Air New Zealand used virtual reality to get tourists to think past its name and consider the airline when booking trips to its other popular destination: Australia.
The airline partnered with Tourism Australia in Vancouver last weekend to offer “Virtual Australia,” a pop-up virtual reality exhibit featuring seven well-known travel destinations Down Under.
The two brands have worked together to promote travel to Australia for about three years, but this is the first time they’ve done an experimental activation campaign, said Chris Allison, the Canadian sales and marketing manager for Air New Zealand.
The theme behind Virtual Australia was that the country “isn’t just a place you see, it’s a place you feel,” Allison said.
“We know Australia’s most significant attraction is its natural beauty, so it’s important for people to experience that.”
The virtual reality content included 360-degree video of landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Melbourne’s Great Ocean Road and Sydney’s harbour and Opera House.
Canada is a key market for both brands, and their goal is to also convince consumers that Australia is becoming easier to get to — and worth the trip. Allison said they’re considering using the creative marketing tactic in other cities across Canada in future.
“Obviously Australia is quite a far away destination from Canada, and we appreciate that not everyone has been there before,” Allison said. “It’s an opportunity to, as best you can, experience the destination without physically going there. “
It’s also part of Air New Zealand’s push to show Canadians they fly to Australia, as well as their namesake country.
“New Zealand is part of our name so people understand we offer flights there … but we’re trying to educate the target consumer that Air New Zealand can take you to Australia as well,” said Allison. He said the airline connects to eight different locations in Australia, through Auckland.
Air New Zealand offers flights from Vancouver and has a partnership with Air Canada, through the Star Alliance network, for travellers coming from cities like Toronto and Halifax.
The airline is also promoting a special offer for a round-trip flight for travellers out of Vancouver to places such as Sydney, Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast and Adelaide.
The Vancouver event, held March 18 and 19, also included Australian food, such as bite-sized meat pies and desserts such as Tim Tam macaroons and lamingtons. They also served Australian wines and flat whites for guests.
Citizen Relations, which is part of Tourism Australia’s North American public relations team, handled event concept, execution and media relations strategy for the campaign.