Opening keynote speaker of the New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality Research Conference, 24 November 2010, AUT University, Auckland.
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Research vital to TNZ’s decision-making, CEO tells academics.
Article by Inside Tourism (www.insidetourism.com)
TNZ CEO Kevin Bowler urged researchers to help the industry plan for future emerging travel trends when he spoke at AUT in Auckland on 25 November 2010.
Mr Bowler told the New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality Research Conference that research has a vital role to play in each decision made by TNZ in the current fast changing tourism environment.
“There are the obvious monitors and reports that measure what has happened – who came, how many, what they did, where they went and what they spent and how satisfi ed they were – and these will remain essential core data for decision making.
“But historic tracking isn’t enough. We’ll be using a lot more insight gathering to drive future decisions,” he said.
Investment Mr Bowler said research and data underpinned TNZ’s market selection for investment. He also talked about the organisation’s new research, which more closely defi ned TNZ’s target market on a country-by-country basis.
The research was driven by the need for TNZ to defi ne its audience in order to make the best use of digital marketing channels, rather than mass marketing channels of the past. It identified a group of travellers, dubbed active considerers, made up of people who are considering New Zealand for their next holiday.
“From this point, we’re targeting a large audience of people who are considering New Zealand for their next holiday – we’re not building awareness for New Zealand per se. We’re trying to move more of these considerers from desire to action,” Mr Bowler said. The new research highlighted a gap between information and motivation, and desire and action. “A big part of it is fi lling in the gaps to demonstrate that New Zealand is easy, fun and popular.” As well as providing for well-defi ned and targeted messaging, digital channels also allowed TNZ to “time” when and how it delivered messages to potential travellers and provided more ability to measure.
Mr Bowler left delegates with a challenge - to use research to look ahead not just behind. He said the industry, and TNZ, needs a deeper understanding of developing travel trends and a better understanding about what is in the minds of potential visitors. For example, visitor’s attitudes to the concept of ‘value’ after the global fi nancial crisis; a closer understanding of how the growth in Asian visitor arrivals would develop over time; the needs of older travellers; development of future aviation links; and the importance of New Zealand’s green image.
“Quality research and insights are a vital ingredient to ensuring we’re ready to handle the range of changes in front of us,” he said.