In yesterday’s post, Venture Hawke’s Bay, HB Wine Country Tourism and some of our more political friends talked about how to market Hawke’s Bay.

Today we feature a few of the region’s professional marketers, as well as a two guys who successfully “sell” a couple of the Bay’s leading attractions … Art Deco and Mission Estate Winery.

Here are some excerpts from their observations in the May BayBuzz Digest (click their names to read their entire article.)

Neville Smith/GEON: Hawke’s Bay Is About Events

“In terms of promoting tourism, Hawke’s Bay is about events. BNZ Horse of the Year. Kelt Capital, GEON Art Deco Weekend, Deco Decantered. Mission Concert. Church Road Concert, Harvest Hawke’s Bay. Rugby. Basketball. Golf Masters. Plus business conferences.”

“From the standpoint of promoting economic development, I question whether local government agencies like Venture Hawke’s Bay have the right skills.” (Read more)

Peter Holley/Mission Estate: Need World-Class Products

“The tourism sector therefore needs to develop sustainable tourism products and integrated promotional plans that deliver an exciting tourism offering. Product development needs to be executed in conjunction with service delivery criteria – that is, world class products with internationally accepted service levels.” (Read more)

Kim Thorp/Marketing Exec: Make Hawke’s Bay a More Sexy Destination

“We need a strategy to make Hawke’s Bay much more newsworthy and much more sexy and exciting as a destination. This should be done through a combination of new events that have the potential to attract global attention, and a vibrant PR strategy to make it easier to attract the attention of international travel writers, magazines, blogs and programmes.” (Read more)

Shaun Lines/GROW: Promote What We Are

“It seems that tourism people feel the need to promote something that we would like HB to be, rather than the actual experience on offer here at present.”

“It is a crazy thing but many in the so-called “hospitality” sector just are not very hospitable! Those who let the side down are doing huge damage to the sector and undermine any marketing that is put in place.” (Read more)

Rachel Cornwall/Red Consulting: Seize the Opportunity

“Understand what this region actually has to offer that provides a platform for sustainability and growth. That cannot be sunshine and lifestyle alone … wine and tourism cannot sit at the heart of our core marketing messages. Get to the heart of the commercial drivers and capabilities of this region, and work to its strengths.” (Read more)

Andy Walker/adplus communications: Find the True Difference

“My view is that any organisation marketing a region needs to find the true difference that the region has to offer and drive that a hundred miles deep … and do so in a unique way.”

“There’s something very relevant and unique about every region. Not enough is done to ‘mine’ what that truly is; then often the articulation of it is superficial.” (Read more)

Damon Harvey/Attn! marketing pr: Lack of Cohesiveness

“The biggest risk facing Hawke’s Bay success in capturing tourists is lack of cohesiveness between those that are involved in promoting the Bay. Venture Hawke’s Bay needs to take a lead role, but other councils and tourism organisations need to be in the loop so that their own marketing tactics don’t conflict or mix our point of differences … they should complement each other.” (Read more)

And here again is my overview, Does Hawke’s Bay Deliver?

Tom Belford

P.S. You can download  PDF version of the May Baybuzz Digest here.

Join the Conversation


  1. great debate regarding promoting this wonderful place we are lucky enough to live and work in!!!

    Fragmentation is the problem and co operation is the answer. To many people / organisations make their living out of this issue.

  2. I am no expert but I have done a lot of traveling – more than 30 countries over several years.

    Every country offers its own scenery, attractions, natural sites and monuments but the real pleasure (or otherwise) comes from your interaction with the people. A culture is captured in the people’s happiness, friendliness, honesty, humour, generosity and to a lesser degree looks and dress.

    Define the culture of Hawke’s Bay and cleverly capture the above positive traits (real people) in the marketing messages.

    Come to HB coz your going to meet some great people and have lots of fun !

  3. Most of our regions attempts at development and marketing agencies have had more brand changes than you can poke a stick at. There has never been any consistency and no stickability. Then there is competition between Napier and Hastings, fighting to capture the same market but in different ways, again no consistency, collaboration and confusing messages.
    There is no magic wand but we do need one clear direction for the Bay. Make it easy for people to find us (great marketing and internet strategy), have lots of great events, celebrate the obvious, sell a collective story, work on the attitude of the people in hospitality, extend the runway.

  4. I think some of these flashy marketing ideas are sometimes self serving, fancy pants nonsense. Why do you choose a holiday destination? I almost don't care where I go – It's just gettting away that is important. Cost and hassle associated with getting there are my key criteria. Either it's a cheap flight to the bigger cities, or not too far to drive – Taupo,Rotorua, Wellington at the most. Am I typical? Maybe just give me a website to save a trip to the info centre when I get there – I'm not looking for much else. What do visitors actually want? And remember before you do a survey; what they say and what they do are often worlds apart. Neville is right in that events are the only really definable drawcard.

  5. We have just finished a five week campervanning holiday in the South island and were thinking all the time about comparisons with HB.

    We spoke to many tourists from all ends of the financial spectrum during this time and were dismayed to find only a very few had a) heard of HB; b) intended to go there or even thought of it and c) if they were, it was for two distinct things only-the wine trail, and the cycle trails, with one or two mentioning the Art Deco aspect, although many, when prompted, asked :"is that the REAL NZ?"

    Most tourists went straight to Auckland or Christchurch and moved on from there in various froms of transport. In fact, if the North island was mentioned at all, it was Rotorua which got the most 'hits'.

