As part of the Governments COVID-19 recovery plan, Venture Taranaki was awarded funding to progress some key strategic goals to ensure we have a robust, future-ready tourism sector. Venture Taranaki has focussed on three key pillars: Design Thinking; Industry Capability Building and Product Development; and a Domestic Marketing strategy.
Designing the visitor futures of Taranaki
A report prepared by We Create Futures to assist the Taranaki region to question, explore and create change in the tourism sector.
In the report, you will find consumers insights, trends, and key considerations that need to be factored in when developing existing visitor experiences, or looking at new initiatives to attract people to the region.
The development of this report involved us reviewing and reflecting on our regional visitor strengths, ensuring the moving forward, we are able to offer exceptional visitor experiences that the visitor of the future is looking for.
Having a knowledgeable and skilled visitor sector workforce is a critical driver of current and future success and something that we have identified as part of our programme. The reason being that knowledgeable, capable people, create truly like no other visitor experiences, encouraging visitors to share and promote organically their experience in region by word of mouth through friends and family, and showcasing across their own social media channels.
To encourage this, we’re supporting our visitor industry talent, so they can support positive visitor experiences. We have worked on a range of capability workshops, focusing on digital enablement covering topics such as ‘Google my Business’, and of the use of the range of free tools available via Google. Alongside this, we ran a further two workshops covering key tips to maximise the customer experience when searching for and booking visitor experiences in Taranaki.
Beyond our digital workshops, we also ran a cultural and historical workshop, aimed at encouraging the sharing of knowledge around our regional history, and unique stories. Participants were provided with knowledge and insights that can be shared with visitors, including our at times volatile and checkered history during colonial times.
We have identified three drive journey products that will connect Taranaki with multiple regions across the wider North Island/ te Ika a Maui. These journeys will encourage visitor spread and the natural migration of visitors from bridging regions based around a central theme and journey narrative.
The Coastal Arts Trail – in collaboration with Whanganui & Partners and CEDA (Central Economic Development Agency), we have developed an Arts focused drive journey that links all three regions, encouraging visitors from Wellington and beyond. This includes the development of the product, as well as the brand and supporting promotional channels, including a webpage, social channels, and wayfinding signage.
Waikato – Taranaki Drive Journey – in collaboration with Hamilton & Waikato, we are working to identify common themes across both regions to encourage out-of-region visitors. This will include a feasibility study, journey development, brand development, and collateral development.
The Central Drive Journey – in collaboration with Ruapehu and Whanganui, this drive journey will include co-ordination of trail links and information gathered from Whanganui, Taumaranui, Forgotten World Highway, Stratford, New Plymouth and Hāwera.
As we move into phase two of this project we will be looking at a range of existing products and services, along with some new initiatives that we can support and develop to enhance our visitor experiences.
With visitor experiences playing such a critical role in supporting our regional vibrancy and working to attract visitors in region, we will be working to ensure our products complement our long term vision and strategy, and the needs and desires of the visitor of the future, as well as those looking to work and invest in the region. We will be identifying potential product exploration paths and working to support product development with community experts and advocates to bring these products to life.
Promotion of our region continues, with the ability to implement some larger above-the-line activity across billboards, bus backs, and TV. Our focus remains on the domestic market, who have traditionally been where the majority of our visitors have come from. We are utilising this extra investment to increase our reach and awareness, as well as bringing online a new south island growth market/audience through a range of above and below the line activities, including strategic partnerships.