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The importance of digital communication

Digital channels sit at the heart of Tourism New Zealand's (TNZ) marketing strategy - communicating directly with Active Considerers in our core markets to drive preference for New Zealand and connect them with tourism businesses.

In July, TNZ made a significant addition to its suite of digital marketing channels with the launch of its first free to download mobile app - Essential New Zealand.

Designed using robust user research, the app works in tandem with TNZ's mobile optimised website - newzealand.com.  Working together, the digital channels maintain a relationship with visitors throughout all stages of their travel lifecycle; from the dreaming and planning stage, through to experiencing and sharing their New Zealand stories.

Importantly the app capitalises on the increased use of mobile devices by visitors while in the country.

In 2011-2012 TNZ's Visitor Experience Monitor showed use of mobile devices had risen dramatically, with travellers using an iPad or laptop up 44 per cent, and use of a smartphone up 28 per cent. On newzealand.com, mobile visits were up 250 per cent and mobile referrals up 1,000 per cent compared to 2012.

Accessed without the need for a WiFi connection Essential New Zealand supports this increased demand for mobile information - ensuring travellers can access the information they are looking for when they want it wherever they may be.

With over 1,150 activities and experiences included on download, visitors can access information regardless while they are on a boat in the middle of Milford Sound or pausing at one of the huts on the Tongariro crossing. They will be able to use the app to plan their next activity, rather than wait until they are back at a hotel or café.

Enabling visitors to connect with tourism experiences the app works to influence their travel decisions encouraging them to travel more widely and do more paid tourist activities while in New Zealand. It is also expected to generate highly qualified referrals to tourism businesses, for operators to convert into bookings.

This in turn helps to maximise the value of international visitors to the New Zealand economy.

And for those listed on newzealand.com the app increases the value of their listing. Drawing on existing information from the listing on newzealand.com the app provides an additional channel to market their business and connect with travellers.

With more developments underway the app is set to get better for both users and tourism businesses. Be sure to keep posted on www.tourismnewzealand.com for updates.

Catherine Bates

General Manager Brand and International PR