Mega famil takes collaboration to new heights

Over the past week, one of the largest industry-wide collaborative activities has been rolling out across the country, with around 400 international trade agents here experiencing the best of New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand's "Mega-Famil" has been months in the planning and has only been made possible due to the support received from our travel partners Air New Zealand, Emirates and the New Zealand tourism industry.

Around 250 agents from Australia, and a further 140 from the UK, Europe, North America and Mexico are currently participating in one of 24 different itineraries up and down the entire country - no doubt many of you have met them on their travels.
They are also participating in a day-long New Zealand training workshop in Auckland - meeting with the Regional Tourism Organisations and operators.

The objective of the "Mega-Famil" has been to get high quality travel agents to New Zealand, for them to experience as much as they can and have an amazing time and go back to their home countries to sell more New Zealand.

Throughout the year, we run regular smaller-scale agent famils in New Zealand, trade training workshops in off-shore markets and supports operator attendance at international trade shows.

When we started this year, our aim was to host a total of 250 trade agents on famil in New Zealand. So this event of bringing around 400 over at the same time is something different all together - an enormous logistical exercise only made possible because of the support we get from the New Zealand tourism industry.

When you consider that all our agents need flights to New Zealand, three meals a day, transport, accommodation and activities, each of the 24 itineraries has been supported by anything between 10 and 25 different operators - a massive commitment for everyone who has been involved.

The travel trade is an extremely valuable channel for engaging with potential visitors, and a well-informed agent is better equipped to promote and sell New Zealand.
Our role to support the retail sectors' push for destination New Zealand by providing the education and training needed.

Bringing agents to New Zealand for a first-hand look at the product, and providing them with the tools they need to sell the country more confidently, has obvious pay-offs for us.
It increases their destination and product knowledge which in turn serves to act as motivation for them. Agents will be more motivated and confident in promoting a product they know and have experienced for themselves.

As part of getting the message out more widely, we have also been encouraging the agents to make the most of Tourism New Zealand's social media channels to share their New Zealand experiences.

Take a look at our Facebook page and Twitter account and check out the activity that has been tagged to #nzmegafamil. We are also awarding prizes for the best stories and photos posted by agents.

The famil and social media activity are all ways we are working collaboratively to stimulate demand for a New Zealand holiday. With this activity our focus has been on our largest source of visitor arrivals - Australia, and our traditional long-haul Western markets.

Both groups continue to represent significant opportunity for New Zealand and lifting tourism yield from key markets is a key objective for Tourism New Zealand in the coming year. Having spent time here, we know all agents will go home and be better able to deliver a strong, emotive and inspiring message to drive greater preference for visiting New Zealand.

The Mega Famil project continues once the travel agents return home with Tourism New Zealandre-launching its 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme in several core markets. This will allow all Mega-Famil participants to reach the desirable 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist status.

Justin Watson

Director of Trade, PR and Major Events