Tourism New Zealand's newzealand.com had its highest traffic in history this January, bringing in 1.5 million visitors to what is for many their first contact with New Zealand.
It's likely two promotions launched last year, aimed at major tourism markets the nerds and the Chinese, had a major impact on the number of visitors to the site.
In November, Tourism New Zealand launched Whybin\TBWA's 100% Middle Earth campaign, including a 76-page interactive book comparing New Zealand to scenes in The Hobbit. December saw the promotion of New Zealand as a wedding destination, using popular Chinese actress Yao Chen as a brand ambassador, who has 39 million fans on Sina Weibo, China's version of Facebook.
Catherine Bates, general manager of brand and international PR, says a user interface redesign, including a mobile optimised version, has made it easier for users view and share the site with others.
“Since we completed the usability improvements to the site we have seen important increases in consumer engagement – views of content contributed by users and listed businesses is up 47 per cent and there has been increased use of new functionality such as the integrated maps and the Trip Planner tool which is up 300 per cent,” says Bates.
Tourism New Zealand says just under half the link referrals generated by the site have gone to Kiwi businesses. Airlines including Air New Zealand have received a further third.
NewZealand.com Key Stats 2012:
12.1 million visits
1.6 million referrals generated to Kiwi industry
3.3 pages viewed per visit
154,000 items added to trip planning tool
~7000 business listings