18 May 2022

iFLY Indoor Skydiving is a global tourism business that launched its first New Zealand operation in Queenstown in late 2018.

Entering its second full financial year, iFLY Queenstown experienced immediate revenue declines in January 2020, which progressively worsened as COVID-19 restrictions put a virtual stop to international travel.

We spoke to Matt Wong, Owner and Managing Director of iFLY Indoor Skydiving NZ Ltd, who shared his personal insight into how he used the challenges presented by COVID-19 to pivot his business to maximise opportunities and minimise the detrimental impacts on cashflow.

iFLY is a global brand with more than 87 locations around the world. Its immense vertical wind tunnel allows guests to experience sky diving free fall, in a safe and controlled setting that’s suitable for all ages and abilities.

According to iFLY Owner and Managing Director, Matt Wong, before 2020, iFLY Queenstown was heavily reliant on international visitors. And so, when the pandemic hit and tourists suddenly stopped coming, the business faced a daunting 80% decline in customers. With its customer-base decimated in an instant, the business had to scramble to come up with a plan to survive.

“In our case, we took the decision to get to work and reinvent our business, pivoting to a 100% domestic model,” said Matt.

“Worse still, that 20% of our customer-base that was local were locked down. So, the work we did with Nexia Auckland during the initial eight weeks of lockdown was critical.

“We worked with Nexia Auckland to do a lot of cash flow forecasting and budgeting, so we knew exactly how far we could stretch our remaining cash reserves. As you can imagine, this involved lots of hard conversations and difficult decisions, but the team’s professionalism and empathy gave us the confidence we needed to make a decisive choice.

“We could either persevere through what would be the most difficult period a business like ours could go through, or we could give up. We bravely – or foolishly, depending on who you ask – decided to have a crack and fight for our survival.”

A cluttered and noisy advertising space was, for the first time, deathly silent. Being small, nimble, and operating autonomously, allowed iFLY Queenstown to steady the ship and form strategies much quicker than its competitors.

“We quickly decided to start online advertising. Given that everyone was locked down at home and looking at their devices, we figured it was the perfect time to influence them. We generated some cash flow by selling gift cards and running some competitions,” Matt said.

“We worked with Nexia Auckland the entire time and evolved an entrepreneurial mind set which snowballed from there.

“Backing ourselves turned out to be the right decision, because we ended up having a better year in 2020 than we did in 2019. We grew our domestic market to replace the missing internationals and we also created secondary and tertiary school educational program and received government funding for training military personnel.

“Once we came out of lockdown, our business model slightly changed due to restriction limits, but it worked out very well. We also reduced our prices, as we wanted to ensure our price point was right for a domestic market.

“2021 was an even better result than 2020. We made sure we looked after our team throughout this whole period by providing professional and personal development.

“Unfortunately, so far 2022 hasn’t been as prosperous – which is off the back of an Auckland lockdown and the spread of Omicron. But while it’s been a very tough few months, we’re high-performing, resilient, commercially savvy, and we’ve weathered the storm before. It’s this start-up mentality that’s placed us in a strong position for the future.

“The last three years, Nexia Auckland’s dedication and professionalism has been outstanding. You get the feeling that they genuinely care about their customers.

“I trust them with my entire business, whether it relates to accounting advice, legislation, business strategies – I know I can receive support and count on them.

“We may not be Nexia Auckland’s biggest or well-known client, but they treat us like absolute royalty, and I couldn’t thank them enough.”

To experience the thrill of flight with iFLY, we encourage you to visit, www.iflynz.co.nz.

If you’re interested in finding out how we could help your business grow, please get in touch.







Matt Wong
Owner and Managing Director
iFly Indoor Skydiving


Reproduced with permission from Nexia Australia NEXT Newsletter Autumn 2022 edition

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