Tourism New Zealand enlist ZS Associates for global market analysis

12 September 2018 3 min. read

ZS Associates, a global management consultancy have been brought in by New Zealand’s tourism department to conduct a market analysis across nine global markets.

The US-based consulting firm ZS Associates has been brought across the Pacific to conduct an analysis on the impact of Tourism New Zealand’s current market campaigns and strategies. The firm specialises in growing market share and improving overall performance for its clients.

Headquartered in Evanston, Illinois the firm was born in 1983 when three peers from the Kellogg School of Management came together with a side business in sales and marketing by the names of Andris Zoltners, Frederic Esser Nemmers and Prabha Sinha. Today the firm has over 20 offices spread throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Tourism New Zealand were struggling to use the data that they had managed to compile effectively. The department wanted to understand how their marketing campaigns faired and if their money was being spent effectively. They also wanted to analyse their choice of travel agents – to whom they gave trips to NZ’s most famous tourist sites – as well as their training and education.

“Tourism as an industry isn’t known for its analytics. It doesn’t typically do well with data gathering,” says Emil Petrov, strategy manager at Tourism New Zealand. “We had to put the plumbing in before building the house, and we had nothing to build on.”

Tourism New Zealand enlist ZS Associates for global market analysis

To achieve the desired impact, the firm sought out ZS Associates. Although the firm does not have an office in Australia or New Zealand, with offices in two advanced economic regions as well as New Delhi, Pune, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo, the firm had the target audience covered.

Together, ZS Associates and Tourism New Zealand mapped out the which travel agents made the biggest impact on sales as well as which marketing campaigns had the greatest impact. Using data from passenger records, travel agency as well as a historical analysis of campaigns and compared each with the cost of the initiative.

The results showed the power of the data analysis. To optimise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the campaigns, the pair had to make strategic decisions on their investments. “It helped us see where to make tradeoffs on where to invest, and showed us which markets we were already covering effectively,” Petrov says. 

Data suggested that in the US it was imperative to focus on reaching out to travel agents and that an increased interaction had a positive effect on sales. However in China for instance, this was not true, as the smaller travel agencies showed a less positive effect. This lead the duo to change their strategy in China and focus on larger travel agencies and optimise the process. Furthermore, the findings showed that targeted discovery trips increased visitor volume far beyond any non-targeted counterparts.

“ZS translated the big ideas into an approach that was the right size for our data and our models,” Petrov says. “Distilling everything down into information that we could use in team meetings was also really valuable. ZS provided great analytics and insights that weren’t cookie-cutter, which was a big contribution to our business,” Petrov concludes.