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Research highlights ways to attract more visitors

June 2005

Research highlights ways to attract more visitors in quieter months

A market research project has provided Northland’s tourism industry with new insights into what motivates visitors from neighbouring regions to choose their holiday destinations during the shoulder and low seasons.

The research involved Auckland and Waikato residents – Northland’s most frequent domestic visitors – and identified two segments of visitors, named Culture Seekers and Wine and Foodies, which have the potential to bring in more business during the quieter months.

The research findings have already added new dimensions to Northland’s website and media campaigns for this winter, and they will also be used to develop future strategies encourage more New Zealanders to enjoy a winter escape in Northland.

“Tourism is Northland’s second-largest industry but faces the challenge of seasonality – a massive peak in visitor numbers over the summer, followed by a drop-off in the winter months,” explains Kiri Goulter, project manager of the major regional initiative (MRI) Activate Northland.

“This limits the profitability of tourism businesses and therefore their potential to grow, employ and invest.”

Conferences and meetings have previously been identified as one opportunity for Northland, and a separate project is already underway to win a larger share of that market.

Now market research firm Colmar Brunton’s work on the perceptions and motivations of Auckland and Waikato residents will help the tourism industry to attract domestic travellers during the quieter months.

The research found that Northland is the leading New Zealand holiday destination for Auckland and Waikato residents.

The main associations with Northland are summer-based and attractions such as beaches, water activities and swimming become less desirable when the weather turns cooler.

Kiri Goulter said the Culture Seekers and Wine and Foodies identified by the research would come to Northland in greater numbers if there was an increased focus on the heritage and culture of the region, and on real Northland cuisine, including fresh seafood and other local produce such as kumara.

“Culture Seekers are after a destination that is educational and historical, and also has a wide variety of things to do with friendly accommodating people,” she said. “They like a little bit of adventure but in common with Wine and Foodies, they also enjoy heritage trails, historic sites and museums – their definition of culture extends to arts heritage and contemporary experiences.”

ENDS

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