Please distribute to all staff

May 17, 2011

Kia Ora !*FIRSTNAME*!,

There are so many developments happening at Destination Rotorua Marketing (DRTM) at the moment we were keen to give you an update hot off the press.

This update includes opportunities for you to get involved in some exciting projects with great potential exposure to key markets, so please do take the time to read through this bulletin.


Don Gunn
General Manager

Newsletter Feedback

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In This Issue

International Update

James Fitzgerald
International Sales Manager
- DDI: +64 7 351 7108

Australian Campaign

The online Australian Campaign has now been in market for one month and results are tracking along positively. We will send a detailed campaign update in the coming week detailing a number of the key results that have been achieved to date. As of the 11th May more than 22,000 unique visitors had visited the campaign website at

TRENZ 2011 – Any More Product Updates?

TRENZ 2011 is less than a week away. The Rotorua area at the show will have 18 Rotorua businesses represented, and a number more will form part of national stands. With more than 280 buyers expected, our presence and exposure will be strong and we can expect many great results from the event.

In Essence, with all the latest Rotorua news and developments, will be distributed to all buyers at the show. If you have had any product developments that may be of interest to the international travel market but that missed this edition of In Essence, please email them to me:  . We will endeavour to ensure these updates are shared with appropriate audiences.


In the past month, two DRTM-organised famils have used the direct Sydney service to bring in more than 20 industry members from various companies across Australia. As always, the feedback is that Rotorua delivers far more than expected. It is encouraging that these experiences are taken back and shared amongst travel industry professionals in Australia.

Kiwilink USA

I recently represented DRTM and Rotorua at Kiwilink USA, this year held in Seattle. The Tourism New Zealand-organised event attracted more than 130 passionate and committed New Zealand-selling travel agents from across Canada, the USA and Mexico, along with a number of product and media managers from wholesale companies. Most of the agents have Kiwi Specialist accreditation, so for many the chance to talk to people from the regions they sell was hugely beneficial.

While the USA has not grown like some of the Asian markets, there is still huge potential in the short-term with Continental Airlines’ direct flights from Houston starting in 2012, the making of the Hobbit movie in New Zealand and the continuing growth of the cruise market.

TNZ Events Calendar

If you are interested in international opportunities, a good page to monitor for national events and opportunities through Tourism New Zealand can be found here:

Domestic Update

Craig Hammond
Domestic and Events Coordinator
- DDI: +64 7 351 7102

Rotorua AA Promotions

The next wave of Rotorua promotion via AA Travel is now in place. The upcoming Queen’s Birthday issue of AA’s ‘Go See Discover’ EDM, which is distributed to a database of 240,000, will feature the Top 5 family experiences in Rotorua. Supporting this will be Rotorua banner ads on the AA Travel website, as well as a specifically developed Rotorua hub page showcasing the region as an ideal short break destination.

What Are Your RWC Plans?

With not long to go until the start of this major rugby event (9 Sep – 23 Oct), we would like to know what you are doing. If you are planning a special RWC event, or to adopt a second team, provide a rugby specific experience, theme or product, then we want to know and to help you to promote it.

Even if you don’t have anything planned yet but are keen to contribute or get involved with the city’s plans, we want to hear from you.

Contact Renee Nathan from Events and Venues:
E: ; P: 07 351 8338; M: 021992608

NZ Boat Show

Last week I was busy promoting Rotorua to visitors at the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. Once again this show generated a huge amount of interest and I would be surprised if the expected 30,000 attendance was not higher.

Our joint stand with Fish & Game Eastern Region was aimed not only at promoting Rotorua as a holiday destination, but also to specifically target Aucklanders to come down and fish the Rotorua lakes. We were very busy on all four days speaking to a range of people, from families to those passionate about freshwater fishing and even those wanting to try it for the first time. An interesting comment we received time and time again was the amount of dissatisfaction with the Taupo fishery at the moment, providing an opportunity for us to present fishing within Rotorua instead: many will now be heading our way as a result.

Our on-site prize promotion involved a fishing weekend in Rotorua and enabled our stand to be promoted in the official guide handed out to every visitor, as well as being inserted within the NZ Herald. It was an excellent draw card and we took 675 entries, many of which will be added to the domestic database for future direct marketing. This year we also managed to secure a speaking session, with two 30 minute slots per day on stage within the speaking hall to promote freshwater fishing in the Rotorua region.

So once again an excellent consumer show for Rotorua to be promoted at and well worth the effort to be there. A big thanks to the Fish & Game team too; their team did an excellent job on our stand.

