A month ago we launched our Hawke's Baycation campaign to the Wellington, Kapiti, Manawatu and Whanganui markets.
It was a bold move, investing so much time and energy into what is essentially one market. It was also a strategic move – create more noise, in a less competitive market, that is only a half a day's drive away. It made sense to us.
• Hamish Saxton announced as new head of Hawke's Bay Tourism
• Transtasman bubble seen as a 'lifeline' for Hawke's Bay tourism industry
• Hamish Saxton: Events drive critical mass of tourism needed to revive Hawke's Bay
• Opinion: Hawke's Bay poised to be one of NZ's best-placed regions to recover
But we did not pull out of all other markets to do this. It was critical that we didn't.
Auckland, as New Zealand's largest centre and business hub, cannot simply be ignored. Neither can smaller regions, or Christchurch for that matter, with whom we share a direct flight path.
If we want to compete for our share of the domestic tourism pie, then we need to ensure that we talk to as many people as possible ... and this is where media and public relations comes in.
Whether you're active on social media or a keen consumer of traditional media, you will have hopefully noticed an increased in Hawke's Bay's presence on a national stage.
A great example of this was last Tuesday's New Zealand Herald and NZME Travel Magazine which had countless mentions of Hawke's Bay or Hawke's Bay businesses throughout the supplement.
Media and P.R. – and specifically media "famils" – are a vital part of our toolkit in promoting travel to Hawke's Bay.
By working with travel writers to showcase the very best this region has to offer and giving them a first-hand experience, we build recognition, awareness and ultimately coverage of Hawke's Bay.
When a journalist writes an article about anything – be it a restaurant, accommodation provider, retreat, experience or even a region as a whole – it is like word of mouth on steroids.
While you and I might tell three of our friends about a wonderful trip away, a journalist will tell hundreds of thousands.
What's more, a good travel writer is viewed by their audience as an authority on all things travel. They are an authentic expert; an independent "tester" who has travelled, discovered, tried and subsequently provided an honest review.
By working with exceptional travel writers and respected media outlets we boost the recognition and appeal of Hawke's Bay. We connect with new audiences and encourage them to dream and research a potential trip, or add our destinations to their bucket list.
There is an art to it – choosing the right journalist for the right experience is critical, as is ensuring fascinating stories are waiting to be discovered. Thankfully, our region is full of incredible people doing amazing things, which is an excellent place to start.
However, it should also be noted that we could never achieve the results that we do without the invaluable support from our association members.
In the meantime, if you see our Media and Public Relations Manager in the arrivals hall at Hawke's Bay Airport, you'll know what is in store ... another journalist, another story and more people dreaming about and hopefully visiting Hawke's Bay.