These changes are the next step in the site's evolution and will address some areas of the site where its performance can be improved - namely, the way navigation helps consumers find popular topics, making a clearer distinction between official and contributed content, and improving website speed.
A 'guide to newzealand.com' has been developed to provide an overview of how newzealand.com works. It includes the upcoming changes and illustrates what steps you need to take to get the most out of your listing.
Soon after these user-centred improvements are made a mobile-friendly version of newzealand.com will become available for consumers accessing the site via smart-phones and tablets.
Tourism New Zealand's Visitor Experience Monitor for 2011/12 revealed that the use of mobile devices is on the increase with 28 per cent of travellers using a smart phone or iPhone device when travelling around the country. This is up from only 17 per cent the year before making mobile optimisation a critical part of increasing the sites value to travellers.
The goal of newzealand.com remains as it has ever been - to connect consumers with travel sellers. The website is at the centre of our strategy to communicate directly with people considering a visit to New Zealand and to convert them to travel.
Many of you will remember that in 2011 Tourism New Zealand redeveloped the consumer site to give operators and travel sellers, greater ability to use the site to promote their business. Designed to meet the changing needs of online users, the website provides information from multiple credible sources including the local tourism industry, travellers and Tourism New Zealand.
Since then, we have received plenty of industry feedback on the site, conducted online and face-to-face user research with hundreds of website users and we have completed an independent usability review.
Small but significant changes to the site have been implemented over the past few months which have helped improved the efficiency of newzealand.com to better connect consumers with travel sellers.
The performance of newzealand.com has been highly effective this past year with ratings on key metrics improving as the year has gone by. The site's referral rate has climbed across Tourism New Zealand's priority markets and there are now more than 7,000 travel sellers listed on the website (operators, travel agents, airlines). A recent online survey of 500 newzealand.com users found that newzealand.com places a significant role in influencing potential travellers, with 73 per cent of respondents saying they were more likely to visit New Zealand based on their single visit to the site.
So with the new changes about to roll-out, we strongly recommend operators review their listings to ensure the information is up to date. We have also provided operators with the latest specifications for business listing images and logos, which need to be modified for maximum impact on the site.
Registered operators who have listings on the site will receive regular updates and information exclusively through the e-newsletter inside newzealand.com. Information on making full use of newzealand.com is also available under Marketing Toolbox.
- Check out the Guide to newzealand.com to learn about upcoming design and usability improvements
- More information on the website is available here in 'making full use of newzealand.com'
As published in Inside Tourism, 18 October 2012