The benefits of Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) have been made clear for New Zealand tourism companies, as the rollout of UFB in Rotorua and Queenstown reaches its completion. To back that up, Sapere Research estimates that a tourism operator utilising the Internet exclusively is up to 12 percent more productive than the average tourist firm.
According to James Fitzgerald, owner of Rotorua’s eco-adventure tourism company Canopy Tours, his business is now centred around UFB.
“We use it for bookings, for check-in, for all the company’s back-office operations, and most importantly for our customers, for getting photos of their trips to them so they’ve got the memories of their day to share,” says Fitzgerald. “All that would be unthinkable without UFB.”
Canopy Tours operates a guided tour through and above the Mamuku forest using ziplines, swing bridges and platforms. To ensure customers are able to preserve their experiences, Canopy Tours sends out photos the following day via their website. During peak periods, they may be taking up to 1,500 photos a day, which makes their 100 Mbps connection with unlimited data essential.
This includes the fact that almost everything within the business runs in the cloud, from accounting software to online bookings – customers are even able to check-in onsite using iPads, which allows Canopy Tours to easily and efficiently capture essential health and emergency contact information.
Jonathon Clark of Skyline Enterprises in Queenstown shares Fitzgerald’s sentiments, affirming that a UFB network is the foundation of everything the company does. Skyline’s activities include the gondola and luge, mountain biking and a Maori cultural show.
The clincher is that Skyline has bases not only in Queenstown but also Rotorua, Singapore, Canada and will soon be in Korea. Their New Zealand operations alone see around 1.4 million visitors experience their services every year. To keep an operation that size running smoothly requires considerable technological prowess, and with multiple sites, good broadband is essential.
Like Canopy Tours, UFB is at the centre of a better photo service for Skyline. With cameras dotted around the Queenstown luge course, photos are fed straight to staff down in the kiosk for customers to view when they get down – they affirm UFB coincided with a big uplift in photo sales.
The world increasingly revolves around data, and Skyline assistant general manager, Wayne Rose says with UFB they will be able to target their marketing more closely, tailoring their channels to suit the user.
“If a teenager comes on the gondola, they probably aren’t going to be interested in a $200 West Coast helicopter ride,” Rose says. “But a 50-year-old Indian tourist on a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand could well be. And the teenager may well want to get a great offer on luge rides for them and their friends. It would also allow Skyline to offer packages for other attractions depending on capacity, to create a good experience and manage customer volumes across the businesses.”