New business venture targets snow enthusiasts with course, accommodation and employment package in Japan

Media Release from We Are Sno

An adrenaline-fuelled new business venture offers skiers and snowboarders the chance to experience both the snow and culture of Japan when winter ends in New Zealand.

After falling in love with the New Zealand ski scene several years ago, Queenstown-based Adrian Gourlay has decided it’s time to pursue a business idea he’s had for some time to help more passionate snow enthusiasts enjoy winter sports all year round.

Teaming up with marketing expert Ed Raine, the duo has developed a unique travel product enabling clients to spend a full winter season in one of Japan’s top ski resorts, training for a ski or snowboard instructor qualification and with the guarantee of a season’s employment as an instructor to follow.

The company Adrian founded is called WE ARE SNO and this winter is providing a series of courses in the Japanese ski resorts of Niseko and Myoko, with further winter courses to follow in other Northern Hemisphere resorts.

The externally-organised courses will be a ‘first’ in Niseko which is Japan’s biggest and most popular resort (which means the most work as a newly-qualified instructor). Niseko won best Ski Resort in Japan at the 2016 World Ski Awards, is nominated for it again in 2017 and has also previously been nominated for World’s Best Ski Resort.

We Are Sno saw a gap in the snow enthusiasts market for individuals keen to embark on their snowsports career. Many ski schools do not have the marketing reach to attract enough people to courses, but with offices in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, We Are Sno is targeting snow lovers from around the globe.

“Plenty of people want to do these courses but if they’re trying to organise it solo there’s a lot of red tape and organisation with examiners, training staff and resort logistics, often with the added difficulty of language and cultural barriers,” said company director Adrian Gourlay.

“We’ve packaged up everything into one ski or snowboard product offering training and tuition, accommodation and a paid job offer, with avalanche and backcountry training included as standard.

“Once they’re qualified, people get employment in the same resort, for the rest of the season.

“Many of the ski school managers we work with in Japan also work in Southern Hemisphere resorts, so our newly-qualified instructors are also likely to find work in Australia or New Zealand the following season.

“Living and working in Japan for their initial season also means participants experience the unique and wonderfully hospitable culture that Japan still offers in an otherwise increasingly globalised world.”

Mr Gourlay said the new business was “something I’ve wanted to do for years”.

“Now everything’s fallen into place to make my dream a reality. While Japan will be our operations base over the coming winter, we’re working towards applying the concept in several other destinations around the world, and to promote inbound ski tourism by offering the courses here in New Zealand too.”

The ski or snowboard qualification is internationally-recognised and can take instructors to the USA, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere.

Mr Gourlay said We Are Sno was also striving hard to bridge the gender gap in snowsports.

“Currently some 85% of instructors are male, but we’re trying to do everything we can to encourage more females to make their careers in the industry,” he said.

The company is undertaking user-research into the issue, interviewing female instructors to get a better understanding of the market, as well as talking to prospective female clients to understand their objections or fears.

“We’re also looking to develop a series of female-only instructor courses to make women feel more comfortable in the learning environment, something that’s already proved successful in ski improvement training courses.”

Mr Gourlay said We Are Sno had created products that fulfilled demand without making costs too high, thereby making courses only accessible to the wealthy.

“We only work with the best resorts where high standards of training are guaranteed and there’s plenty of work, including additional training qualifications to make our interns more employable, but we keep it reasonable.

“This ensures our courses are not just about the snow, but offer a more enriching cultural experience to our clients.”

Picture caption:

1/ A newly-qualified snowsports instructor giving a lesson

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Business has never looked more inviting at Crowne Plaza Auckland

Media release from Crowne Plaza Auckland

Crowne Plaza Auckland is turning the boardroom into the ‘not-so-bored’ room and put the excitement back into ‘experiences’ for meetings, incentives, conference and events guests.

The 352-room city centre hotel launched its latest video campaign today (Monday November 27) to help take bookers on a visual journey of the hotel, and to offer a little inspiration on what can be done in its varied and flexible event spaces.

