Posts tagged ‘tourism’
While the summer period generally signals boom time for most Kiwi destinations, the balmy season’s arrival is conversely eyed with caution in the capital. December and January generally see the corporate market all but shut down, meaning Wellington’s hotels and restaurants have beds and seats to fill. As well as promote Wellington’s destination brand year-round, our job is to underpin this with tactical activity and events promotion that pushes the quieter seasons such as early summer and the depths of winter.
Summer in the City
With a Kids Stay Free campaign running, Game Masters on at Te Papa and plenty of other events on the summer schedule, the weather wasn’t the only thing hitting record temperature in Wellington this summer. December and January were both record months in terms of commercial guest nights, with an 8.7% growth in the domestic market across the two-month period. Wellington quadrupled the average national growth in December and our partner Hotel Monitor indicated a 7.76% increase in total rooms sold over the Kids Stay Free campaign stay period (15 Dec – 31 Jan). Strong out-of-town crowds for Nitro Circus Live and Hertz Sevens also then saw February hold strong, where usually we’d see a decent dip in year not featuring the biennial New Zealand Festival.
The Winter Forecast
Winter in Wellington isn’t known for its fine weather, but the forecast for tourism is looking very fine thanks to heavy showers of cultural events. From May right through to August there is an incredible performance programme, with NZ Opera’s Madame Butterfly, Wellington Jazz Festival on Cuba, Phantom of the Opera, The TelstraClear Season of Swan Lake, a series of NZSO concerts and Warhol: Immortal at Te Papa. Plus there’s a Bledisloe Cup match and Visa Wellington On a Plate in the mix, before spring brings with it the World of WearableArt Awards Show season.
We are currently planning an online cultural events promotion for winter, along with a TV and online campaign for Warhol: Immortal with Te Papa. The programme for Visa Wellington On a Plate will launch on June 10 and promises to be tastier than ever.
Where to from there?
We are also now getting set to develop the next generation of domestic brand campaign (currently Spoil Yourself in Wellington), with a Request for Proposal (RFP) for creative development and execution currently out in the market. As well as development of the next brand campaign, this process is focused on at the same time integrating solutions to our tactical challenges of Weekends, Winter, Summer and Easter - with a view to a three-year plan. Concurrent to this, we are undertaking updated research into the Domestic tourism market, with a national online survey and focus groups in Auckland and Christchurch. The climate in two of our major domestic target markets has changed significantly since Spoil Yourself in Wellington was developed in 2008. Our research is exploring how these changes in climate have – or, as the case may be, have not - affected the challenges and opportunities for Wellington as the country’s leading domestic short break destination. We are also examining triggers to action and campaign recall of both Wellington and competitor activity. So watch this space!
As with marketing campaigns, it’s important to measure your generated media coverage. Measuring media results helps you to learn what was most effective and push yourself and your team to constantly improve. Tangible results are also key to your case if you want to pitch for increased budget.
What measurement is best?
Media measurement is a well debated topic within the communications industry, and certainly not one on which I’d claim to be an expert. Just like tourism, the PR world is quite fond of acronyms. Here’s a few you might come across in discussions and reports on measurement:
ASR = Advertising Space Rate
AVE = Advertising Value Equivalent (rate card value with a multiplier of between 3-7 applied)
UDV = Unique Daily Visitors
ASA = Average Story Audience
Back in 2010, StopPress.co.nz reported the findings of a nationwide survey into how PR-generated media coverage is most commonly measured. It found more than 60 percent of those measuring PR value used AVE, but 68 percent also said that it should not be the sole method of measurement. One size doesn’t fit all.
Going into bat for ASR
While I’m all up for championing the added value of third party editorial endorsement, we prefer to report on ASR (advertising space rate) rather than the upweighted AVE when measuring coverage of Visa Wellington On a Plate and Positively Wellington Tourism’s monthly media reports. Rate card values are not what most regular advertisers would pay, so in theory there is already a small multiplier built in recognising the added value of editorial. While many in the industry seem to dislike ASR immensely, I contend it’s a more realistic quantitative measurement. We also report on clip numbers and cumulative audience.
