In an effort to cut out the middle man and make sure local tourism businesses are reaping the rewards, a Rotorua hospitality provider has created a new website.
Rotorua Association of Motels chairman and owner of Arista of Rotorua and Arista Capri, Mike Gallagher, along with his wife Annemarie, have spent the last 12 months building www.rotoruatouristattractions.nz.
The new website was launched this week and features accommodation, eateries, shopping, river rafting, geothermal parks and everything in between, and with categories such as "whoops it's raining" and "got no car", it also helps to narrow down visitors' requirements.
"Over the years we have numerous guests leave Rotorua disappointed because they had no idea how much there is to do in Rotorua," Mr Gallagher said.
"There are so many cool products to do here so we thought 'how can we create a product that emphasises the message that Rotorua requires more time', enticing tourists to stay longer."
He wanted the website to highlight not only the paying attractions, but also free things like lakes, walks, markets and parks, which encouraged people to stay longer and spend more.
"This product is not only for overseas and domestic visitors, but also for locals who are wanting to experience what attractions Rotorua has to offer," he said.
"Locals have all these amazing attractions on their doorstep, so through discounts in the form of coupons, we are making them accessible for everyone, including visiting our eateries."
He said the other driver behind the concept was keeping profits in Rotorua.
"There's a wave of conglomerates who are very clever at marketing and selling products offshore.
"Although these are often very successful sales channels, these do come at a major cost to tourism and local industry by charging massive commissions where most of the funds are paid to offshore bank accounts therefore avoiding tax and the GST component."
He said the site would be ideal for small tourist operators who did not have a large marketing budget and it also had a Facebook page.
"We have some plans for the next development stage, but wanted to get it launched first and see how it goes."
After a few months they will be asking for feedback from the attractions and then they will be moving forward on to the next phase.
"If the website does generate lots of traffic it will be a great tool for forecasting future short-term tourism by reporting on the volume of coupons downloaded.
"Rotorua has a good thing going at the moment and we need to keep it going," he said.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said her first impression was the site looked user-friendly.
"Recent statistics show us that the modern traveller is 'hyper-informed' and will visit literally hundreds of web pages and sources online before they make their final travel decisions.
"This website provides yet another platform that promotes the region and, along with other established sites like RotoruaNZ.com, Rotorua's strong social media presence and the helpful team at the Rotorua i-Site, all help encourage visitors to stay longer and experience more of the things that we have to offer, which is something that we are all passionate about."