The important design and usability improvements that have been made are the next step in the site's evolution of the site as it works to communicate directly with people considering a visit to New Zealand and convert them to travel.
Visited by 11 million people in the year ending June 2012, the website is an influential information source. In fact, our most recent Visitor Experience Monitor found that newzealand.com is the number one travel destination website used by international visitors when researching their trip to New Zealand. The latest features build on the redeveloped site released in 2011 which gave operators and travel sellers greater ability to use the site to promote their business.
A recent online survey of 500 newzealand.com users found that the site plays 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. This is a great result, and reinforces the benefits of being one of more than 7,000 travel sellers - including operators, travel agents, airlines - who are listed on the site.
The website is at the centre of TNZ's strategy to engage with travellers actively researching, planning and booking their holiday. The improved site has been designed to better connect potential travellers with travel sellers and continue to build preference for New Zealand as a holiday destination.
The user-centred changes are based on an independent usability review, industry feedback and robust user research, including a mixture of online and face-to-face research across multiple markets engaging with almost 1,000 participants. This research helped to inform what improvements needed to be made to support the genuine needs of users, and will be a key aspect of the on-going evolution of the site.
Key changes to the site include an updated navigation structure to help users find popular content and business listings. Content has also been renamed and re-grouped to enable users to make a clearer distinction between official and contributed content, know where they are located in the site and where to go next to find the information they are looking for.
Small but significant changes were implemented to the site in the months leading up to the re-launch - helping to improve the efficiency of newzealand.com.
Already, click through rates to travel sellers have climbed across Tourism New Zealand's priority markets and consumers are more engaged with time on the site increasing by 26 per cent.
In the future, the site will continue to evolve and enhancements to support marketing campaigns and to deliver improved usability and functionality will occur on a regular basis. If you have a business listing on the site, you will receive regular updates and information exclusively through the e-newsletter inside newzealand.com. You can also find information on how to make the best use of the changes with a user guide available to download on the www.tourismnewzealand.com website under Marketing Toolbox.
First published in Tourism Business - December-January