28 March 2017
CCT have recently returned from the United States where we undertook a range of sales calls in Texas, organised by Tourism New Zealand and attended the Swain Awards in Memphis, Tennessee. Swain Destinations are a leading provider of completely personalized vacation experiences, who specialise in selling New Zealand. The Swain Awards are an annual event where destinations invite their team, suppliers and top selling agents from around the US for 4 days of networking and meetings.
At these events CCT had the opportunity to meet with and influence key travel trade partners and inspire consumers ensuring Christchurch & Canterbury are top of mind when planning their itineraries. These events were mostly targeted at premium travel sellers and consumers.
US Market trends and insights:
- The United States is New Zealand's third-largest international tourism market in terms of visitor arrivals
- The US on average are entitled to only 2 weeks annual leave, so therefore dual destination travel is very popular out of the US. This means 7 days is key period for a holiday in New Zealand, however some stay for as many as 21 days.
- Peak travel periods are from November - March, however growth in shoulder seasons has also been strong.
- The direct flight, Houston - Auckland has seen an increase in demand from the Southern States. The direct flight makes NZ more accessible for these States, whereas traditionally often seen as a "bucket list destination" as New Zealand is still perceived as far away.
- OTA's are increasingly popular for land and air arrangements, and airlines aggressively chase direct business. Traditional travel agents still play a key role however in selling accommodation, transport and activities.
Christchurch & Canterbury feedback:
- US arrivals into Christchurch are up 13% in 2016 compared with 2015 (Jan-Dec).
- Americans want to see and experience big scenery, the Hobbit & Lord of the Rings filming locations, adventure (younger market), wildlife - in their own natural habitat, mountains, glaciers, walking and hiking.
- On average length of stay is short, so the idea of a range of amazing attractions within a short drive, is very attractive.
- Knowledge of New Zealand overall is limited
- Christchurch is included in itineraries, but the travel trade still associate Christchurch with the earthquake and asked about the city environment. Consumers who visit have mixed feedback about the city experience
- More premium accommodation, 5 star hotels are needed in Christchurch
- Travel agents itineraries are highly influenced by their inbounders/wholesalers.
For further information about the US market, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the trade team.