A year on from the release of a new and improved version, the website is achieving its goal to successfully increase potential travellers' desire and preference for New Zealand.
The numbers show that TNZ's online presence is smarter, more effective and more targeted than ever before.
Financial year 2012/13 saw a record 14.1 million visits to the site, growth of 29.0 per cent year-on-year. September's user survey confirmed the site is driving consumer preference, with 81 per cent saying they were more likely to visit New Zealand as a result of their time on the website.
newzealand.com is also achieving its global objective to engage consumers and connect them with the people selling the product. Last year there were over two million referrals to travel sellers, up 53.0 per cent year-on-year, and referrals to New Zealand-based operators increased 55.0 per cent.
These are the strongest results the site has delivered to the local tourism industry yet. With its extensive reach into the international consumer marketplace, newzealand.com provides the most effective channel available for New Zealand operators to profile product and engage with overseas travellers. A business listing on the site remains free of charge.
Our channels are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of consumers and the tourism industry. The developments are driven by what we know will deliver results. They are based on user insights, visitor surveys across offshore markets, and user testing of site changes or new features as they are being designed.
Our release of an improved mobile experience before Christmas last year and a mobile app in July 2013 have made reliable visitor information more accessible. The free to download app, Essential New Zealand, enables travellers to access information while in New Zealand, without the need for WiFi, encouraging them to do and see more while here.
Just last week Essential New Zealand was acknowledged for its innovative design at the New Zealand Design Institute's Best Design Awards. This reinforced what we have already seen with newzealand.com - that great design and a focus on user experience translates into solid outcomes. And consumers agree, with the app accessed by more than 25,000 to date. When the Android version of the app is released at the end of October we'll double our potential audience for this valuable travel tool.
It is now time for the next step - with our focus on maintaining and leveraging the growth we achieved last year.
Based on the insight that potential visitors want to know how to maximise their New Zealand holiday experience, one of our first projects is to develop new feature content to inspire and inform. Once completed, there will be a range of recommended trips for various lengths and styles of holiday.
We also recently launched four new translated market editions supporting TNZ's increased presence in priority emerging markets. The new editions for Chile, Mexico,Brazil and Indonesia produced in Spanish, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesian, enable us to communicate clearly with potential travellers in these priority emerging markets.
Over the coming months our work to target visitors interested in high value special interest areas such as hiking, cycling and golf, which draw consumers who typically stay longer in New Zealand, spend more and visit more regions, will be supported by enhanced content.
These areas of activity are just the start and I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress in the coming months.