Virtual lobby

MIQ has introduced a virtual lobby for the next room release, scheduled for 20 September 9am (NZT), in the Managed Isolation Allocation System. The lobby will open at 8am 20 September (NZT).

Once people arrive on the website, the lobby will randomise people into a queue, and gradually allow people through the website to secure a room.

The lobby will make booking more transparent and will create a more level playing field for people trying to access the booking site. There is no limit on how many people can wait in the lobby.

Go to the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to get to the virtual lobby(external link)

From now on, MIQ will be telling people in advance when room releases are happening.

High demand for limited places

There will still only be a limited number of rooms available during the room release, which means that given the current demand for rooms there will still be people who miss out this time.

We will continue to announce room releases in advance (at least 24-48 hours before the release) so people will know when to come back.

Before the lobby opens

  • Make sure you have created an account on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website and completed all your details. If you have already created an account, you do not need to create another one.
  • Check the flight checker on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website: 
    • It is important to know your preferred flight route and select the correct date for arrival once you are in the system.
    • Do not grab any date – flights from most locations around the world only arrive on particular days so you need to make sure you are booking an MIQ date that aligns with the arrival date of a flight from your location.
    • Please check the flight checker on the website before the lobby opens, and select the appropriate date if you are given access to the system.
    • If you cannot find an available date in the system that matches your flight arrival date, you will need to try again in the next room release.
  • Passport number requirements to enter the lobby: 
    • You will need to enter a passport number to participate in the room release (see below section for more information on passport number requirements).
    • A passport number can only be used once for the release.
    • You are not able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers.

Passport number requirements

Booking for yourself

The passport number entered must match your passport number entered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website (it must be the same passport number which will be on your MIQ voucher). If it does not match, you will not be able to secure a room.

Before the lobby opens, make sure all your details in the system are accurate and up-to-date, including your passport details. Make sure you are not using an expired passport number.

Also make sure that no one else, for example a family member or a travel agent, is planning to use your passport number to make a booking.

Booking on behalf of someone else or if you are travelling in a group

The passport number entered must match a passport number of someone who is travelling, which is entered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website (it must be the same passport number which will be on the MIQ voucher). If it does not match, you will not be able to secure a room.

Before the lobby opens, make sure all the travellers’ details in the system are accurate and up-to-date, including passport details. Make sure you are not using an expired passport number.

If you are travelling in a group, each member of the group can enter their own passport number to participate in the release. The person who has the best queue position should continue, and the others should leave the queue.

If you make a mistake

  • Passport numbers don't match.
    • You will be told if your passport numbers do not match when you gain access to the website and try to secure a room. If this happens, you will need to re-join the queue with the correct passport number. Note: you will re-join at the end of the queue. This means you will be highly unlikely to gain access to the website again for this room release. However, you can try again for the next room release.
    • If you believe the passport number you entered to participate in the room release is correct, you can update your passport number in the Managed Isolation Allocation System. Note: if you update this number in the system, it needs to be a valid passport number. This number will appear on your voucher. If it is incorrect or invalid, your voucher may be cancelled and you may not be able to travel. 
    • You cannot change a passport number in the system once a date has been secured. 
    • Validation of passport details begins once a voucher is secured.
  • Passport number is wrong but you are already in the lobby.
    • You will need to exit the lobby and re-join. 
    • The lobby uses a unique “browser cookie” to manage the queue process. This means you will either need to “clear your cookies” or set up a new browser session to re-join. This could be done by using a different browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari), or by using a different device (e.g. laptop, phone, desktop computer). You cannot just close the same browser and re-open it. Please follow the advice above. 
    • Note: You are not able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers. 
  • Error message saying your passport number has already been used.
    • A passport number can only be used once for the release. Make sure your friends, family or a travel agent have not already used the passport number to participate in the release. 
    • You are not able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers. Make sure you have not already used the passport number on another device (e.g. laptop, phone etc) or another browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari).

One booking per turn – advice for travel agents and third parties

You can only make 1 booking (for yourself or a group) per turn to enable more people to have an opportunity to secure a room.

Third parties, such as travel agents, who may have multiple groups under their registration, will need to enter the lobby multiple times - each time they will need to enter a passport number which matches 1 of the travellers in that group.

The lobby uses a unique “browser cookie” to manage the queue process. This means you will need to set up a new browser session for each of your groups. This could be done by using different browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari), or by using different devices (e.g. laptops, phones, desktop computers). You cannot open multiple tabs or new windows in the same browser – this will just replicate the same lobby experience.

If you have a lot of different groups, we recommend you either use a variety of people in your team to help manage the booking process, or ask your groups to participate in the lobby process themselves. Make sure you have agreement with the group whether you will enter the lobby or they will - a passport number can only be used once in the release which means you cannot both enter the lobby.

