Since its re-development in 2012, newzealand.com visitor numbers continue to steadily increase, with China taking the top spot for accessing the site. Interestingly, usage of the site from international visitors while in New Zealand also increased year-on-year. The emerging markets of Indonesia and Brazil are doing well too with over 738,000 and 382,000 visits respectively in the year-ending December 2014.
The 100% Pure New Zealand campaign is active on select social networking sites and apps, including Facebook, China's Sina Weibo, Instagram and YouTube. In the last 12 months we've seen exponential growth of nearly one million new fans across these channels as consumers turn to social media for travel content.
A recent online survey undertaken in English speaking markets has helped Tourism New Zealand understand where in the stage of holiday planning visitors to newzealand.com are. The findings showed nearly half of users surveyed were yet to book their holiday, with 48 percent saying they were considering or decided, but not booked. The organisation's job is to get them across the line.
Of the group surveyed, 43 per cent had booked their holiday. Tourism New Zealand's digital marketing is focused on connecting this group with tourism businesses and increasing visitor value. With 58 per cent of referrals from the website directed at New Zealand-based businesses in 2014, there is a direct correlation between these two results.
Research shows too that those visitors who use newzealand.com are visiting more regions and participating in more activities than those who don't. This is based on information from the International Visitor Survey which asks about information sources used before arriving in New Zealand to plan and book their holiday.
The majority of Tourism New Zealand's marketing efforts are directed at newzealand.com and the operators who are visible and actively maintain compelling product listings and offers on the site will be getting more value.
The way the site is being accessed is changing too. Phone and tablet use are eclipsing desktop with 42 percent of Japanese using their mobile phones to access the site, and the UK are the highest users of tablet at 27 percent.
Looking into the unique behaviour of mobile users, we see mobile traffic peak in the weekend, versus the week days when a greater proportion access the site via desktop, most likely from work.
There is also a clear preference for some content over others by device and this can vary significantly by market too. From an organisation perspective it shows that there is an opportunity for Tourism New Zealand to tailor content and optimise paid efforts to align with this behaviour.
Mobile improvements are continuously being undertaken based on these insights. The share of referrals to accommodation providers was lower on mobile than other devices however testing a simplified search function and the addition of images shows we have the potential to increase mobile rate of referral by 77 per cent.
Tourism New Zealand's app 'Essential New Zealand', a cut-down version of newzealand.com which provides offline access to hundreds of activities and experiences, has been downloaded 150,000 since it was launched in 2013. Growth of the app remains steady and its users return regularly for short periods of time, meaning they know what information they're looking for while they're planning and experiencing their holiday.
Looking outward, there is a serious competitive advantage for the New Zealand industry if we can be mobile optimised. Having visibility on Google, mobile friendly web pages and live inventory are all incredibly important. You only have to look at the data - 70 percent of online bookings made via mobile are for same-day experiences and accommodation.
On newzealand.com make sure your call to action buttons and travel deal links go to mobile-optimised web pages - there will be more consumers clicking those buttons on a mobile device.
Discussion on social media performance followed this in the webinar.