Wānaka Sun       

LWT takes targeted approach to marketing the region

Posted at 8:05pm Wednesday 17 Jun, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

We have all seen the larger than life TV promotions for Queenstown, but Lake Wānaka Tourism (LWT) is taking a more strategic approach towards marketing the Upper Clutha district.

"Why you don't see big TV adverts from us is because we have a strategy specifically targeting skiers," said LWT general manager James Helmore.

"So a lot of what we do you won't see unless you are the target audience.

"With The Mountains Are Waiting (video clip that went live about two weeks ago) we are targeting the ski industry. In marketing speak, you have got to generate the awareness and anticipation to get people inspired, and that's what that release was about."

Helmore said LWT was working closely with the ski areas in terms of messages for the targeted audience.

Then there are a few layers underneath that in the way of social media advertising, he said.

"One example is our email database of about 10,000 New Zealanders that we communicate directly with. We have had a relationship with many of these people for several years."

LWT is a membership-based, incorporated society, with 450+ member businesses. Members are either commercial ratepayers or businesses who pay a subscription levy. LWT is predominantly funded by a tourism levy, determined as a percentage of the commercial and accommodation rate, and collected by council on behalf of LWT.

Helmore said LWT saw the domestic market as "visitors not tourists."

A visitor is someone you welcome into your place whereas a tourist has more of a superficial interaction, he said.

"We have a few layers of work that have been launched or about to be launched for our visitor market, which is essentially the only market we have available to us at this stage.

"We've had a Wānaka Supporting Local campaign which was launched in the lockdown phase, and that was about building pride and a sense of place along with cash flow for businesses. That is something we have never done before. “We are trying to encourage our local community to support local businesses."

There was also an initiative due to roll out soon in conjunction with Destination Queenstown to encourage backyard visitation- inspiring people to come over the hill in either direction and see what the towns had to offer, Helmore said. "We are about to hit go on that.

"Then we have another body of work where we are anticipating the trans-Tasman border opening – and when this happens will depend on what we go into the market with. We have some scenarios in place for that – but it's a wait and see game regarding when this will happen," said Helmore.

"We are targeting with promotions, and our core remit is to attract visitors to the Wānaka region to enjoy what we have to offer. We are doing that predominantly through interest-based messaging and campaigns. For instance, we are attracting people who are interested in skiing – that is a nice easy one, you add in a bit of wine, a bit of retail and a few other activities and it starts to broaden the picture.

"The domestic audience also has a different footprint as to when it travels, how it travels and what it wants to do when it is in the region. Like all the agencies, we are trying to get a really good understanding of what that market looks like."

The desire to travel has changed quite significantly, Helmore said. Three weeks ago there was a fear of 'will I catch COVID and spread it.' Now the confidence to travel has increased quite significantly, and we see that in the numbers that were here over Queens Birthday Weekend. 

“We were up 82 per cent- the fourth or fifth ranking percentage of all the regions in the country.”

Read edition 979 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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