The inaugural North America Product Sales Mission, held 7 - 17 October, provided an opportunity for a selected group of twelve New Zealand tourism suppliers to connect and develop business with Tourism New Zealand's (TNZ) key trade partners in North America.
Tourism New Zealand's General Manager Europe & Americas Gregg Anderson says by leveraging TNZ's preferred consortia relationships we were able to give this selected group access to more than 200 top agencies and partners who otherwise would have been unreachable.
Prior to the sales mission, TNZ hosted 30 key US and Canadian trade partners in Los Angeles for a comprehensive two-day market update and business forum.
The market update provided North America travel partners with an insight into TNZ's activity in the trade, marketing communications, public relations and business events areas, including how to leverage TNZ's work around the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. This was followed by a business forum, which included one-on-one training sessions with North American trade partners and the New Zealand suppliers.
"The key products that we wanted to educate and develop with the US and Canadian trade were luxury and special interest products suited to the North American market, such as high-end cultural, heritage and Hobbit related products."
Between 50 - 90 North American retail agents attended each of the four events, which were held in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto and New York. Along with the additional city of Philadelphia, each city's event also incorporated wholesale training visits and sales calls with selected New Zealand suppliers.
"By supporting the development of these trade relationships we anticipate stronger regional identities with products that will in turn increase the diversity of itineraries while strengthening travel sellers' product and destination knowledge," Gregg says.
Feedback received from the New Zealand suppliers was positive, with many commenting on how extremely valuable and worthwhile the event was.
Brad Patterson, Sales Manager at Totally Tourism, said that the sales mission was a great way to connect with multiple key industry players in one place:
"America is a big place - to get around all of the companies I saw at the LA business forum would have taken me close to two weeks. While nothing beats face-to-face training on site, being able to connect with so many product managers from around the country was truly invaluable."