Archive for May, 2011
For many Americans, New Zealand is a small island next to very big Australia and when you visit one, you visit both. Because New Zealand is smaller, it won’t take as long. You can probably drive around it in a few days .. right? There’s evidence to suggest at least 40% of Americans visiting New Zealand also visit Australia on the same trip. In ten days. The percentage is even higher for cruise ship and coach tour passengers.
Complicating things further is the dateline. Have a look at this clip from ‘The West Wing’ as the President’s staff try and figure out the time on the other side of the world; NZ is only 12 hours overnight flight away, but in many itineraries it looks like three days. If you’ve ever travelled ‘coach’ on an American airline, you’ll marvel that any Americans make it here at all.
Wellington has some additional challenges. We’ve never been part of the ‘Golden Route’, the traditional itinerary from Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown and we’ve got to share time with Australia. ‘What do you mean we can’t do Fiji too???’
I recently attended Kiwi Link North America with Interislander and Te Papa. The ‘School of Cool’, leveraging Wellington’s Lonely Planet accolade, was a hit. The travel agents liked the sound of our compact city, star spotting in Wellywood and knew about lots of the tours and attractions, not to mention our wine region and luxury lodge just over the hill.
The agents reckon the biggest barrier to getting Americans to Wellington is their low amount of vacation time. So rise up America– demand the vacation leave of civilised nations and then you’ll have time to spend two nights in New Zealand’s Capital of Cool.
Which got me thinking – what would you do if you only had 10 days annual leave a year?
By Angela Moriarty
When Wellington was named the 4th top city to visit this year by Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011, it didn’t take rocket scientists to figure there was a bit of an opportunity afoot. Not only was Wellington just a few spots down the list from New York, an independent global travel powerhouse had headlined our little city at the bottom of the world as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’. This was the stuff of tourism marketers’ dreams, but it needed a plan…and the flexibility to drop everything, divert budgets and work to slightly crazy deadlines (cue major shout out to Jamie Schaefer of Homegrown Creative).
Here’s the story…
A Bit of Background
Lonely Planet gave us a heads up that Wellington was on the Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011 list about five weeks out from Best in Travel’s launch on 1 November 2010. Relevant members of our team gathered in our best attempts at secret meetings. As budget and planned activity needed to be shifted, we took the news to our Board who agreed it was time to go large. We may have been banging on about it for years, but after dubbing Wellington a ‘city on the rise’ in 2006, a major international travel brand was calling it the ‘coolest little capital in the world’.
When Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 hit the shelves we wanted everyone to know Wellington was in it. But we only had a couple of weeks in which to make that happen; including concept, creative and media buy.
Following a scientific review of the guide’s content (ie: reading it), we figured we had two options on how we could run with this…
OPTION 1: 4th Best City to Visit in 2011
It was the first time Best in Travel had ranked its lists and being number 4 behind the likes of New York was kind of a big deal. But while this gave us a number and a benchmark, it didn’t really give a message…and it reminded us of Moro’s 4th Best Chocolate Bar campaign. (Except a few of us thought it was actually Mars bar.)
So, it was onto…
OPTION 2: The ‘Coolest Little Capital in the World’
The chapter writer had taken a line championed by former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and ‘made it her own’. She mused that instead of ‘best little capital in the world’, Wellington could have pitched itself as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ were it not for unfortunate weather references. Having previously run a ‘Capital of Cool’ campaign with Pacific Blue in Australia, this development resonated with our vision of and for our destination. Ladies and gentlemen, we had a winner.
The aim was simple: make sure that on 1 November 2010 everyone in New Zealand knew that Lonely Planet had named Wellington the ‘coolest little capital in the world’.
Here’s 10 ways we did that:
1: Top Secret Function
Any decent announcement needs a Top Secret Announcement Function (otherwise not known as a TSAF). The TSAF plays a vital role in building hype by mildly annoying a large percentage of invitees who can’t stand not knowing if it’s worth their time attending or not. This is best enhanced by scheduling said function for 7.30am on a Monday morning. After talking slash whinging about it to anyone who will listen for a few days, curiosity will get the better of them and they will attend. It is then the job of the organisers of the TSAF to win them over with the quality of the news and, in this case, the provision of tasty Wellington fare and Pandoro treats courtesy of the team at Capitol Catering. The early hour called for further reinforcements: Revive and Mojo were on hand with the coffee carts and The Daily Squeeze‘s juicy goodness was also circulated. There was really no other choice than to have the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra finish things up. Everyone was on message, excited and ready to tell the world.
