18 Dec 2015: New report shows half of overseas visitors book through IBOs

Up to half of all international visitors still use inbound travel channels for their leisure bookings, with lead-in times decreasing the closer the market is to New Zealand.

This was highlighted last week when ATEED and TEC shared top line information from an inbound tour operator survey done earlier in the year.

The Angus and Associates’ Inbound Tour Operator Report for ATEED shows the outlook is “very positive” for the next three years – especially in relation to the China market and Asian markets more generally, but also for North America, the UK and Latin America, according to TEC CEO Lesley Immink who highlighted the report during the council’s end of year symposium. 

The Indian and Chinese markets are growing quickly and have the shortest lead times with about 40 percent of bookings occurring in the month prior to travel, while the UK market exhibits the longest lead times due to being long haul and having more complex itineraries.

Group bookings for inbound operators dominate while FIT bookings represent almost a third of bookings and the same proportion of revenue.

These segments account for an average of more than 80 percent of ITO bookings and almost 90 percent of revenue. On average 72 percent of ITO business is done direct with wholesale agents.

The report also shows an average of 40 percent of group bookings were series group bookings and the rest were for ad hoc groups. An average of 30 percent of FIT bookings were self-drive bookings, 43 percent were seat in coach, and 27 percent were private touring/semi FIT.

About 26 percent of ITOs employ staff members with Chinese and Japanese language capability with German and French featuring as the next two most common languages needed. It also shows the average ITO employs 9-11 FTEs, brings 8,200 international visitors to New Zealand each year, and generates $6.4 million in revenue.

ITOs say the main barrier to growth of their Auckland business is the price and/or availability of hotel rooms in the city during the peak period – and especially at times when a major event is occurring.

* A copy of the full report can be found at the TEC website.