Damn right. The basics needs to be addressed:
- Surges in tourism driven by events like LOTR are short-term. NZ needs to present itself aggressively in key markets as the must visit destination. There needs to be a decision driver (I am amazed how many Aussies are visiting Cuba because they think it is about to change so much once Castro dies – they want to experience the romance before the place gets Americanized).
- Fixing the brand means every person (including us who don’t live there) need to take responsibility for the product and get it right. Service is still variable. Attention to detail is missing (why do we think the first thing a visitor should encounter is a duty free liqour store?). NZ’s leadership brands (Air NZ for instance) have done an incredible job of creating positive experiences to be remembered. We need more. Especially in the major cities.
- NZ should’t confuse awareness with activation. I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t think of NZ as beautiful and full of firendly people. (OK, they might not know where NZ is but that is something to be dealt with later). What they need to be convinced of is that the airlines servicing NZ are amazing and its one sleep away. You can wake up in NZ, in London, In Shanghai – they are all one sleep away.
- NZ shouldn’t confuse what is important to tourists with what will motivate them to come. Every NZer should be clear on the motivators so we can communicate them.
- Finally, and this will be as hard as it is contentious, NZ needs to develop a “better together” value proposition with Australia. For so many, the trip downunder is the trip of a lifetime – they do it once. Why should seeing the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, the Sydney Opera House, Queenstown, Rotorua, Auckland – to name a few, involve a trade-off. Present them as a once-in-a-lifeitme package. You could easily theme them – the wine-lovers could do the Sounds, Barossa, Queenstown and McClaren. You get the idea.
What are your thoughts?