A new initiative allowing travellers to create their own Rotorua experience has been introduced to help boost the city's tourism industry.
Rotorua Association of Motels chairman Mike Gallagher has relaunched Rotorua Tourist Attractions, which was originally developed about four years ago as a coupon download website.
The newly relaunched website has been developed into a click-and-go voucher system for the primary purpose of displaying multiple product offerings on a single platform.
People can choose from a range of activities to create their own experience or gift it to a family member, employee or friend.
Gallagher said the online initiative brings together local experiences and attractions into a "one-stop shop".
By encouraging people to buy the experiences as a gift, Gallagher said he expected voucher sales to increase, providing businesses with much-needed cashflow post-Covid-19 lockdown.
Customers can also use the website as a budgeting tool so families can plan their experience and arrive at their destination knowing everything has been paid, he said.
Gallagher said the online initiative acts as a sales tool for tourist attractions.
"We're not promoting it as a discount tool but instead a one-stop shop of their product offerings all year round."
He said he had been working on the initiative for a few years but Covid-19 was a "major push" to get the website up and running.
"It has taken off now it has launched."
More than 70 packages of local activities, accommodation and restaurants feature on the site, with many other operators showing interest.
But Gallagher said he would widen the offerings to tourist attractions outside the region if demand was there.
"I just wanted to focus on Rotorua at the moment because it needs that extra help.
"It gives those businesses that might not have the marketing budget the opportunity to get their offerings out there."
Shopping local was important for the region's tourism industry post lockdown, he said.
"It's vital for a lot of local tourism operators to get their offerings out there to increase cashflow."
Gallagher said the website was handy for locals to use and take advantage of mid-week deals and was a great opportunity for smaller tourism operators to showcase their products.
"As tourism operators come up with new products these can be promoted instantly."
The system has been built on top of the STAAH industry-leading cloud-based, Gift Voucher Software and customised to the tourism industry to streamline the customer journey.
STAAH head of marketing Edwin Saldanha said the pandemic had certainly rewired consumer preferences as they sought out local experiences.
"Gift vouchers are a way for operators to monetise this preference and build a much-needed revenue stream that brings in an instant cash injection."
The software is a tool kit for tourism operators to log into their own portal and manage product offerings.
Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park's Jared and Jasmine Adams have signed up to promote their business on the new website.
Jasmine said it was a "no-brainer" to sign up.
"I've seen all the work Mike has done for the Rotorua tourism industry for years," she said.
"I think he is an amazing advocate for our industry. He's not clipping the ticket, he's really doing this for the promotion of our city which I think is quite admirable."
She said the initiative helped to get Kiwis out exploring their own backyard.
"I think a lot of New Zealand business operators are grateful, I know we are, for the domestic market. It's important to remind them of what we have on offer."
Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button said initiatives like this were important.
"I love it because Mike has created a platform to try to encourage more visitation to Rotorua using the various brands to do that.
"It's also amazing he doesn't have a discount focus. His commission structure is incredibly low. It is 100 per cent to better the community."
Button said the business was running at 50 per cent below last year and it was noticing the lack of international tourists heading into summer.
"Every day is tough. But we work as hard as we can to make every day work. It's a battle, we are in the trenches ... We are doing everything we can to create sales."
So any awareness to promote tourism was a good thing, he said.
Destination Rotorua's interim chief executive, Andrew Wilson, said he had seen many new ideas come to life this year as businesses explored new ways of reaching their customers.
"Any locally-owned website that makes it easy for potential visitors to find out how much there is to do in Rotorua will be appreciated by the local visitor, accommodation and hospitality industries."