11,000 more reasons to love New Zealand

Securing a sustained, high level of positive exposure for New Zealand in the world’s media is critically important to maintaining and improving our promotion of New Zealand as a visitor destination.

It is hugely satisfying therefore to receive our PR results for the past financial year. They show that we generated a staggering 11,000 stories about New Zealand across digital, print and broadcast media. That’s over 200 stories a week in key visitor markets; a fantastic result for our global PR team working alongside the industry and RTOs.

Our New Zealand stories reached 890 million people via print and 350 million people through TV. If we had to buy that coverage, it would cost an estimated $307 million. To achieve this, we managed 218 hosted media visits through our International Media Programme representing a staggering 550 media outlets and generated news content that was shared via our media website <<media.tourismnewzealand.com>>.  

What makes these latest results particularly satisfying is that we didn’t have a major event such as the Cricket World Cup or activity like the Hobbit to generate mass coverage.

The excellent coverage is the result of strategically focusing our efforts on identifying opportunities that showcase the best New Zealand stories to an international audience, inspiring them to visit.

Ensuring we get great coverage means maximizing opportunities through support of major events, leveraging film tourism opportunities and working with influencers to promote New Zealand.

Highlights from the year include two high impact broadcasts from China. Journey across New Zealand followed a high profile celebrity, Shawn Dou travelling across New Zealand by motorbike which had an estimated advertising value of $30 million. The return visit to New Zealand of Chinese mega star Huang Lei generated 1,280 media articles and 710,000 followers engaged with his New Zealand content.   Both of these celebrities also worked with us to share messages about driving in New Zealand and what visitors need to know about driving safely.    

By being very strategic about who we target and when we target them, we can drive coverage that will drive more spring and autumn travel. By building itineraries that include more than the usual travel hotspots, we are promoting content that is encouraging visitors to experience more regions when they decide to travel here.

As well as appealing to New Zealand’s traditional markets, we are also tapping into what it is that visitors from our emerging markets want to read about and see, to inspire them to visit.

Bollywood’s Sidharth Malhotra who visited New Zealand in October 2015 generated massive interest in India, through the media and through his social media followers. His visit generated more than 1,200 stories across print, online, broadcast and social. The key result from our partnership with Sidharth is that research shows a significant proportion of our target market is now strongly motivated towards New Zealand as a holiday destination.

By generating and distributing our own news content, we know our efforts will be bang on message. As a result of our content generation, for instance, we saw strong coverage in the UK promoting the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour. This was achieved by providing information about the tourism activities in the seven regions where the games will be played, providing supporters with ideas and options for their visit off the field.

The challenge as we progress into a new financial year is to continue to identify the opportunities that will keep our messages fresh and inspiring so that that we continue to tell a story about New Zealand that is so compelling that New Zealand rises to the top of people’s travel list when they consider booking their next holiday.  

This article first appeared in Inside Tourism