Rotorua Convention Bureau

Denise Siviter
Rotorua Convention Bureau Manager
- DDI: +64 7 351 7106

MEETINGS 2011 Update

With six weeks until we welcome the MICE market to Rotorua, things are heating up. It is now confirmed that at least 12 media from Australia and New Zealand will be in town. Our very own media person Jane Hope will be taking time out of her busy schedule to be part of this elite team. A media room is being set up at the Energy Events Centre, and during the quieter times, Jane will have the opportunity to take the media out to see areas of interest to them.

We are also currently working with a travel media company regarding filming on location to air post-MEETINGS 2011 within Australia. More on this to come.

We should have confirmation by the week commencing 23 May of all registered buyers, at which point a more comprehensive update will be issued to Rotorua exhibitors followed by confirmation of familiarisations to operators.

Australia – Highlights

Rotorua Convention Bureau has confirmed its participation in the Association Forum, Brisbane, 27 -28 July. We will be showcasing Rotorua within the NZ area alongside Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. The forum is expected to attract 300–350 delegates from a cross-section of associations, charities, institutes, clubs and societies made up of senior management and board directors. The forum includes an on-site exhibition.

With the follow-on from a busy April, including a number of interstate sales trips, Debbie’s past few weeks have seen a few enquiries emerge about the destination.

Debbie was actually in Rotorua recently to take part in the Marathon - a big congratulations to her for achieving this goal, especially with an injury which now finds her on crutches and having physio.

New Zealand – Highlights

The NZ market appears to have slowed down as we move into winter – a lot can be attributed to RWC and the impact from the Christchurch earthquake. We have seen less enquiries coming through, including familiarisation requests. However, we are confident MEETINGS will have a positive impact on the region and stimulate the market once again.

Rotorua Statistics – CAS – (See Statistics section more detail)

Rotorua's market share of multi-day conferences held in the 10 CAS regions has risen from 9.3% for year ending June 2010 to 10.6% for year ending March 2011. During this period the growth in corporate conferences held in Rotorua exceeded the CAS average, and we also performed well in the ‘association' market. Although the number of association conferences held in Rotorua has been static, there were fewer association conferences held overall in CAS regions, so Rotorua increased its market share.

Autism Spectrum Dinner

Last August, Debbie put together a Rotorua package for the Autism Spectrum Dinner that was auctioned on the night. The winners have recently been to Rotorua and sent this feedback:

“We just want to offer our profuse thanks for the most wonderful and memorable second honeymoon we could have wanted. We have returned to Sydney 'floating' after a holiday that was romantic, thrilling, relaxing and breathtaking all in one. Thank you so much for putting together such a remarkable itinerary. It was a wonderful time that is etched in our memories, and we now look forward to returning with the children in tow.”
Craig and Yvette Middleton 

Te Puia hosts Lawlink

Carol and Carol from Lawlink recently attended a famil of Rotorua. Here they are caught on camera with me at the cooking pot at Te Puia, where our hosts cooked up a treat for lunch straight out of the pot!


One of Rotorua’s key Conference and Incentive personnel has decided to take leave from the industry for a while. Jenny Tukiwhao–Stokes from the Agrodome left last week after 10 years’ service. The Rotorua Convention Bureau wishes her the best in her new endeavours and looks forward to seeing her wherever she next pops up.

Media Update

Jane Hope
Media Advisor
- DDI: +64 7 351 7103

Society of Amercian Travel Writers

At last, after months of negotiations, go rounds and refinements, registration for the Society of American Travel Writers’ (SATW) New Zealand conference has gone live. It’s been reported that within the first 75 hours, 252 people registered, and that 58% of those have signed up for pre and post tours. SATW has confirmed that this is a fantastic response, and one of their strongest registrations to date. 

There is stiff competition for our tours against those to other regions, but with thanks to the operators involved and a substantial contribution from DRTM, we managed to get costs down to very competitive levels. The itineraries are packed full of great activities, so we believe the three tours slated to come to Rotorua should be very attractive options for SATW members. We should get an early indication of numbers towards the end of May, and registration closes mid-June. I will be in touch shortly with all operators involved to make sure we are all teed up to welcome our American friends.

Media Famils

The weather may have turned stormy recently, but that hasn’t deterred the number of media famils requesting to come through at the moment. We are working on seven media famils for this week alone! It’s not just quantity either; we have had some really good contacts and some fantastic opportunities are lined up. Remember, whether you are asked to assist with these famils or not, everyone benefits in the long run from the exposure Rotorua gets both here and abroad. Your continued help on these important promotions is much appreciated.

