Destination Auckland

By Alexander Speirs

Ateed is attempting to engage the domestic travel market, writes Alexander Speirs

The first phase is all about getting Aucklanders behind the campaign.
The first phase is all about getting Aucklanders behind the campaign.

For the first time in 10 years, Auckland is marketing itself to the rest of New Zealand with the launch of "Auckland: The Show Never Stops", an extensive domestic tourism campaign aimed at reinvigorating Auckland as a destination for travellers.

Developed in conjunction with the Heart of the City, the campaign will highlight the transformation Auckland has made to an international quality destination.

Rachael Carroll, General Manager of Destination and Marketing at Ateed, Auckland's economic and events agency explains, "It's not meant to be just the literal shows that we have, although that is certainly a strong substantiator.

"The show is broader than that, it's very much about the full Auckland offer, both the city and urban offer and the great natural landscape that we have out in the region."

The domestic tourism market is an integral part of Auckland's economy, generating $1.3 billion of GDP per annum and supporting more than 50,000 full time jobs across the region.

As part of Auckland's 10-year visitor plan, a target has been set to raise the value of domestic tourism from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $2 billion annually by 2021.

"The national forecast for domestic tourism growth is flat over the next decade," says Carroll. "What we're trying to do is intervene, put this campaign to market, run great events in Auckland and achieve growth."

Ateed reckons that over the past few years, Auckland has transformed into a truly international quality destination. The trick is to make sure people outside Auckland know that.

Auckland has developed a domestic marketing campaign to engage New Zealanders to come to Auckland instead of travelling to other New Zealand cities or offshore.

The domestic market is particularly important during the off-peak season for international tourism, to sustain business and employment. "We really need that domestic market to be successful so that tourism businesses can be successful and operate year-round so that they are able to service international tourists," says Carroll.

Private sector partners will be sought as the campaign moves into a more tactical phase, but at present the focus is on telling the story and developing the Auckland brand.

Partnering with the central business association Heart of the City has been a big win for Ateed says Carroll. "After many years we've been able to achieve a partnership with an aligned view and that means the way we've described Auckland across the rest of New Zealand is promoted in exactly the same cohesive and collaborative way.

"This campaign above any others in the past is going to have a far greater impact."

The campaign is taking a unique approach in its two-phase rollout, with the first phase being exclusively launched to Auckland. "It's really important that we get Aucklanders behind this. We want Aucklanders to be champions for Auckland."

The campaign - which gets under way later this month- will initially be directed at helping Aucklanders know what their city has to offer through a combination of print, outdoor advertising and online marketing.

"It is very much about Aucklanders taking pride in their city and being advocates for Auckland when they're talking to friends and family who live outside Auckland," says Carroll.

In the second phase, launching in early 2014, a television campaign will bolster the marketing push as domestic travellers in the primary drive markets of Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty are targeted in addition to the fly-in markets of greater Wellington and Christchurch.

These are the areas with the highest visitation to Auckland and the highest spend while in Auckland. The campaign will target 25-55-year-old couples with or without children as well as professionals and active travellers.

Currently 56 per cent of all hotel nights in Auckland are domestic - 25 per cent come to visit friends and relatives, 16 per cent for business, 13 per cent for events and 11 per cent for leisure. Auckland is the most visited domestic destination though the length of stay is traditionally short.

"Auckland should be the big city for the rest of New Zealand," says Carroll. "With the size and scale, it's our international-facing city and if we can have New Zealanders speaking with pride about Auckland, we will have done our job."

To find out more about Auckland's "amazing show" visit: AucklandNZ.com

- NZ Herald

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