Last month we chatted with Kristie Cook at Marlborough Tour Company. Kristie looks after the systems and software platforms for Marlborough Tour Company and its wider family of brands. Kristie was an integral part of the company’s procurement of IBIS Technology in 2020.
Marlborough Tour Company have been investing in creative product development since the words COVID-19 hit New Zealand shores. Their passion for showcasing the best of Marlborough has birthed a range of unique tours for New Zealanders to enjoy. So, we asked a range of questions about the inventive drive happening at the top of the South.
- We have been in a mostly domestic market for a while now. How has Marlborough Tour Company adapted?
MTC has adapted for the domestic market by investing in product development and digital channels to enhance its appeal to the domestic market and strengthen its online presence. This included transitioning eight websites, all on different platforms, into five sites on a common platform and integrating online booking across the sites. We’re continuing to evolve, not just for the domestic market, but also for when New Zealand’s border reopens. We aim to support travel trade and to ensure Marlborough – and Marlborough Tour Company – are top of mind for international travelers in the future.
- Summer is around the corner. What would you say is MTC’s ‘Must Do’ product?
We are super excited about our new “Blend” product, this is a full day winery experience blending your own bottle of wine whilst enjoying a tour and delicious lunch. A must do is our famous Seafood Odyssea Cruise. You’ll discover the natural beauty and fresh seafood of the Marlborough Sounds during a 3.5-hour cruise from Picton. Cruising through the sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound, tasting fresh seafood served on board and paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll also learn about aquaculture in the Marlborough Sounds, check out a salmon and mussel farm, and get great photo ops of the region!
- What do you miss about hosting international guests?
There is always a sense of satisfaction and pride hosting our international guests, whether it be on our vessels or at our lodges. We really miss the hustle and bustle, excitement, funny stories and just the rapport a larger group brings to our tours. International guests are always fascinated by the beauty of our region.
- What are you finding easier and what is more challenging in the current climate?
Planning and forecasting is a lot more challenging in this environment, as no one knows with any certainty what this summer season looks like, or the next. So, we need to be flexible and adapt to whatever is thrown our way.
- What priorities are you focusing on right now for the business?
Our focus at the moment is to revive our trade relationships, and support our trade partners. We are also concentrating on supporting local businesses. We’re getting behind one-off events to ensure they can go ahead in the future and supporting local initiatives that add vibrancy to the Blenheim and Picton townships. We are also providing suggestions and guidance for groups who are supporting Marlborough’s regeneration and growth.
- Finally, a controversial question…. Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir?
It has to be Sauvignon!