RWC – Your Plans

I’d like to echo a comment in Craig’s column. We really do want to hear from you if you have any special plans around the Rugby World Cup, whether it’s themed events you’re holding, connections to one of the nations involved - anything. We are looking for great story angles to influence visiting media to our region during the tournament. We are feeding information through to TNZ to help promote Rotorua as the place to be, so anything you have, please feed it through to Renee Nathan (see Craig’s section for contact details).

Getting to Know You!

I’m very aware that I still have not got round to visiting all operators. Trust me, it is my intention to get out to meet you all and see what you have going on, but as the saying goes, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans! Bear with me and I hope to see you at some point soon.

If you have any ideas for media pitches or promotional pushes, please do keep me in the loop.

Key aspects of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Adrian Hodge
Web Development Co-ordinator - DDI: +64 7 351 7105

There are lots of companies out there claiming to guarantee you first page placement in the organic search engine results pages (SERP).

However, it’s not all smoke and mirrors as they might make you think. There are just three main things to get right to achieve the best results for your organic search engine rankings:

Site structure/architecture

  • Ensure your entire website can be readily accessed and crawled by search engine spiders.
  • Make sure you have a good text to code ratio, meaning pages are not bloated with excessive code.
  • Required tags (Title, Metatags, H1) should be defined and unique to each page, using the keywords and key phrases you are wanting to be ranked for.

Quality Content

  • Content should be appropriate, and presented in the right amount and in the right places, for search engines to index and readily interpret.
  • Focus on only one or two primary keywords/key phrases per page.
  • Other relevant sites will want to link to useful content because they think it’s worthwhile.
  • If your intended audience likes it, then the probability is that search engines will too.
  • If pages are updated periodically with new content, then search engines and site visitors will keep coming back for more.

Inbound Links

  • A key aspect of good organic ranking on SERP is quality inbound hyperlinks that link to your website.
  • Enhance a website’s reputation by securing inbound links from thematically relevant and authoritative sites.
  • 60+% of SEO success depends on it.
  • Use key phrases you want to rank for in the linking text, and link to the specific page that has that information.
  • The best link is from a webpage that has a higher page ranking than yours in Google.

link to usWhile many of you are linking to our official Rotorua information website ( already, for which we thank you, we’d love for all of you to link to it. To make this easier, I’ve made a page with multiple linking options:

Next month I’ll talk about using Google Analytics so if you have any specific questions, send them in. If you haven’t got any statistics installed on your website, then I strongly recommend you use this free and highly valuable service.

RTONZ Online Marketing Capabilities Programme

Destination Rotorua is participating in this programme, and Craig Hammond and I attended the first workshop and results report on 27th-28th April.

The Destination Benchmarking programme compares website performance of the 20 participating Regional Tourism Offices (RTO), together with 12 North American destinations of roughly similar size (in terms of population and/or budget) included for an international comparison.

I’m pleased to report that Destination Rotorua performed exceptionally well in these initial reports, placing 5th for social media performance. The only NZ RTOs placed higher were Auckland and Wellington. We also rated higher than any other NZ RTO in the key measure of engagement metrics from our website, which is fantastic.

There were good hands on sessions for marketing and technical aspects and as a result of these, along with a post-review of Rotorua reports, we now have an action plan to improve our current website and social media activity.

The next step in the programme itself is a series of workshops that have been developed around marketing and technology elements that can help RTOs to further improve online and social media effectiveness.

For more information contact me:

Visitor Statistics

Gina George
Research Co-ordinator - DDI: +64 7 351 7109

Rotorua Airport – trans-Tasman Passenger Movements

(Source:  Statistics NZ – External Migration)
Inbound passenger movements from Sydney to Rotorua for the month ending February 2011 were up 3.8% over February 2010 – Australian visitor arrivals were up 46.7% and returning New Zealand residents were down 18.9%. For the same period, outbound passenger movements from Rotorua to Sydney were up 38.5% - Australian visitor departures were up 50.0% and New Zealand resident departures were up 10.0%.

Rotorua Airport – New Zealand Passenger Movements

(Source:  Rotorua International Airport)
Inbound passenger movements from other parts of New Zealand to Rotorua for the month ending February 2011 were up 9.8% over February 2010 - arrivals from Auckland up 38.0%, Wellington down 7.0%, and Christchurch up 17.7%.  For the same period outbound passenger movements from Rotorua to other parts of New Zealand were up 1.6% - departures to Auckland up 15.5%, Wellington down 7.5%, and Christchurch up 4.7%.

