A survey by the Tourism Industry Association shows a third of operators thought their business fared worse during the Rugby World Cup than in the same period in 2010.
In the survey of TIA members, 46,3% of respondents thought their business did "better" or "much better" than in 2010 while 18.2% saw no change.
Just over a third - or 33.9% - considered the tournament period to be either "worse" or "much worse" for their business.
About 121 of TIA's 1,500 member organisations took part in the survey.
TIA policy and research manager Simon Wallace says it was a mixed bag for operators, with the campervan sector doing well but motels and backpacker accommodation suffered as domestic travellers stayed at home and corporate travel was disrupted.
The survey also found the North Island and large cities did best from the six-week tournament.
Mr Wallace says one lesson the industry must take out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup experience is to better co-ordinate with the provinces to ensure more visitors get out and about there.
He says 133,200 people visited New Zealand for the World Cup, exceeding the association's target of 85,000.