By Sarah Meikle
This year, Wellington will again be in the spotlight. This city is the home that brings Middle-earth to life. In November 2012, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - the first instalment of Sir Peter Jackson’s latest project - will have its world premiere ahead of its December release.
It’s probably no surprise that things have changed a bit since the last time round and the world’s a pretty different place. It’s hard to believe, but when Wellington played host to a Middle-earth premiere almost a decade ago - The Return of the King in 2003 - Facebook was a prototype and only birds tweeted.
In the space of the last decade, the global media landscape has changed dramatically. What’s also changed is the control that organisations have over their brands. Whilst more people are talking about and sharing their thoughts on brands and products, particularly in the social space, the owners of those brands now have a much clearer picture of how you are interacting with them as it’s all so public.
Brands are also protecting themselves fiercely against anti-competitive and “guerilla activities”. A good example of this protection was during the Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC2011). To make life easier for people, some simple advertising and promotional guidelines were created so people knew what they could and couldn’t say around RWC2011.
We know that here in Wellington (and New Zealand) there will be lots of support for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and that many of our partners will want to leverage this event. Warner Bros, the film studio producing the films*, are currently working on some guidelines of “Do’s and Don’ts” and theses will be ready in May 2012. In the meantime, here are some useful tips to help you in your planning around The Hobbit films.
- Check out WellingtonNZ.com for some background information on The Hobbit films.
- All references in any of your own promotions/media releases/marketing to The Hobbit films need to be approved by Warner Bros – so it’s probably best you avoid it. So no “Hobbit Burgers” on the menu please! Avoid creating tour product names such as “The Hobbit Tour of Wellington” - these are a big NO-NO.
- If you are after images, there are some limited shots available. However these must be requested on a case-by-case basis according to a monthly schedule. Contact Jessica Williams in our Communications Team to find out more.
- The official premiere dates and associated activities will be announced soon. It will come as no surprise that there will be a lot of media interest and a lot of media visiting Wellington and New Zealand ahead of and for this event. PWT will be working on the media programme with Tourism New Zealand. We’ll let you know when we need your help.
- Help us to help you! Do you offer a film-related product or experience that we don’t know about? If so, please tell Jo Heaton.
- If you are contacted by media and are unsure about them or have a fabulous media angle relating to The Hobbit films, please let us know.
* Warner Bros is the film production company making The Hobbit films. The movies themselves are in production in New Zealand (and principally in Wellington) and are directed by Sir Peter Jackson.
By Sarah Meikle
Visa Wellington On a Plate’s (VWOAP) third instalment is well and truly wrapped up for 2011. It was our biggest year yet – we had more DINE Wellington restaurant partners, more Festival Events, more Burger Wellington participants and voters and introduced two new concepts to the programme – the Wellington Bake Club, proudly sponsored by New World, and the inaugural Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass! Phew – I’m tired just writing this list!
2011 Festival Objectives
- To maximise awareness of the VWOAP Festival.
- To raise the profile of food & beverage producers, manufacturers & suppliers.
- To educate all participants (both consumers & producers) of Wellington’s food story & economic potential.
2011 Festival Key Performance Indicators
- To maintain the number of participating restaurants in the DINE Wellington programme within 5% of 2010 levels (100).
- To maintain the number of Festival Events within 5% of 2010 levels (80).
- Encourage at least 30 Wellington Bake Club registrations.
- To maintain Burger Wellington registrations at 2010 levels (35).
- Attract at least three international media to cover VWOAP.
So how did we measure up?
- 102 DINE Wellington restaurant partners registered to take part in VWOAP.
- 80 Festival Events delivered (NB: some events were run multiple times).
- 70 Bake Clubs participated in the Wellington Bake Club.
- 49 Burger Wellington participants, with over consumer 3,800 text votes for the “Best Burger”.
- Over $800,000 worth of media generated.
- Key international results includes Australian Gourmet Traveller, www.Taste.com.au and Yahoo!7.
Down in the detail…
1. Public Relations & Media Results
|MEDIA TYPE||NUMBER OF RESULTS PRODUCED||AUDIENCE / CIRCULATION||ESTIMATED ADVERTISING VALUE|
VWOAP media coverage increased significantly between 2010 and 2011 with the number of actual media results increasing by 78%. New Zealand media result highlights included Kia Ora magazine and Dish magazine. In the digital space, highlights included coverage of the Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass and the ’17 Days, 17 Dates’ blog, focusing on Burger Wellington.
2. Wellington Bake Club
The inaugural ‘Wellington Bake Club, proudly sponsored by New World’ was launched via VWOAP’s social media channels, four weeks before the commencement of the VWOAP Festival. The primary objectives of the Wellington Bake Club were to:
- Educate Wellingtonians about the wide range of locally produced products from within the region; and
- Build, engage and ‘create chatter’ within the local/regional audience in the Social Media space about the VWOAP Festival.
Bake Club’s presence within VWOAP social media channels was significant with 70 Bake Clubs entering this competition. Bake Club received a good level of media coverage including in the Dominion Post, a blog on Stuff.co.nz (“Hot Buns”) and features in REAL magazine (New World).
3. Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass
The inaugural Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass was held on Friday 19 August and ran as a single stream of five demonstrations. The change from two concurrent streams, with a total of six sessions, was necessitated by the late cancellation of Justin North, due to illness. The event attracted 98 participants to the most well attended session (85 was the least number of participants at any session).
From consumer surveys carried out on the day, Wellington Fisher & Paykel MasterClass participants were made up of 52% from the greater Wellington region, 36% from elsewhere in New Zealandand 12% from Australia.
Five key media were hosted at the event, they were all extremely positive about the experience.
What’s it worth?
Each year, VWOAP works with BERL to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment of the Festival. This year’s topline findings are:
- There were over 25,400 Festival-goers (up 47% on last year).
- The success of VWOAP has made it an iconic event on the Wellington Events Calendar, much like Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Awards Show or the New Zealand International Sevens.
- Both Festival Event and Dine Wellington partners rated the Festival as a success, with Dine Wellington partners averaging a 17% increase in turnover and Festival Events netting $632,000 in ticket sales.
- More than 95% of Festival Event and Dine Wellington partners, and Festival-goers are interested in participating next year.
- This year, VWOAP created an additional 9 FTEs in the region.
- As well as filling a gap in the region’s events calendar and a slower period for the hospitality industry, VWOAP has also strengthened local supplier relationships and supported the development of the food and beverage sector in Wellington.
- VWOAP contributes to Wellington region marketing, both as the Cuisine Capital, but also as the Cultural Capital of New Zealand.
Thank you to our sponsors…
Operating a Festival like VWOAP would be near on impossible without the huge contributions made by our partners. We’d REALLY like to thank the following partners for making VWOAP 2011 possible…Visa, Air New Zealand, Kirkcaldie & Stains, The Radio Network, Bolton Hotel, Fisher & Paykel, Wellington InterContinental Hotel, BERL Economics, Armstrong Prestige, New World, Menu Mania and the Wellington City Council.
And a HUGE THANK YOU to our partners…
VWOAP is a festival for the industry, by the industry. Our immense thanks go out to all the Wellington regional food and beverage industry who participate in the DINE Wellington and Festival Events programme. You guys are awesome – thank you for your enthusiasm, originality and commitment to making this New Zealand’s premier food and wine event!
Roll on 2012…
Hungry for more? Mark 10-26 August 2012 in your diaries. To be kept up to date with what’s planned and to be the first to find out what’s in the Festival programme, subscribe to our KNOW enews.
By Sarah Meikle
I remember attending the very first Rugby World Cup 2011 planning meeting in Wellington not long after I started at Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) four years ago. RWC 2011 seemed so, so, so far away, but gosh how time flies as we now reflect back on the event that has been.
Love it or loathe it, RWC 2011 has left a pretty happy legacy for Wellington. We shone. Wellington just knows how to deliver events. Whether it’s because our city is neat and compact, you can walk to the Stadium, our hospitality areas are central, or the fact that the city knows what it needs to do to ensure that everyone has a good time, we delivered in the eyes of our visitors.
We are pretty lucky really – Wellington already has the reputation domestically as the ‘Events Capital’ of New Zealand courtesy of our creative and seamless event management, coupled with our fantastically positioned stadium. What events like RWC 2011 do though, is help turn tens of thousands of international visitors and viewers into raving ambassadors as well.
Delivering an event on the scale of RWC 2011 can’t be done alone. Literally thousands of people were involved in ensuring the smooth running of the tournament and associated events – Wellington City Council (as the lead), Wellington Regional Stadium (Westpac Stadium), Wellington Rugby Football Union, Greater Wellington Regional Council, New Zealand Police, PWT, all of the Councils from around the Wellington region, local rugby clubs, hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, i-SITE Visitor Information Centres, accommodation providers, attractions, activities, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, and the list goes on and on.
RWC 2011 in numbers
There are numbers aplenty to look at, and most have been widely reported. Jo’s earlier post gives you an idea on the media coverage, while David has offered insight into how the tournament affected international arrivals to New Zealand. Here’s a few other numbers you may not have seen:
- 57% – the increase in international guest nights in the Wellington region in September, a rise of 34,000 (Sourece: Statistics New Zealand). More on that here
- 200,000 – the number of special Wellington RWC 2011 maps distributed to visitors
- 436 – the number of official RWC 2011 street flags installed in Wellington city. This was the first time every single flag spot in the CBD has been used
- 67,218 – the number of visits to WellingtonNZ2011.com during the tournament
- Over 100,000 – the number of Wellingtonians who attended the All Blacks victory parade through the city
- RWC 2011 was a fantastic event that pulled New Zealanders together and created a spirit and vibe not seen in this country before
- Wellington was widely acknowledged to have provided the best host city experience for players, fans and media
What did we learn?
- There are rules, but you can work with them. This was the first major event where the Major Events Management Act (MEMA) was applied. Those businesses that took the time to understand what they could (and couldn’t) do within the MEMA actually realised that they could make it work for them.