Making its debut in the video is Crowne Plaza Auckland’s newest gala dinner package. The New Zealand Gala Dinner package offers guests a unique welcome and insight into some of Aotearoa’s culture including a 15-minute Māori welcome, a New Zealand-themed buffet and Aotearoa-inspired decorations, along with inclusions such as stage and dance floor hire.

The video also showcases hotel facilities such as the Club Lounge – an exclusive area with all the ‘bells and whistles’ available to guests who stay the night in a Club room.

The changes have come from Crowne Plaza’s new brand tagline ‘we’re all business, mostly’ and a recognition that delegates and guests are looking for unique spaces and experiences coming into 2018.

Based on the modern business traveller, the campaign also recognises that delegates want to make the most of every opportunity when travelling for work to make time inside AND outside the boardroom really count.

It’s in line with a new European study that recognises meetings built around ‘all work and no play’ makes for a dull Jack or Jill.

The IHG study has revealed business travellers admit work trips are more fun and enjoyable than they let on, with nine out of ten making the most of downtime by getting out and about to explore the city, ticking off their personal travel ‘to do’ list.

Crowne Plaza Auckland is conveniently located in the heart of the city’s business, entertainment and waterfront district, and General Manager Tim Pollock said it was the perfect base for guests to “do business and get out to experience the best of the city”.

To help guests do just that, the hotel’s created an online guide to Auckland business travel featuring ‘must-do’ activities for their downtime, dining hotspots and team building exercises around the city.

“Business trips have somewhat changed,” said Tim. “The new video campaign reinforces to the MICE market that work and downtime can be mutually productive.

“We do the fundamentals extremely well but in today’s market it’s about creating unique experiences to excite and delight delegates, so we’re continuing to work on new projects coming into 2018.

“We’re proud to have been named Leading Business Hotel in the World Travel Awards again this year, for the third time. It confirms what we know, but also creates confidence in guests that Crowne Plaza Auckland’s exceptional high level of service has been maintained over the years.”

The hotel is home to ten flexible function rooms catering for everything from an executive boardroom meeting for 12 to a presentation or gala event for up to 460 guests.

All meeting and conference rooms are fully equipped with modern sound and visual systems, complimentary Wi-Fi and interactive projectors. The hotel’s audio-visual specialists supply all the presentation needs from a data projector to staged events and widescreen presentations.

Many of the function rooms are bathed in natural light, with all rooms providing bespoke flexibility. The hotel’s renowned Aria Restaurant and Bar also creates the perfect venue for a business lunch or group celebration.

Crowne Plaza Auckland also recently launched three new packages – Mostly Energised, Mostly Inspired and Mostly Social – to ensure downtime is as productive as work time.

Whether guests are in Auckland for business, an event, need some much-needed rest and relaxation, or are looking for a weekend escape, the packages are designed to leave them feeling inspired, energised and connected.

Tim Pollock said the packages tied in perfectly with meetings and conference business.

“We want delegates to stay the night and enjoy everything Auckland has to offer. Whether they want to stay active in the city, be social or relax with a massage at the end of the day, we have all bases covered.”

See the video campaign here and find out what’s on offer for the Auckland business traveller this summer here.

Picture caption:

1/ Crowne Plaza Auckland’s Aotearoa-themed gala dinner is a unique experience for MICE guests

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The ultimate discovery with Skydive Southern Alps

Media release from Skydive Southern Alps

Boundless skies, New Zealand’s most stunning alpine scenery and an authentic appeal to the adventurous are the hallmarks of a freshly-branded skydive company.

For the past five years the former Skydive Paradise has been playing little brother to its older and bigger sibling NZONE Skydive.

Now Skydive Southern Alps is having its moment in the sun with a brand refresh that reflects and explains what a truly amazing experience Skydive Southern Alps is, targeting the explorers and adventurers among New Zealand visitors looking for the ultimate skydive experience.

Skydive Southern Alps is part of Australasia’s fastest-growing tourism company, Australian-based publicly listed company ExperienceCo. The company acquired the Glenorchy-based skydive company when it bought sister operation NZONE Skydive two years ago.

“The grandeur of the scenery as guests jump from a plane 15,000ft above the rugged snow-capped Southern Alps, the braided channels of the Dart River, crystal clear Lake Wakatipu and the gorgeous township of Glenorchy makes this a breath-taking experience,” says Marketing Manager Stephen Thompson.

