Business Events: paving the way for success

Having been around since 1901 (in different forms), Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has more than a few years' experience on how to market New Zealand as an international visitor destination.

Our global tourism campaign - 100% Pure New Zealand - has put us on the map internationally and is often viewed as one of the most successful tourism campaigns across the globe.

Taking on the role in 2011 of marketing and positioning New Zealand as a compelling business events destination was a logical next step for the organisation.

As we come to the end of a second year of activity in the Business Events sector, there are plenty of successes for the industry to celebrate, and a number of new opportunities to take advantage of.

Key to the success is a strong partnership with Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) and a consistent exchange with the New Zealand Business Events sector.

TNZ has identified the business events sector as presenting a significant opportunity to grow visitor value by attracting more high value conference delegate and incentive visitors to New Zealand. Additional opportunities lie with building on pre- and post-conference itineraries.

In July 2011 Tourism New Zealand assumed responsibility for the administration of theConference Assistance Programme (CAP). With 10 bid wins to date worth a combined estimated economic benefit of approximately $16,000,000, the success in this space is evident. We also had a coup in the US market, securing a 12-month marketing agreement with Maritz Travel, America's largest incentive travel management company, to grow incentive and corporate travel to New Zealand from the US. Attendance at trade shows such as IMEX Las Vegas continues and incentive and corporate  end-user familiarisation trips promoting NZ's incentive product have increased.

These are just some examples of some of the work going on in the sector delivering tangible results. There is however just as much work that goes on behind the scenes that paves the way for success.

Tourism New Zealand is now actively targeting the Business Events sector in the United States, South and South East Asia and China to market New Zealand as a business events destination.

As such, a large part of our work is 'New Zealand 101' with an emphasis on developing relationships and introducing the market to New Zealand.

In South and South East Asia particularly, our business events focus is on making destination New Zealand better known. As a relatively new incentive market for New Zealand, this means working alongside trade partners and corporate end users to generate new business interests and then actively support them to bid for the business.

As well as ensuring that New Zealand as an incentive destination is top of mind for our offshore audience, we need to make sure that the New Zealand industry is well equipped to deliver a quality experience to this sector once they arrive in the country.

Our upcoming China incentive workshop in partnership with Air New Zealand and CINZ is one way we are doing this.
China holds huge opportunities for the industry as a whole and Tourism New Zealand is committed to ensuring you as operators are extracting the best possible value. The workshop, designed to help the incentive industry be 'China ready', will provide information on conducting business with the China market and discuss how the China travel distribution system works.

In March, we are also hosting the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in New Zealand. ICCA are specialists in the international association meetings sector and hold a wealth of information on international conferencing. Industry is invited to join our session in Auckland, with two of ICCA's experts, to discuss the future of meetings in Asia Pacific.

Business events is a developing sector in New Zealand and we're doing a lot of work both here and offshore to ensure New Zealand is best pitched as an international conferencing and incentive destination. The ground work being undertaken in these markets is paying off and I look forward to sharing more of our successes with you in the coming months.

First published in Inside Tourism: 14 March 2013, issue 920

Justin Watson

Director of Trade, PR and Major Events