2. Early News is Good News
The 2.01am embargo on the news allowed for it to break on the front page of The Dominion Post that morning. Total media coverage across the day had an estimated audience reach of 2,206,025 and an advertising space rate (ASR) value of just under $300,000; not that I necessarily subscribe to ASR as a hugely relevant PR measure – but it feels about time to start cranking out some numbers. Speaking of numbers, Cool with a Capital C was the most popular story on stuff.co.nz on Monday 1 November and received 223 comments last time I looked. Even Aucklanders got behind us – the New Zealand Herald’s Lonely Planet Takes a Shine to Wellington story was mighty gracious …and shared on facebook in excess of 2400 times. Thanks guys.
3. Street Flags
Special edition e-newsletters were scheduled to hit our five industry and consumer databases in the middle of the night so they would ‘hear it from us first’. I wanted to schedule them all for 2.01am in line with the embargo lifting, thinking it would be super dramatic. But, our Digital Marketing Manager advised, that was very likely crash our system thanks to the combined databases having a total distribution of over 75,000. So I wept quietly in the loo for a brief moment*, before agreeing it was no problem to schedule them throughout the night.
While confident of media pickup, we wanted people to see the story for themselves. So we asked Lonely Planet if we could replicate their Wellington chapter for a newspaper insert. They said ok; which was good. We distributed 360,000 of said inserts in the New Zealand Herald, The Press and The Dominion Post and also received 4 x bonus advert spots in the NZ Herald.
6. Digital Engagement
Wellingtonians love their city and it’s also consistently New Zealanders’ favourite destination in the Mood of the Traveller survey; so what did the city’s fans and advocates have to say? Wellington’s not a one trick destination pony - it’s the sum of many parts. So we called for people to ‘Show Us Your Little Thing’ at littlething.co.nz (a vanity url redirected to WellingtonNZ.com) and share their little thing they felt makes Wellington the coolest little capital in the world. As well as through the newspaper insert, this message was pushed through social media and a bit of a digital advertising campaign that drew 9.3m impressions and 3900 click throughs. TVNZ’s Breakfast also dedicated a weather broadcast to the little things that make Wellington the coolest little capital in the world.
This was the first time we had introduced user generated content to our website. Over 500 ‘little things’ were submitted from as far afield as Canada, UK, and Amy in the US Army in South Korea. Fans of our Absolutely Positively Wellington page on facebook increased by 2500 to over 10,000.
7. Cyberwalking the Talk
PWT and Wellington City Council loaded new email signatures to share the news with everyone we all sent emails to:
We opted to re-direct some of our TV media spend for the Spoil Yourself in Wellington campaign to a short flight of 15” adverts promoting the Lonely Planet acclaim. The ad creative was low budget – this wasn’t about launching a new campaign, it was about being nimble and cost conscious.
9. Travel Media
Sunday Star Times, Herald On Sunday (have a read of Frances Morton’s Urban Legends story) and Sunday News were all hosted for ‘Capital of Cool’ travel stories in line with the announcement, with many others also later running with the theme. International coverage of the Best in Travel inclusion included in the Herald Scotland, The Express and CNN; the latter story has been recommended on facebook by a phenomenal 24,853 people.
The Coolest Little Capital in the World
The Coolest Little Beer Capital in the World
10. Trade Reaction
The country’s destinations employ all kinds of creative gimmicks, giveaways and games to get cut-through in trade training at Tourism New Zealand-led travel events offshore. Earlier this month Positively Wellington Tourism’s International Marketing Team took the Wellington ‘School of Cool’ to Kiwi Link North America 2011 in Seattle. Principal Payne (Simon Payne from Interislander), Mistress MacDonald (Bridget MacDonald from Te Papa) and our very own Headmistress Heaton and Librarian Lloyd took agents through a Capital of Cool curriculum that included a Geography lesson, Media Studies, Phys Ed, an Arts & Culture lesson …you get the drift. Mini falling water cocktails featuring Wellington-born 42 Below feijoa vodka were served with Schoc chocolate during recess. Word is the students graduated with flying colours.
The faculty will next take the School of Cool to an International Marketing Alliance workshop in the UK and while school’s out at present, the force will be with the capital of cool message at TRENZ in Queenstown next week.
With visiting media and trade streaming through in the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2011 and some 2000 journalists and crew expected in New Zealand throughout the Tournament itself, we have a great story to tell with third party endorsement to match. Off the back of RWC 2011, up to 500 journalists will visit Wellington in November for the Society of American Travel Writers convention. Needless to say 2011 is proving a manic year for Wellington’s tourism industry, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We have a clear message backed up by third party endorsement….and a reputation to live up to. The coolest little capital in the world is taking it to the world in Absolutely Positively Wellington style.