An influencer who genuinely loves NZ. Priceless.

The media was eating out of Bollywood actor and Tourism Ambassador Sidharth Malhotra’s hand at a recent media conference back in India. It is this attention, often unseen back here, that helps generate the enormous value for the industry that Tourism New Zealand works hard to achieve.

Special mentions were given by Sidharth to both NZONE Skydiveand Eichardt’s in Queenstown. To date, Sidharth has generated more than $4.5 million in estimated advertising value which doesn’t even include this latest press event.

The results from Tourism New Zealand’s relationship with this particular influencer have been immediate for NZONE Skydive which is where it’s at for Business Development Manager Derek Melnick: “Our industry is so responsive to opinion leaders like Sidharth, this piece of activity really boosts not only our organisation, but does a wonderful job of positioning our destination as ‘The Adventure Capital of The World’.”

“Another really valuable outcome in this whole exercise is the longevity that something like this will hold in a market like India – if it’s anything like previous pieces of activity involving cricket or Bollywood, this one will have recall for years to come,” says Derek.

There’s no doubt that individual mentions at press conferences are priceless but Tourism New Zealand’s Director of Trade, PR and Major Events René de Monchy's job is to focus on the benefit to the industry as a whole.

“A critical part of selecting an influencer is getting the right fit for how we are marketing New Zealand and this is not a five minute job.

“Sidharth’s enthusiasm is infectious and his genuine passion for New Zealand cuts through all coverage, including to his 2.8 million social media followers. And let’s not forget old fashioned word of mouth.”

In emerging markets such as India, Tourism New Zealand uses opinion leaders to grow profile for destination New Zealand whereas in mature markets Tourism New Zealand often secures influencers to bring profile to a particular activity or special interest.

Our royal visitors’ excursions to tucked away gem locations directly enhance Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to spread visitors more evenly throughout the year and across the country.

Prince Harry’s autumn visit to Stewart Island last year is a good example. While the direct benefit of royal visits is not always immediately measurable, a recent cruise ship visit by P&O Pacific Pearl led to the local community giving an enthusiastic nod on facebook to the royal visitor's impact which was apparent when chatting to passengers.

The formula to spread the word about New Zealand by tapping into the networks of key influencers is a tried and true formula across many successful brands including destination New Zealand. This clever maximisation of investment pays dividends at the individual, regional and overall industry level.