What Australian Agents Need to Better Sell New Zealand Destinations
It’s the question on every keen Australian traveller’s lips: when will the much-anticipated Trans-Tasman Bubble open so we can holiday in New Zealand?
While government discussions continue on both sides of the Tasman, now is the time for New Zealand destinations to seek out connections with Australian travel trade across the ditch, building relationships and sharing insider secrets that will allow them to sell with authority.
“Pre-COVID, 49% of Australians booked their New Zealand holiday through a travel agent. That’s why travel agent training is so important: they can get first-hand knowledge from the destinations and be one step ahead. Agents will once again be a popular way to book travel due to the assurance of calling them 24/7 if any issues arise so it’s important to keep them fully trained.”
Wayne Mitcham, Gate 7 Country Manager – New Zealand
According to a recent ‘Aussie Agent Insights for Selling New Zealand’ survey* conducted by Gate 7 in late-July, most Australian travel agents anticipate that nearly half (45%) of their clientele will be keen to book a New Zealand holiday in the next 12 months. Not only this, a staggering 9 out of 10 Aussie travellers will be keen to explore the country by road, and fittingly, 8 in 10 agents are keen to sell off-the-beaten track experiences to their customers.
The survey, which targeted 125 high-performing Australian agents out of Gate 7’s database of more than 4,500, revealed that in order to sell New Zealand regional and city destinations with confidence, Australian agents desire more knowledge, information and tools – particularly when it comes to off-the-beaten track destinations, new accommodation, and attractions in New Zealand.
The top NZ destinations agents anticipate Australian travellers will visit are Queenstown (a clear winner with 91% of responses); Auckland (71%); Rotorua (64%); Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay, and Marlborough (equal 60.7%); and Lake Taupo (55%).
Most Australian consumers are keen on self-drive holidays (91%), followed by wine and culinary touring (75%) and great outdoors and natural wonders (73%).
NEED TO KNOW
According to the survey, the most popular element Australian agents want to sell New Zealand as a destination is information about “hidden destinations” (a clear winner with an 85.7% response)—places that might appeal to travellers who have visited New Zealand before.
“We have found that road trips are going to be very popular with Aussies when they come to New Zealand, and it’s about getting out and exploring those hidden gems that they probably don’t know about, or do know about but really haven’t had the opportunity to visit.”
For instance, two-and-a-half hours’ drive south-east of Auckland is a beach called Hahei, where you can grab yourself a spade and dig a hole to create your own thermal spa, as there’s thermal activity under the sand. In Wellington, you can visit Weta Workshops – Peter Jackson’s home – take part in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Weta Cave. And some might be surprised to know there is amazing wine country approximately an hour and a half’s drive north-east of Wellington, called Martinborough,” Wayne continues.
TOOLS FOR THE JOB
While destination information is the most obvious practical tool for Australian agents seeking a deeper knowledge of New Zealand, the survey also revealed that webinars, product information, downloadable maps, and visual libraries are also valuable resources; while local information and insider knowledge is invaluable.
And that’s the advantage of utilising an industry expert like Gate 7 to forge and facilitate stronger relationships between destinations and the travel trade.
“Gate 7 has access to people from the destinations who are locals and know it inside out, what’s hot, what’s not, all the tips and tricks – and that’s something we’ll be able to share with agents in training webinars.”
We have all the key information, all the insider insights – plus we’ve got the expertise and the systems to do these large-scale agent educations and engagement. So that’s a win-win–both for the destination and the travel agent community.
Now is the time for New Zealand destinations to get on board with Gate 7, to tap into their database of Australian agents, to ramp up their training, and help them find out about all those hidden gem destinations in New Zealand, outside of the main gateways,” Wayne said.
*’Aussie Agent Insights for Selling New Zealand’ Survey, July 24, 2020 – 125 Australian agents surveyed from Ontraport database.