The May edition of BayBuzz Digest focuses on marketing Hawke’s Bay (here’s my overview, Does Hawke’s Bay Deliver?). Many luminaries from the region weighed in with their perspectives. Today we feature key institutional players and some voices from the political/public affairs sector. In each case, you can click on the name to read their entire article.

Venture Hawke’s Bay/Michael Wan:
“The Web and digital technologies provide new ways to interact and we want to focus on using innovations in digital marketing to enhance our promotional efforts. Digital marketing will allow us to reach the right people more effectively, to get involved in their planning and research, and help convert that interest into bookings.”

“The industry needs to focus on increased yield in preference to increased volume, and on increased customer satisfaction in preference to increased visitor numbers. Only then will we see true economic growth.” (Read more)

Hawke’s Bay Wine Country Tourism:
“…our visitor industry is showing some serious weaknesses. The recession has hit hard, we are near the bottom in the growth ratings for commercial visitor nights. The growth in our visitor numbers has seen a decline in the past two years, yet other parts of the country are still getting positive growth.”

“Is our message being heard above the rest? Ten years ago, when the Wine Country brand was launched, it was our point of difference. Other regions have upped their game and caught up or overtaken us in the minds of the consumer.  In recent times the regional brand has arguably lacked exposure and support, and consequently has become diluted, being sidelined to varying degrees by separate brands from Napier and Hastings for example. We must return to a strong regional brand, as an umbrella for the sub-regional brands and propositions, be consistent with it and walk the talk.” (Read more)

Mayor Lawrence Yule:
“My criticism of what is happening here is not that people are not trying, it is just the thinking is too small. To some degree all the players are competing with each other.  Some industry members prefer to criticise the efforts of others rather than get stuck in suggesting ideas. We actually need to be competing with other regions and the rest of the world.”

“Hawke’s Bay needs to be marketed, marketed and marketed. Hastings and Napier both have their brands and identities. Both should be protected and enhanced. Our ratepayers may be worried about the money involved in marketing the region. But we have little choice, our competitors are in our face.” (Read more)

Murray Douglas/HB Chamber of Commerce:
“…we may not need to market ourselves. Rather, perhaps we need to spend more effort on creating the employment markets that will in turn attract and hold new migrants.”

“Hawke’s Bay with its strong regional identity, successful people and  pretty good public image has the same ability to leverage these ‘iconic’ assets into marketing. Sure a bit of money would help in the promotion. But let’s not stray too much from what makes our story strong … our people promoting our region.” (Read more)

Wayne Bradshaw/Hastings Councillor:
“Councils must remember that private capital and innovation are the drivers for long-term economic growth and benefits. It is Council’s role is to put in place regulations and rules that protect the environment and foster Community Plans and aspirations, while balancing the need for economic growth to sustain the community itself. This balance is one of the things that needs to be got right.” (Read more)

Simon Nixon/Mayoral aspirant:
“We need to understand why people come here and why they do not. We need to look ahead and determine the likely environment we will be facing in the future, with particular regard to competition from other destinations, and increases in the price of energy and the effect this might have on transport costs. Then we need to look at ourselves from the outside, because that is where our visitors come from.” (Read more)

Tomorrow you’ll hear some views from the Bay’s top marketers and two executives with hands-on experience at “selling” the best of the Bay.

Tom Belford

P.S. You can download a PDF of May BayBuzz Digest here.

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