International tourism during the pandemic ground to a halt. What have you and the team here in Australia been working on since travel between Australia and NZ ceased
We recently invited the world to PLAY NZ
, an open world-style gaming experience that lets Australians travel across the Tasman virtually to preview what New Zealand has to offer. The gamified PLAY NZ film is the first time a tourism body has developed a virtual walk through film for tourism, and was created to keep potential travellers engaged ahead of the trans-Tasman travel zone.
To bring it to life, we partnered with Twitch, YouTube, actor Julian Dennison, social media content creator William Waiirua, and cultural influencers from the gaming community to market the country.
What lessons have you and the Tourism New Zealand team learnt in terms of agility and responsiveness that you'll take into the post-travel lockdown environment?
The past few months have seen incredibly challenging operating conditions across New Zealand and Australia. In saying that, we’re presented with a unique opportunity while our borders are temporarily closed to rethink the entire way we approach tourism. This means ensuring tourism makes New Zealand a sustainable place, enriches the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a sector which is financially self-sustaining in the longer term.
Tourism NZ has a globally recognised and award-winning brand, how would you describe it, and how do you think it will evolve post pandemic?
New Zealand has a rich history and, in fact, it’s the oldest national tourism organisation in the world. The 100% Pure New Zealand marketing campaign is now two decades old and has evolved over the years, from 100% Pure Choice, to 100% Middle-earth, and 100% Pure Welcome.
In May this year we launched Pure Promise, a global campaign underneath the 100 per cent Pure umbrella, which focused on reconnecting with friends and past visitors around the world to share a reflection on what is important in life. The legacy of the 100% Pure campaign will continue to evolve post-pandemic, and we’re really excited for what the next few years will bring. Watch this space for some exciting work we’ll be launching in 2021.
What are the key messages communicators and travel marketers really need to be thinking about to get people to their destinations in this very changed world?
Thinking about the consumer in context is key - whether that is for destination marketing or otherwise.
For example, we originally planned to launch PLAY NZ back in 2019, but it was a case of the right idea at the wrong time. When we found ourselves in lockdown twelve months later in 2020, the rise of screen time and gaming created the perfect time to launch PLAY NZ.
For destination marketers there’s no doubt 2021 will be equal parts challenging and exciting, but ensuring your audience is at the core of your work is vital.
When thinking about communications and marketing strategies to get people travelling across the Tasman, how important will "traditional" earned media be compared to using newer channels like owned and paid influencers?
The power of traditional earned media is invaluable. Our communications and PR activity in Australia is focused on telling New Zealand stories that build brand love and drive visitation, and working with traditional media - from newspapers, to online content and television broadcasts - is key to achieving this.
A really important take out is we have been given an opportunity to create a tourism system that is world leading - one that truly gives back more than it takes. Many operators are already doing things in this space and more are being encouraged to look at how they can support regeneration - making sure that for every customer, there is some kind of by-product benefit on the environment as a consequence. Regenerative tourism will be a key narrative for us in the future and beyond.