Money no object for Queenstown visitors

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New research reveals most Queenstown visitors aren’t price-driven when booking activities.

Visitor guidebook publisher iTAG commissioned local marketing consultant Geoff Matthews’ BrandCom company to update research it did in 2005. 

Matthews is unveiling his findings, based on interviews with 85 visitors late last year, at Destination Queenstown’s quarterly update meeting next Thursday.

The research is based on buyer behaviour – specifically, when and how visitors book Queenstown activities, especially in light of the social media revolution.

A major finding is visitors researched activities online before they came here but didn’t book till late in the piece, even though they knew this would cost them more.

More than 70 per cent of respondents believe you get the best price by booking online but 75 per cent booked through a real person.

Up to 81 per cent of visitors booked within 48 hours of doing an activity despite a large percentage number knowing they’d have got a better deal booking earlier.

“This is extremely late and confirms the researchers’ observations that people wanted to get on the ground to have a feel of the place,” the report says.

“The risk of ‘unhappiness’ from choosing the wrong activity outweighs any financial benefit of booking early for the best price or using a discount coupon.”

Despite the popularity of Facebook, the report shows it has the least relevance when it comes to deciding what activity to do.

However, Matthews adds: “If your business has a Facebook strategy that provides good content via a link, you’ve just gone from the lowest valued information to the highest.”

The report also reveals 93 per cent of visitors decided they wanted to visit Queenstown within the previous two years.

It comments: “We were a little surprised that The Lord of the Rings trilogy release in 2001, 2002 and 2004 didn’t have a greater impact on the results.

“It shows that the job of marketing Queenstown is never done and we are operating in a two-year window.”

The report also finds that more than 50 per cent of respondents spent more than five hours researching activities they wanted to do in New Zealand and 35 per cent took more than 10 hours.

“For many people the time researching a vacation to NZ would be equivalent to the time spent researching the purchase of a new car.”