“People who love a sense of discovery are ecstatic about the whole experience, starting with the spectacular 45-minute lake edge drive from Queenstown to the beautiful and remote Glenorchy in the heart of the mountains.

“It’s a very personalised trip for small groups shared with a handful of our friendly and highly-experienced flight and ground crew.

“When they get to the dropzone they love the vibe and the natural environment as they prepare to skydive and then share their skydive experience with our staff and other customers.

“And where else in the world do they get to jump over Tolkein’s magical Middle Earth, with that birds-eye view of Mt Aspiring and Fiordland national parks?”

Once they’ve made the leap of faith to leave their perfectly good plane, guests have up to 60 seconds of freefall to take in the 360-degree views from above, appreciating the scale of the 500km-long Southern Alps, the backbone of New Zealand’s South Island.

On a clear day they can see as far as Mitre Peak in Milford Sound on the wild West Coast of the island.

For a tempting ‘taster’ of a Skydive Southern Alps trip click here.

Guests wishing to book their skydive adventure of a lifetime can visit the dedicated new Skydive Southern Alps Shop in Queenstown’s Shotover Street.

Picture caption:

1/ Guests on a Skydive Southern Alps jump have up to 60 seconds of freefall to take in stunning mountain, lake and river views

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Queenstown student awarded tourism scholarship

Media release from AccorHotels Queenstown

One lucky Queenstown student has been granted a scholarship to give her the ultimate kickstart in New Zealand’s booming tourism industry.

Wakatipu High School (WHS) student Harriet Dennison, 18, will study a Diploma in Hospitality Management at the award-winning Queenstown Resort College (QRC), thanks to an inaugural partnership between four Queenstown hotels and the college.

The scholarship covers fifty percent of tuition fees for the two-year course and includes a guaranteed paid internship placement at one of AccorHotels’ market-leading Queenstown properties.

The four properties driving this scholarship are Hotel St Moritz, Novotel Queenstown, Sofitel Queenstown and Mercure Queenstown Resort.

Hotel St Moritz General Manager Jo Finnigan presented the scholarship at the high school’s Senior Prizegiving on Thursday afternoon (November 2 2017).

A delighted Harriet said it was “quite incredible” to receive the scholarship.

“I’m very excited to be able to gain further knowledge in the tourism industry through QRC, especially here in Queenstown, my home town,” she said.

“I’m thrilled to have received this scholarship because AccorHotels is such a well-known global brand, and I’m looking forward to learning here in the environment that QRC provides.”

The scholarship was a collective vision from AccorHotels and QRC to open up the world of hotel business to Queenstown students, exposing them to a compelling career path in tourism with the option to travel worldwide.

Students applied for the grant by submitting responses to several questions, including an inventive 100-word response to “the secret of their success if they ran a world-renowned Queenstown hotel in 2028”.

Harriet’s ‘thinking outside the box’ approach led her to create a 100-word mind-map to visually explain her success, outlining every element of running a successful hotel including facilities, customer experience and management.

She also came up with a catchy motto “we deliver what you want, before you know it”.

Hotel St Moritz General Manager Jo Finnigan particularly loved Harriet’s creative application.

“It’s fantastic to see the next generation excited about a career in New Zealand’s dynamic hospitality and tourism industries,” she said.

“Harriet came across as a natural leader and I look forward to watching her career unfold.

“I’m hopeful this inaugural scholarship inspires a pipeline of high school students in the future.”

Queenstown Resort College Chief Executive Charlie Phillips said the scholarship was a “great opportunity” for Harriet to work within New Zealand’s largest export industry.

“Gaining a recognised qualification in the tourism and hospitality sector provides a competitive advantage when it comes to maximising employment opportunities,” he said.

“We look forward to welcoming Harriet to QRC early next year.”

Harriet will begin her Diploma in Hospitality Management at Queenstown Resort College in January 2018.

Picture caption:

1/ Tourism kickstart – Queenstown Resort College Chief Executive Charlie Phillips (L) and Hotel St Moritz General Manager Jo Finnigan (R) presented a tourism scholarship to Harriet Dennison

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