Once the room release begins, each group will have a different place in the queue. If you end up entering the site at the same time for multiple groups, you will need to log-in and work through 1 group at a time – you cannot be logged in on different devices or browsers at the same time. There is no time restriction to book once you are in the site.

Note: You will not be able to use the same passport number across multiple devices or browsers – a passport number can only be used once for the release.

For example:

  • Group A (3x passenger) – join lobby with a passenger passport number (any of the 3 passengers) in Chrome on laptop
  • Group B (1x passenger) – join lobby with passport number (the solo traveller) in Firefox on laptop
  • Group C (4x passenger) – join lobby with a passenger passport number (any of the 4 passengers) on phone

The lobby process - step by step

  1. One hour before the room release, the lobby will open and you can arrive on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website. This is not a first-in, first-served model – it doesn’t matter what time you get to the website, as long as it is within 1 hour before the room release is due to start. Do not arrive before the lobby opens.
  2. To enter the lobby, you will need to enter a passport number. The passport number entered here must match a passport number of someone who is travelling, which is entered in the Managed Isolation Allocation System website (it must be the same passport number which will be on the MIQ voucher). If it does not match, you will not be able to secure a room. A passport number can only be used once in this room release.
  3. People can only make one booking (for yourself or a group) per turn. Third parties, such as travel agents, who may have multiple groups under their registration, will need to enter the lobby multiple times. See section above for more information.
  4. Once the room release starts, all of the people in the lobby will be automatically moved into a queue – this will be randomised. You will be able to see your place in the queue.
  5. If you arrive on the site after the room release has started, you will need to enter a passport number and will be put at the end of the queue.
  6. When you are at the front of the queue, the page will automatically re-direct you to the website. If you are not viewing the browser at that point in time, you will have 15 minutes to enter the site before losing your place in the queue. If this happens, you will need to re-join and will be added to the back of queue.
  7. People will be moved into the website in a controlled manner. You can log in using your existing log in details and select a date. You can later return to add your flights, so long as this is done within 48 hours of date selection. If flights are not added within 48 hours, the room reservation will be cancelled, as per the current process.
  8. Once all rooms have been taken, the lobby will be closed and anyone in the queue will be informed that they have unfortunately missed out this time. We will continue to announce room releases so people will know when to come back.

While the room release is running, you may not be able to access the website for other reasons, so if you have an existing booking and need to access vouchers, make changes to your information etc. you are advised to work around this time.

Please follow MBIE on Facebook or Twitter, or check the Managed Isolation Allocation System website to find out when the room releases will occur.

If you miss out on securing a room

You can try again for the next room release. We will continue to announce room releases in advance (at least 24-48 hours before the release) so please check the MIQ channels (websites and social media) for updates. 

Each room release will be a new and independent event. At this stage, there will be no prioritisation for people who missed out in the last room release. 

If you need to travel urgently, you can apply for an emergency allocation.

Find out more about emergency allocation requests

Travellers from Australia

The Government has announced quarantine-free travel with Australia will remain suspended for a further 8 weeks. This means people wanting to travel from Australia can now participate in Monday’s room release.

Flights from Australia will be made available for travel in October and November with Air New Zealand. These flights will be red flights, which means travellers need to secure an MIQ voucher and spend at least 14 days in MIQ. The costs of flights and MIQ will need to be covered by travellers, and a pre-departure test from an accredited laboratory, also at the traveller’s cost, will be required within 72 hours of travel.

People wanting to travel on these flights will be able to enter the lobby and have the opportunity to access the approximately 3,000 rooms in Monday’s release. You will have to follow the same process as everyone else to secure a room.

Flights from Australia will be uploaded into the Managed Isolation Allocation System flight checker over the next few days – please check the flight checker so you can plan what days you can arrive in New Zealand. If you get access to the website during the room release, you need to make sure you are booking an MIQ date that aligns with the flight arrival dates.

You may not be able to book your flights with Air New Zealand immediately, if you secure a date during Monday’s release. However, you should be able to book flights on Monday afternoon or Tuesday. You have 48 hours to confirm your flight details in the system.

If you miss out on securing a voucher in Monday’s release, you will able to participate in the next room release which will take place in September.

Checklist – what to do before Monday

  • Create an account on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website and complete all your details.
  • Read the information above about how to participate in Monday’s room release. You will need your passport number to enter the lobby.
  • Check the flight checker on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website.
  • Read information about the requirements for travelling – e.g. pre-departure testing, on our quarantine-free travel page:
  • Read information about what to expect in MIQ:

Virtual lobby - explainer video

Last updated: 17 September 2021