    This leads us to think that somehow HB misses out as a regional destination when travel plans are made, which surely needs rectifying, and that our greatest strengths lie in the wine and cycle touring aspects. Our observations in the South island support this, and there is a growing market for these two features world-wide.

    So it seems to us that greater promotion of HB is needed nationally/internationally, to encourage people to visit in the first place, and that we must strengthen our wine and cycle tours availabilities so that we hold visitors' interest and that they leave with the feeling that they can recommend this to all their families/friends/acquaintances etc.

    This means speaking with one voice as a region, this means improving accessibility to the Bay, this means improving travel and tourist infrastructures locally, this means getting a rapid decision on the Gisborne-Napier rail line so that it can become either a famous train trip such as the Trans Alpine (and it would as it is most spectacular) or ripping out the tracks if not viable and putting in a cycle rail-trail which would easily outdo that in Cental Otago for reasons of scenic beauty, amazing cyling experiences, superb weather all year round, and closeness to major transport centres.

    That's our two cents worth, but we can't stress enough that time is of the essence if we are to become more major players in the burgeoning tourism stakes.


    Anne and Jeremy Dunningham

  6. My only comment to Anne and Jeremy is that a cycle pathway is essentially the domain of younger tourist often on a tight budget. They have their place in promoting NZ wide open spaces and spectacular scenery to those who do this and return to their homes but with respect would make little contribution to the HB economy and creation of jobs. The cycles are imported for starters.

  7. I like the contribution from Andy Walker (ad plus communications) “If we have an idea to contribute,then drive the idea 100 miles deep”!
    Recently, Artist Sandy Adsett and myself agreed a ‘huge mural” at the H.B Airport,(for starters) to capture the aspirations of all H.B Citizens could attract wider overseas interest,to compliment Art Deco, Wine,Coast,and Rivers.

  8. As a tourist provider, my experience of the marketing forces of Hawke's Bay were not helpful.

    When I first started up I had a meeting with HB Tourism and they told me what they could do for me. Sounded like a load of waffle. What I could do for them was subsidise some visiting Australian travel agents, and clinch an on going relationship where I offered some incentive for them to recommend my restaurant. I declined, and if that wasn't shite enough, a while later an English food critic tells me HB Tourism told him we weren't worth visiting.

    Constantly sales people promoting some marketing product; a food guide, discount club, or tourist map, try to convince you to buy in. Their confidence at how much they'll bring your business is as dazzling as their teeth. It's mostly bullshit.

    If you're a tourist provider be it a homestay, restaurant, winery concert, or The Farm your reputation will depend on the service you give, and the quality/value of whatever you provide. If you're a good operator word of mouth will feed the customer base with no need for marketing.

    Sure linkages are needed, but the most valuable come from connecting with other providers, where services dovetail.

    Reading the expert opinions reminded me of something Edward Bernays said in his last interview. The Ad/Marketing folk will know him as 'the father of PR', a propaganda genius, who applied his uncle, Sigmund Freud's, unconscious desire theory to selling product. He pioneered marketing products to our emotions/desires. Hence one of the contributors saying we need to make Hawke's Bay appear, 'much more sexy.'

    Here's what 100 year old Edward Bernay had to say. 'Everyone has a press agent now, or a media consultant or communications director or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes,' he suggested, 'it seems sort of like having discovered a medicine to cure a disease, and then finding out that so much of it is being administered that people are getting sick from the overdoses.'

    It would be refreshing to see Hawke's Bay marketed by making no claims. 'Everything under the Sun' is simply not true. Hawke's Bay is much more than 'Wine Country.' And the slogans are contradictory.

    Branding, slogans, marketing strategies are all fluff compared to the experience a tourist has on the Gannet Safari, at a winery, or a concert.

    Invest in helping providers achieve mastery and excellence, so visitors have a great time whatever they do, and I reckon tourism will look after itself.

  9. Good rave , Mark, and to the point.
    The Bay needs to create a spectrum of activity packages that aren’t just the usual h0-hum of wandering around looking at art deco etc.
    food packages, trout fishing packages, adrenaline sport packages etc.
    these are available but are left to be marketed usually by the actual operators who only have small budgets.

  10. There are many great ideas up there. Now is the time to get on with the task at hand. More talking, more restructuring etc won't help.

    The economy is still a little slow – this provides an opportunity to do some smart marketing and put together some pitches that will reach different sectors of the market – from upmarket to the budget traveller.

    Further "issues" at Venture HB is an unfortunate distraction, to what should be happening. Lets get smart, proud and tell the world what we have.

  11. Derek Williams-not so in regards to your comment re cycle tourists-all those we met and others I hear about thru my cycle networks indicate that they stay in NZ for many months to cover the whole country and that they are usually ex-professionals from overseas who are taking time out to make big changes in lifestyle or looking to invest in NZ in future. One obvious thing they have in common is wealth. The 'poor' tourists are the el cheapo campervan kids. cheers

  12. With respect Jeremy if your observations are right (did they tell you)it is where do these wealthy cyclist spend their money and what on?

    I speak to cyclist of numerous nationalities at Lake Tutiri who are pre-dominantly under 30 and camp in lightweight tents and sleeping bags and cook packet soup type meals on tiny gass heaters. None have told me they are weathy

    quite the reverse in fact.

    I take with me a box of seasonal fruit for these often interesting people.

    Not much added to the local economy other than some doing seasonal fruit picking work. That is not creating work for NZ residents.

    I do not believe there is justfication for $400m of taxpayers money to be spent on recreational cycleways when the cost benifit ratio has not been quantified with many other important things missing out as government cost cutting runs rampant with more to come.

    Not least are health services, education and trade apprenticeship training.

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