Brand USA Australia and New Zealand have been hard at work to boost visitation to the United States – through familiarization tours and training travel agents.
Australian and New Zealander travelers increasingly are seeking immersive, authentic travel experiences from the destinations they vacation in. They no longer want to limit their itineraries to the top tourist attractions, but want to “live-like-a-local” and gain a deeper understanding of the culture and communities they visit.
With that in mind, Brand USA joined forces with Air New Zealand to host the second product managers’ familiarization tour to Nashville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Houston, Texas in November. The five product managers from both Australia and New Zealand connected with suppliers during mini business-to-business meetings hosted in each city. The tour allowed them to visit the destinations firsthand while conducting business in each. Another tour is planned for April of this year.
Meanwhile, the destination marketing organization for the USA also hosted a group of five top tier journalists from Australia and New Zealand to enjoy an “Authentic USA Experiences”-themed tour of New York City, New York, Boston, Massachusetts, and Chicago, Illinois in November.
The tour showcased a variety of immersive, only-in-America experiences in each city, including top National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, and National Football League sport matches, USA-unique cuisine, eclectic night life and local art and culture. Brand USA destination partners NYC & Company, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Choose Chicago helped to make the tour a great success.
In addition, Brand USA Australia and New Zealand has chosen the winners of the popular Five Badge Fun trade incentive, which resulted in over 8,200 agents registering for the USA Discovery Program – an interactive and online training site which provides knowledge and skills needed to efficiently book trips to various destinations.
Designed to celebrate the introduction of five new specialist badges on the USA Discovery Program, Brand USA asked agents to complete all five new badges for the chance to win a two-night Mystery Break™ package for two people.
An overwhelming response was received from the travel trade, with over 2,000 new agents signing up across New Zealand and Australia, boosting the total number of agents registered to 8,200.
The lucky winners were: Zoe Meathrel from The Infinity Group (Australia) who has been awarded a two-night Mystery Break™ package and Treena Moore, of World Travellers – Galaxy Travel in Rotorua, who wins a two-night Air New Zealand Deluxe Mystery Break™ package. Prizes included return economy airfares, two nights at a four- or five-star hotel for two people and car hire or airport transfers.
Brand USA Australia and New Zealand has had an exciting couple of months. The annual Visit USA travel agent expos took place in Brisbane (February 19 at Brisbane Sofitel Hotel), Melbourne (February 20 at Melbourne Meat Market), and Sydney (February 21 at Sydney Town Hall). Brand USA entertained agents while they learned about all the latest travel offerings across the USA. On February 22, Brand USA held its annual B2B Day at the International Convention Centre Sydney where top buyers held one-on-one appointments with over 40 U.S. suppliers.
Additionally, Discover America events took place in Christchurch and Auckland on February 26-27. Attendees anyone that sells the USA – retailers, wholesalers, brokers, groups and meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. As New Zealand’s largest USA focused travel trade event, Discover America featured over 70 individual products and destinations exhibiting.