Tourism Network Meeting summary – 1 Mar 2018

It was a relatively small, but very engaged group that attended the first tourism network meeting of the year. Thank you for the enthusiastic input of those who attended. 

An overview of Whanganui and Partners (W&P) purpose, the role of the Strategic Lead: Destination Marketing, and an overview of the roles of Conference Lead and Promotions and the Digital and Online Lead was provided.

The role of W&P is to maximize economic prosperity and opportunities through retaining, growing and attracting businesses and people to the region.

The key role of the Strategic Lead: Destination Marketing is to:

–       Market Whanganui as a destination for visitors, new residents, entrepreneurs, investors, international students, retirees and other target demographic groups.

–       Represent Whanganui and Partners and WDC at all regional tourism and destination meetings and events

–       Establish initiatives to build on existing and attract new visitor/tourism products/businesses to Whanganui, enhance the visitor experience and progress Māori tourism interests.

–       Provide marketing support to assist existing Whanganui based businesses grow.

–       Marketing plan implemented national and international market segments.

–       Marketing plan for business and investment attraction


The key role of the Conference Lead and Promotions is to:

–       Facilitate and encourage visitor, conference and event sector co-operation across all Whanganui venues.

–       Register, develop and maintain relationships with Whanganui conference and event sector providers.

–       Develop, maintain and lead event and conference procurement relationships for Whanganui.

–       Develop, maintain and manage conference and event collateral and resources.


The key role of the Digital and Online Lead is to:

–       Develop, maintain and implement online and social media activity W&P.

–       Manage and provide design requirements for Whanganui and Partners promotion and marketing collateral.

–       Determine online and social media measurement metrics and analytics for Whanganui and Partners reporting.

–       Assist with and implement Destination Marketing activity.

The discussion and comments around this led nicely into the STOP, START, CONTINUE session.


STOP, START, CONTINUE was an exercise to have your suggestions into what you would like W&P to STOP, START and CONTINUE doing. The list generated does not necessarily suggest agreement or that definitive action will take place on every point. This was an opportunity to pass some feedback to us and I found it a useful and instructive exercise. We can talk to points and progress on this at the next get together. Here is the list of thoughts generated:


  1. Falling tourism numbers
  2. Promoting only Whanganui ‘city’ – i.e. promote the wider district as well


  1. Proactive positive promotion
  2. Create a “Visitor Strategy”
  3. Discuss with industry
  4. Audit what visitors are doing
  5. Include a strategy to manage negative comments on social media
  6. Conduct an audit of unique things to do in Whanganui
  7. Develop 1, 2, 3, day itineraries
  8. Etc.
  9. A common story to tell about Whanganui e.g. Maori history/legends, river boat history, etc. Help us to understand who we are, where we are going, what we value.
  10. Annual marketing plan that tourism operators can buy into, including;
  11. Instagram – encourage social media influencers (top instagrammers) to come for a weekend and spend time blitzing #scenery
  12. Talking to Visit Ruapehu about a joint RTO
  13. Champions network
  14. 6 – 7 tourism operators
  15. Small working group to give feedback to Strategic Lead: Destination Marketing on marketing strategy
  16. Engage re: trade shows – which ones to attend and assistance at trade shows
  17. Look at encouraging “Book It” for operators (as i-SITE uses this)
  18. Air BnB experiences and activities – list activities on the Air BnB site
  19. Promote beaches as a walk
  20. Sharing information
  21. Better coordination of events
  22. Improve information for event activities


  1. Support for Vintage Weekend (do more)


  1. Famil of attraction activities made available to accommodation staff and others in tourism related work.
  2. “Whanganui tourism trade show” (for locals)
  3. Internal trade show for those in visitor industry
  4. A chance to hear about and understand each other’s business
  5. District wide accommodation open day – for everyone
  6. Local events, activities, i-SITE
  7. Bus transport location – concern around suitability and safety for passengers
  8. Waimarie – no bus stop available outside office
  9. No info re: i-SITE location allowed!
  10. Near i-SITE
  11. Central city revitalization

There were some side discussions around online booking systems and a few other bits and pieces, however I hope this reflects the discussion. I was facilitating and taking notes so I may have missed some of the points made. Those that were in attendance please get in touch if you have any amendments. There will be an opportunity to make contributions to this at the next meeting.
The meeting was 2 hours in length and while I thought that may be too long, we in fact, ran short on time. I’ll try to keep future meetings to 1 ½ hours.