"With an increase in agents working from home, the consolidation of traditional retailers and growing online travel options, we have had to adapt the way we engage in the US to keep our product top of mind with our key partners and travel sellers," says General Manager Western Long Haul markets Gregg Anderson.
"This has seen the Trade Development team strengthen our relationships and work alongside travel consortia, with an increase of face-to-face meetings and sales calls. We also use webinars to communicate with agents across different time zones.
"A great example of this is our successful partnership with Virtuoso which continues to deliver growth year-on-year," says Gregg.
Targeting the high-end luxury market, Virtuoso maintains its quality with registered agents required to complete training modules, and operators paying an annual fee for their product to be sold and marketed. Given the range of quality product on offer in New Zealand, Virtuoso agents sell both regional attractions and activities alongside luxury and lodge accommodation.
Virtuoso's regular marketing activity, including monthly magazines, e-blasts and specialised agent promotions ensures agents can easily access tailored packages and competitive rates. Furthermore, Virtuoso regularly markets to past travellers ensuring destination New Zealand is regularly promoted to a captive market.
"Here we can target our marketing through channels that we know the travel agents are using - helping them to secure the best deals for their customers and maximise conversion for our campaigns. We also work closely with New Zealand based members to achieve a greater presence within the Virtuoso network.
"A key aspect of its success is that all activity is measurable, both for us and registered operators. This means we can be confident that our marketing investment is used efficiently - as well as delivering results to New Zealand operators," says Gregg.
Tourism New Zealand is also working with a number of other consortia either directly or with wholesale and IBO (In Bound Operator) partners. For the cruise market these include Travel Savers, Travel Leaders, Cruise Planners and Signature alongside Virtuoso in the upmarket high end travel sector.
The US is currently one of Tourism New Zealand's top five priority markets, for more information on the market see our Market & Stats pages.