Do the costs measure up?
Media monitoring services don’t come cheap and time resource can also be a challenge for small tourism businesses and not-for-profit organisations. But targeted monitoring can return on the investment through evaluating success and driving continuous improvement. Positively Wellington Tourism uses Media Monitors’ online portal to capture and then self-calculate coverage. Such agencies can also provide qualitative reports that examine the quality and sentiment of coverage. While certainly valuable in the corporate and government sectors, this level of analysis is generally beyond the budget of your average tourism business or regional tourism organisation. Your own criticial analysis and reflection on issues is valuable, but in tourism I’d argue the majority of your funds and energy are best directed towards hosting and and building a library of great angles and content.
In the first quarter of 2012/13, Positively Wellington Tourism influenced 382 stories about Wellington as a destination and the Visa Wellington On a Plate festival. These stories had a cumulative audience of 13,826,780 and ASR of $934,914. For further details, read the posts on our June, July and August media report summaries.
What are your thoughts and experiences with measuring your media programmes? Do you use AVE, ASR or NOTA (none of the above)?
Social media and dinner table conversations may have turned from The GFC to The GC in recent times, but the global financial crisis is still very much a reality for Wellington and New Zealand businesses.
As you may have noticed, we are absolutely unashamedly positive about all things Wellington and tourism, but we’re also realists. We get that times are tough, and we are doing our utmost to protect our sector – and in turn the capital’s economy – from those times through constantly analysing, measuring and improving on our tourism and event marketing activity.
The positive news is that Wellington’s tourism industry is still in growth. In fact latest figures last week revealed visitor spend in the region’s economy increased 8% to $1.4 billion last year – that’s $2663 per minute.
Here’s a few other stats charting growth since the GFC began in 2007 through to the end of the last calendar year:
• Commercial guest nights in Wellington city have increased 13% to over 2.1 million. This is ahead of Auckland (12% growth) and Queenstown (1%) and bucking a trend of decline that has seen guest nights in Rotorua fall nearly 8% and Dunedin down almost 2%.
• Rooms sold in Positively Wellington Tourism’s partner hotels have increased 18% since 2007.
• Growth in Australian arrivals to Wellington has been double that of the rest of New Zealand since 2007 (42.6% vs 21.7%). 2011 alone saw 16% growth in Australian arrivals in Wellington, five times the rest of New Zealand growth rate of 3.3%.
This isn’t to say it’s been business as usual for Wellington’s tourism industry. As many of you will know, there has been a rapid change in the market mix, with arrivals to New Zealand from traditional markets of UK, Europe and US really hurting. When we saw this trend emerging, Positively Wellington Tourism began advocating for and secured a partnership-based fund to launch a regional campaign in Australia. Australian arrivals into Wellington have increased 43% since 2007, with last year alone seeing a 16% increase in arrivals. Visits by our trans-Tasman neighbours have been pivotal in keeping our economy afloat.
The key has, and will continue to be, in being nimble, tactical, innovative and working in partnership. The second of our two pop up restaurants in Melbourne last November involved dozens of restaurants, businesses, regions, food producers, wineries and an airline. It reached 9 million through traditional and social media.
Domestically, a ‘back to basics’ strategy was adopted with a ‘3 Nights for Two’ campaign resulting in a record winter both in commercial guest nights and also record bookings through WellingtonNZ.com. As Jamie noted in his recent post, the summertime follow up was not as successful, highlighting the importance of presenting the right offer at the right time. We are in turn exploring new concepts for the coming summer period.
Wellington’s successes certainly aren’t just our own – we are but one of many players in this game. The key is that we’re playing on the same team, constantly reviewing our performances and revising our game plan accordingly. One of the great legacies that will be left in the wake of the challenges we continue to face, will be the tighter strategic partnerships that have evolved between agencies, regions and businesses. What have you done to adapt to the challenges, share your stories and insights with us, or post a comment below.