Question :
Hi any suggestions on how a business that is 100% reliant on overseas clients can keep paying the bills untill our borders are open. We operate in a niche tourism sector catering for clients coming to New Zealand to ride and experience our fantastic country. We are a new & small player in this sector but it has cost us the best part of $250,000 dollars to get where we are. We have spoken to other operators in our sector who all report the same – zero business since the start of level 4. There is talk about shovel ready projects, well we are all ready with clients booked and ready to come & spend in all corners of New Zealand, unlike just skiers in Queenstown for instance. The very nature of our tours means we go all over the country spending everywhere, be great to hear some suggestions on how to keep our business alive and pay the bills. If we have to start selling our plant & machinery we won’t be here when the time comes. Yes we have all tried to find a New Zealand market, it just doesn’t exist for the obvious reason, if you ride you’ve probably got your own bike here. Plus you’re going to sort it out yourself.  We all understand the why, we now need an answer to how we cope with a situation that is taking away our life’s savings and shuting down our business. No point taking more loans if we can’t pay them back because we don’t have a business. Bit of a catch 22 on that one. The government has worked well in dealing with COVID now they need to work as hard on dealing with the business fallout. Thanks for reading my rant, it’s just we are getting desperate for help.

Question submitted 22/07/20 @ 03:54pm
Industry: Tourism
  • Up

    Hi Open Road tours,
    I can empathise with your tough situation and your “rant”. Your tour options and the approach you have taken to attract a local market on your website look great and should help. A couple of thoughts and ideas you may have already tried..
    – offer more 2 night 3 day weekend escapes options for couples, mates, or groups with a min departure number required
    – there might be many riders have a bike and can ride but dont have a bike suitable for touring or not as cool as your bikes so I wouldn’t give up assuming all NZ riders have a bike or a suitable bike.
    list on
    – do a promo post on the New Zealand Made Products Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/519618962054849 it has over half a million kiwis as members and is incredibly popular, has huge visitation and is free.
    – here is another one to post on https://www.facebook.com/groups/liveloveexplorelocalnewzealand
    – I had a quick look but couldn’t find you on http://www.newzealand.com, so if you are listed there you are hard to find, if not I strongly suggest you register (multiple tours if you can) here https://register.newzealand.com/
    – might be a crazy idea but guide day trips from Auckland might sell well, up to Matakana, Leigh etc..
    – you might like to join this group on Linked In called RESET, https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13880204/ a support and collective voice for small tourism businesses in NZ
    – do you have a Linked In page? I suggest creating one if not and using your personal pages as well to post activity and new products, and deals.
    – I see you have a FB page and you might like to think about paying to boost certain posts and targeting certain demographics or areas.
    – you could try contacting media such as Stuff, Seven Sharp, Breakfast etc all who have been running stories to support kiwi tourism businesses, just need to come up with a cool story or angle for them.
    – are you connected with ATEED (Auckland Tourism) and on their site..?
    – a friend and tourism marketing guru has recently moved to Mangawhai so he might be able to come and have a coffee and see if he can help out or make any further suggestions, let me know if you are interested.

    Hope some of this might help., and wish you all the best. Jason


    Morena. It is heart-breaking to see your struggles, which are not isolated as you know. There are many businesses that are really struggling to find the path forward when ‘what you did in the past’ is not going to work. So trying new things, questioning everything you do, did and finding new paths for attracting customers is really the only way to go. Super hard to see overseas tourists coming into NZ this year, so working the domestic side, partnering with others in the same situation may give you some hope – I don’t really know anyway other than fighting, pivoting and testing where you can get new business. Sorry that I don’t have clear strategies for you – I would ask you – do you have product that just needs to be remarketed to local tourists? do you need to change the product for the market? Try, test and discover. Wishing you all the best, Andy


    Kia ora, if its any small consolation many of us have read your comments and so you are being heard. The issue of course is how can we help. I believe open borders wont return for at least 12 months if not years unfortunately. This of course leaves many Tourism businesses facing hibernation or closure.
    What is beginning to emerge however is demand from Ad Hoc groups for border exemptions and this will continue to gather pace. Film Studios, Tech Companies, Sports teams are targeting NZ in order to undertake projects or Events. The luxury market is especially interested in these exemptions and there is very strong demand from International Bands, Business Executives, Super Yacht owners to relocate here.
    How your company connects with these groups is of course the challenge but my advice is to watch the media closely for any sign of advance notice or snippets of information which could develop a lead.
    Additionally China, Taiwan, Singapore etc look a lot closer to being be able open air corridors with NZ before anyone else so if your able to connect with NZ based operators who specialize in this market in may give you a head start on the competition.
    I wish I could offer you more encouraging news but hang in there if you can, we are going to need bright entrepreneurial minds like yourselves to lead our recovery.



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