The campaign was part of Tourism New Zealand’s regional dispersal strategy designed to test and refine techniques for marketing less-visited regions.
“The pilot was the first Tourism New Zealand campaign focused on a single region to test whether we can influence a shift in travel patterns toward our less visited regions,” says Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen England-Hall.
“We are focused on encouraging more international visitors to the regions to share the economic benefits tourism delivers. The results of this test proved that yes we can and will be incorporated into our future work, as well as shared with industry to support theirs.”
Through a number of data sources, Tourism New Zealand tracked increases in arrivals and spend into Northland from the Australian state of Victoria that outstripped growth from the rest of Australia.
On the back of the results Tourism New Zealand is planning to run a second campaign focused on Northland and another campaign in the South Island.
“International visitors are spending around $40 million every day, which delivers significant benefits to communities across New Zealand. Visitors spend locally as they travel across the country through accommodation and activities such as buying meals, renting cars, visiting attractions, or equipment,” says Stephen.
“Tourism also provides significant employment in New Zealand, with one in ten people employed in the industry. It’s one of the country’s biggest employers and for some communities like Northland, this is essential.
“It is fantastic to see that with specific, targeted partnership activity we can direct the consumer into our lesser visited regions, helping more regions to benefit from tourism.”
The Northland campaign ran for a two-month period from late January to March 2017 reaching 1.5 million Australians in the State of Victoria.
The campaign was run in conjunction with Northland Inc, Facebook, Flight Centre and Air New Zealand.
It featured Facebook and outdoor advertising showcasing iconic Northland scenes such as Tane Mahuta and the Bay of Islands, and was backed up by trade and PR activities.
Northland was selected for this test campaign due to its proximity to the Auckland international gateway and the range of visitor experiences that fit with the wider New Zealand marketing campaign.
Campaign partner, Flight Centre reported a 40 per cent increase in passengers booked to Northland.
Facebook observed a six per cent increase in visitors to Northland from Victoria after exposure to Northland advertising on Facebook for the period of March – May 2017. This lift was observed against a representative control group who saw no ads.
In addition, total arrivals from the State of Victoria across New Zealand were up 18 per cent for the same period, showing that the regional campaign benefitted not just Northland but all of New Zealand.
Spend by Victorian credit cards in Northland was up 18.2 per cent, compared with rest of Australia cards in Northland up 3.6 per cent.