Summer lovin’ tourists in TNZ’s digital marketing sights

As the well-known Queenstown saying goes: “It’s tourist season, but, sadly, you can’t shoot them”. And to try and further increase visitors over the upcoming summer boom time, Tourism New Zealand has launched a fresh marketing offensive in China and expanded its digital campaigns in Japan, USA, Canada, UK and Germany, all of which signify a marked change of strategy following the addition of digital specialists Amnesia Razorfish to its agency roster.

On the back of new research, TNZ is now targeting the Active Considerer market, otherwise known as the people who are already considering travelling to New Zealand (you can read about Razorfish’s executive director of client services Doug Chapman’s digital tourism marketing plans here). Reasonably fresh general manager of marketing communications Justin Watson says TNZ’s efforts in China involve placement of carefully targeted banner ads and interactive content on popular travel-related websites and search engine optimisation is also being used to ensure people searching for travel information online are directed to websites with strong New Zealand content.

Similar digital campaigns targeting Active Considerers have kicked off in Japan, USA, Canada, UK and Germany, with Tourism New Zealand banners and interactive content on popular travel and news websites, including Trip Advisor and the websites of the BBC, New York Times and Tokyo’s Nikkei newspaper.

Tourism New Zealand has also entered into joint ventures with Air New Zealand in the USA, Canada and Germany, with Singapore Airlines in the UK and with Pacific Blue for an Australian campaign called ‘What’s Ours is Yours’.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says TNZ’s work with Pacific Blue and regional tourism organisations were examples of the kind of partnerships TNZ wanted to create more of.

“Partnerships are one of the key pillars of our marketing strategy to 2013. We want to do more partnerships that help us deliver more visitors and give us a clearer ‘line of sight’ to measuring our success through sales,” he says.

Watson says the expanded China campaign aims to capitalise on increased flights to New Zealand from China and nearby South East Asian travel hubs and a return to travel after concerns over Swine Flu. The campaign will see a big push into targeted digital marketing and placement of New Zealand marketing material on 20,000 taxi touchscreens and thousands of office building LCD screens in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

LCD screens and touchscreens in taxis have been used in Beijing and Shanghai in previous years but the campaign has been expanded to include Guangzhou in 2010.

“There are now some charter flights linking Guangzhou to New Zealand and it’s close to the travel hub of Hong Kong, so it makes sense for us to expand our China marketing campaign to the Guangzhou area,” Watson says.

Things are already looking pretty good for the summer season, with numbers for September showing that China, Korea and Australia contributed an extra 3,495 visitors over the same month in 2009, which helped push total visitor arrivals for September to 174,200, the highest visitor total ever for the month.

Total arrivals across all markets for the year to September were up +1 percent on the same month in 2009, while over the full year growth is up +3.8 percent.

“The Chinese and Korean economies have gone from strength to strength this year and we are expecting that to translate into continued growth in visitor arrivals during the peak New Zealand holiday season,” Bowler says. “Arrivals from Australia were up slightly in September, setting the stage for a positive full calendar year result from the Australian market. We have a lot of marketing activity planned with our airline, trade and regional tourism organisation partners in Australia in coming months which aims to drive more growth over an extended summer period.”

Japan was the only major Asian tourism market to suffer a decline in numbers during September vs prior September, but remains positive +10.3 percent full year on full year to 87,873.

“Tourism New Zealand has launched a massive sales promotion with Japan’s largest travel agent, JTB, and Air New Zealand has announced an additional 14 charter flights between Japan and New Zealand during the peak season. Indications from travel agents are that forward bookings from Japan are currently ahead of the same period last year.”

Visitor arrivals from New Zealand’s key western markets remained steady or declined slightly, with the exception of Canada and Germany, which recorded moderate increases in arrivals to New Zealand.

The UK’s slower than average economic recovery and higher seat prices compared to last year saw it suffer the greatest decline in visitor arrivals to New Zealand in September, dropping by 1,962 visitors, or 18.6 percent.

International Visitor Arrivals September 2010:

  • Australia 96,074 up 1.2%
  • USA 9,658 down 3.8%
  • UK 8,580 down 18.6%
  • China 7,480 up 17.9%
  • Japan 5,500 down 12.1%
  • South Korea 4,290 up 40.9%
  • Germany 3,344 up 2.7%
  • Canada 2,112 up 2.6%

International Visitor Arrivals Full Year to September 2010:

  • Australia 1,121,761 up 7.3%
  • USA 192,154 down 2.8%
  • UK 243,031 down 6.4%
  • China 115,396 up 11.1%
  • Japan 87,873 up 10.3%
  • South Korea 63,797 up 15.9%
  • Germany 65,105 up 2.4%
  • Canada 48,497 down 2.7%

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