Indian travel companies need to urgently adapt to the digital revolution

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Derek Melnick, business development manager at NZONE Skydive, Skydive Wanaka & Skydive Paradise, speaks to Reema Lokesh about the demand for the adventure experience in the India market

How has the response been from the India market toward your line of business?

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Derek Melnick

The response from the India market has been incredibly strong for skydiving in our region particularly (Southern Lakes) due to the dramatic setting on offer, making a Skydive in the Queenstown and Wanaka region quite possibly the most incredible destination to skydive in the world. We have welcomed many Bollywood stars for the experience in our region, including New Zealand brand ambassador Siddharth Malhotra.

Are you noticing any new demand from the India market?

We have certainly seen the market continue to show double digit growth over the past few years, exceeding that of the visitor growth to New Zealand. I believe there will be a dramatic development in demand when the airline industry responds with a direct service between India and New Zealand, something that has been brewing for a long time.

What has been your top performing market and where does India stand?

China has been our top performing market and that is mainly due to the larger number of arrivals to New Zealand than India, again made possible by a very comprehensive network of airline connections between the two countries. India remains in our top three markets which is an incredible achievement, given the arrival numbers from India are around seven to eight times smaller than that of China.

What are your expectations from the market and is there a message you wish to share with your Indian trade contacts and buyers?

My message to our Indian trade partners and buyers is to raise the level of communications (digital and print) to show clients that you are in the market of helping them experience a skydive in the most incredible location on the planet. By visually showing an updated skydive image of ours in your communications you are demonstrating to your clients you are in the business of adventure tourism, a niche Indians across the country are incredibly hungry for. There is a major shift in Indian media consumption too, I see it on a daily basis as most Indian passengers of ours pull out multiple handheld devices to snap photos, post on social media and connect with their friends and family back home to share their experience.

This means the successful Indian travel companies of the future will be those that have adapted to the digital revolution. There’s a great urgency to update your websites to something more progressive than what I’m seeing currently and to have a greater priority to being mobile responsive. Your customer will demand breath-taking imagery, sharp design and inspiring content that can help them dream. If you continue to do what you have always done, do not be surprised to see your client base dwindle.

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