Tourism Auckland's Website has begun linking to the start-up Auckland city guide Out and About for an accomodation listings and booking service.
The service, expected to be a popular item in a year when a string of big events will run Auckland short of hotel beds, seems to signal the cooling of Tourism's Auckland's Internet relationship with Telecom and Xtra. Early work on the organisation's Website was carried out by the Telecom subsidiary Digital Video Productions and a strategic partnership with Telecom Directories was planned.
Now, Xtra's Auckland Live does not appear in Tourism Auckland's list of local links, and links to Tourism Auckland have been removed from Auckland Live in favour of in-house content. Tourism Auckland also links to Out and About for event and entertainment information and, along with the Diners' Club-sponsored Cuisine Guide, restaurant listings.
"We decided to work with Out & About because it is a comprehensive, up to date database. It is vital for us to have a partner who is committed to this project, and I see this database as adding value to our site," says Tourism Auckland's Communications Manager, Jodie Pasgaard.
Out and About managing director, Phil Sheehan, one of four original staff members which set up Microsoft in New Zealand in 1991, says his aim has been to create "a one-stop shop for visitors to Auckland on the World Wide Web. Each accommodation venue listing is linked to all restaurants, attractions, events and rental cars from Warkworth to Pokeno."
Describing his company as "the cavalry to the rescue" in millennium year, Sheehan says Out and About, which opened last year, services about 20,000 enquiries a month.
"Already over 40% of the site's traffic is international. It is expected that these users will make the biggest gains from this new service. International travellers are becoming more and more Internet savvy. If we give them the confidence to know there will be somewhere for them to stay when they arrive here, everyone will be in a win-win situation," he says.
Out and About (http://www.outandabout.co.nz) was developed for Sheehan by Clearview Communications and the Tourism Auckland site (http://www.aucklandnz.com), which fields about 2000 enquiries a week, is being developed by Dave Blyth of Webdesign.