- Wellington demonstrated once again that it can host major world class events. This will hold the capital in good stead in achieving its goal of being the major host city for the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2015. Plus we’ve got another world event in November 2012 with the world premiere of The Hobbit.
- Most visitors were here for the rugby! As soon as activity started in FanZones in the afternoons/early evenings, they headed straight there – as a result there were low levels of interest in general sightseeing in the afternoons (this is typical of ‘rugby visitor’ behaviour and we saw similar trends when the Lions toured in 2005).
- Overall, the rugby fans were a delight to deal with – good humoured and had a fair idea of what they wanted to do and when they wanted to do it.
- Everyone loves colourful bunting and flags!
What was the tourism and economic impact?
It’s fair to say, that not everyone was a winner out of RWC 2011. Ultimately visitors to Wellington were here to see rugby matches, but all was definitely not lost.
- A lot of restaurants and bars that put some effort in benefited significantly form the event. Others that didn’t judge the opportunity appropriately or were geographically disadvantaged found the going tough. The location and of restaurants and bars, relative to the Stadium and FanZone definitely had an impact on who did well out of the tournament.
- Many local Wellingtonians chose not to go into the city during RWC 2011. And we also know that a lot of regular business and meeting clientele stalled during the Cup. We have anecdotal feedback that a number of restaurants reported a weaker September/October in 2011 than 2010. While the FanZone was a huge success it did take away business from Wellington’s ”natural FanZone” – Courtenay Place.
- As half of Wellington’s games were played on a Sunday night, this reduced the opportunity to see locals frequenting downtown bars and restaurants on game day (NB: the games were scheduled for Sunday night to satisfy the northern hemisphere television audience and of course it’s in our industry’s interests that exposure was maximised offshore).
- The profile of the visitor was quite different from the DHL British Lions tour, which had far more couples. The RWC 2011 visitor seemed to be more “blokes on tour”. This meant that there was far less of an impact on the retail and high end restaurant sectors.
- In retrospect, the Bedbank that was created to ensure the IRB’s early concerns about hotel infrastructure in New Zealand were never confronted, was significantly over-sized. The number of rooms put aside in every location on every day throughout the tournament was simply far too large and impacted on the normal ebb and flow of the market too much effecting pricing and availability and therefore stifling demand.
- Paymark data suggests that there was good spend in New Zealand by the Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Argentineans and the French – none of that is money from markets we’d have expected in a ‘normal’ September or October, so this is a real positive. The key, as David points out in his blog post on the follow through, is what we do with this now.
- The visiting media loved Wellington!
It’s a word that has been touted a lot during RWC 2011, and there is a legacy from RWC 2011.
- Proud and passionate Wellingtonians who want to volunteer to help visitors and promote this city. The RWC 2011 volunteers were fabulous, enthusiastic and loved what they did. In fact, this was so successful that we’ve snaffled some of them to help out with the cruise season and are integral to the international visitors wonderful experience in Wellington.
- The greater integration and further improved working relationships between all the Wellington entities who helped make RWC 2011 happen.
- The French. If we can establish a long term market out of France, we’ll need operators to brush up on ‘parlez-vous Francais’.
- There are opportunities already arising to try and leverage the New Zealand International SevensTournament to some of these international markets.
Wellington shined during RWC 2011 and we can all pat ourselves on our backs for what was achieved. As a city, we looked great and as a community, we embraced the event, the visitors it brought to our city and the opportunity that it gave us, as Wellingtonians, to celebrate in a nationwide party. And man, we know how to party…
By Sarah Meikle
When was the last time you planned a holiday or short break specifically around food? Chances are, it was very recently. You may not consider yourself a ‘gastronomic tourist’, but you know what, you probably are.
Often travel is motivated by the suggestion of a fab restaurant or dining experience. I know myself, more than once, I have whipped out my smartphone to find out more when a friend has suggested a great new spot to eat. Only recently, with a group of friends, I visited an international destination with the explicit purpose being to enjoy the region’s food and wine. Although three kilos heavier on my return, I was a very happy camper…
Wellington, Culinary Capital of New Zealand
So, what does this mean? It means that if you go into a bar for a drink, they’ll recommend a snazzy (unrelated) restaurant down the road for dinner. In turn, the waitress at the restaurant will suggest this great new place for a killer coffee, where the barista knows this guy who owns a great cocktail bar which you just have to try….
Visa Wellington On a Plate
So yeah, we kicked off in 2009, all guns blazing. The first year we launched with 42 DINE Wellington (lunchtime set menu) partners and 30 Festival Events. We were delighted. But we were even more delighted in 2010 when participation grew to 88 DINE Wellington partners and 75 Festival Events. Now, about to launch into its 3rd year, we are hitting the market with over 100 DINE Wellington partners and over 80 Festival Events.
Visa Wellington On a Plate is now firmly on the national events calendar. We are grateful to our fabulous sponsors for their support and see this event developing for many years to come.
And it’s time to get booking. The Festival starts on 05 August and runs for just over two weeks. Visit VisaWellingtonOnaPlate.com to find out what’s on offer and book a ticket or two. As we say…’fill your plate with everything the Wellington region has to offer’.