Maintaining growth with our closest neighbour

Australia insight column by Tim Burgess, General Manager Australia

As Tourism New Zealand's largest and closest market, Australia plays a crucial role. Accordingly, it is a regular topic of our communications and was most recently included as a webinar session earlier this month.

Maintaining growth in Australian holiday arrivals is a core focus of our marketing activity. Today's IVA figures have shown that holiday arrivals grew by 3.7 per cent for the year ending March 2012, confirming  that destination New Zealand continues to be an attractive holiday destination to the Australian market.

At the heart our activity is a drive to increase visits and maximise length of stay.  Our research us that 57 per cent of Australians that come here on holiday have visited New Zealand before, so we target first time visitors as we know there is a strong opportunity to get them back again.

We continue to refine our segmentation of the Australian market to ensure we are targeting the right people with the right message. Our current four segments - Young Adventurers, Independent Professionals, Silver Surfers and Families - span age groups and interests. We break this down to an even stronger message by tailoring campaigns to each sectors' special interests such as ski and walking.

Partner activity remains key to increasing the reach and effectiveness of these campaigns.
Our recent campaign 'Go with someone who knows' saw us partner with coach operators to generate awareness of New Zealand as a coach tour destination. We are planning to evolve the campaign to run again later in the year.

Another joint venture campaign, The South Island road trip, was the first to use a new partnership structure focusing on larger, more synchronised and consumer driven activity with multiple partners. Rolled out in association with South Island RTOs, travel sellers and Australian based travel trade, the campaign surpassed all online targets and generated over 43,000 referrals to travel sellers.

The success of this new structure confirmed that there are more opportunities for collaboration of this kind and a similar campaign for the North Island is now being developed for later this year.

Our latest partnership activity is our winter Ski campaign, More in Everyday. Launched in February this is being implemented with partners such as Ski Tourism Marketing Network (TMN) and Flight Centre, to position New Zealand as the only place to ski this winter.

TNZ has just partnered with a range of New Zealand operators to create a strong New Zealand presence at the recent consumer shows across Australia. This was the first time in a number of years we had attended consumer events to engage with Australian travellers face-to-face alongside New Zealand suppliers and the feedback we have received so far has been very positive.

Engaging with travel trade completes the loop in our marketing activity. In Australia we are focused on supporting frontline travel sellers with training and famils - to ensure they have the tools to convert the interest we generate in our activity into bookings.

Which brings me to TRENZ - New Zealand's biggest trade event. This year I will present on the Australian market alongside Owen Eagles of ANZCRO, whose years of experience selling New Zealand holidays to Australians will be sure to offer some interesting points of discussion for all.

I looking forward to meeting you and discussing our plans for the year ahead, as well as sharing examples of the successful campaign and PR work we have completed.