements to support marketing campaigns to deliver improved usability and functionality are on-going. In late January the site was optimised for use on mobile devices.
"While we are in the very early stages, results have shown users are finding it easier to find the information they are looking for with increased use of planning tools and engagement with business listings both really positive outcomes."
Key newzealand.com statistics - YE 31 January 2013:
- 12.1 million total visits
- An average of 3.3 pages viewed per visit
- 154,000 items added to the Trip Planner tool
- A total of 1.6 million referrals generated to industry
- 12 market versions of newzealand.com, with four translated into German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean
- Approximately 7,000 business listings