Rotorua Commercial Accommodation

(Source:  Statistics NZ - Commercial Accommodation Monitor)
Visitor nights spent in Rotorua commercial accommodation for the month ending February 2011 were down 0.1% over February 2010 (versus -1.5% nationally) - domestic visitor nights were up 18.8% (versus +1.0% nationally) and international visitor nights were down 11.3% (versus -4.0% nationally). For the same period, only the motel sector had increased growth in visitor nights (+8.0%). Rotorua’s other accommodation sectors had negative growth: hotels (-4.3%), holiday parks (-3.1%) and backpackers (-0.9%). View the latest Rotorua Commercial Accommodation Monitor.

Delayed release - The Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM) for period ending March 2011 was due to be released by Statistics New Zealand last week; however the 22 February Christchurch earthquake has delayed its release until late May 2011. 

Rotorua Visiting Friends & Relatives

(Source: APR Consultants – Rotorua Private Homes Monitor)
Visitor nights spent in the private homes of Rotorua residents for the month ending February 2011 were up 4.8% over February 2010 - domestic visitor nights were down 15.2% while international visitor nights were up 49.5%.  View the latest Rotorua Private Homes Monitor.

Rotorua Attractions & Activities

(Source: APR Consultants – Rotorua Attractions & Activities Monitor)
Visits to Rotorua Attraction & Activities Monitor participant businesses for the month ending February 2011 were down 0.9% over February 2010 - domestic visits were down 9.7% while international visits were up 1.0%. The full Rotorua Attractions & Activities Monitor is only available to participant businesses; however summary data is available in the Rotorua Tourism in Focus report

Multi-Day Conventions

(Source:  Covec - Convention Activity Survey)
Rotorua had an 11% market share of multi-day conferences held in New Zealand for the year ending March 2011. Rotorua's 11% market share ranked it fourth after Wellington (26%), Auckland (25%) and Canterbury (14%) and ahead of all resort destinations including Queenstown (9%) and Taupo (6%).  View the latest data from the New Zealand Convention Research Programme.

For more information and/or to subscribe to Rotorua tourism monitors please contact Gina on (07) 351 7109 or  

Destination Management

Sustainability in Action – join in!

The Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter invites you to come and join its members for an exciting, fun-filled afternoon of learning at a function at the Keswick Christian Camp that includes:

  • afternoon tea and networking on arrival;
  • a presentation by Dean Coleman, CEO of Marexim – Sustainable Lighting Solutions on the latest advances in energy efficient domestic, commercial and industrial lighting;
  • a short presentation and site visit by Terry Hammond of Keswick Christian Camp showcasing sustainability actions taken by the business.

Date:     Wednesday 18 May 2011
Time:    1.30pm
Place:   Keswick Christian Camp, 5 Cooper Ave, Owhata, Rotorua

For more information on the Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter please contact Gina on (07) 351 7109 or

Driving to Rotorua from Auckland just got easier

A story that you may have seen in the news recently is that tourists are going to find it much easier to find their way to Rotorua from Auckland from now on. The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has added the city’s name to highway destination signs.

Eight existing green highway signs have been amended and 15 new ones have been installed in a bid to improve access to Rotorua. The new signage begins at the bottom of the Bombay Hills and directs drivers to take the most direct route, along State Highways 2 and 27 through Matamata, then through Tirau and over the Mamaku Range to Rotorua.

Kaye Clark, the NZTA’s State Highway Manager said the signs will provide a boost for tourism in Rotorua.

Events - May 2011

2011 Targa Rotorua

FRI JUN 3, 2011 - SUN JUN 5, 2011
Targa New Zealand is a motorsport event company that organizes the best closed road races on public (tarmac) roads. All of our events are based on... More info

Rotorua Rocks for Christchurch

SAT JUN 4, 2011
Rotorua's about to be ROCKED all in aid of Christchurch. Support this all-ages fundraising event! Luger Boa Black River Drive Sonic Altar Harvest... More info

3D Rotorua Off Road Winter Multisport Festival

SUN JUN 5, 2011
Off-Road Winter Multisports Festival Incorporating: 2011 Australasian Multisport Championship - (in association with Multisport New Zealand) and... More info

Galaxy Travel NDuro Winter MTB Series 2011

SUN JUN 12, 2011
Galaxy Travel NDuro Winter MTB Series 2011 Back for it's 10th year is New Zealand's most popular MTB series on New Zealand's best single track. The... More info

Kevin Bloody Wilson - Excess All Areas World Tour (R18)

MON JUN 20, 2011
THE NAUGHTIEST MAN ON THE PLANET IS BACK! Hot on the heels of a sell-out South African tour, Pacific Entertainment and Both Barrels Music is proud... More info

Rats Winter Duathlon Series

SUN JUN 26, 2011
The Rats Winter Duathlon series is back for 2011. Long course, short course and children's races on offer so bring the whole family. Each involves... More info

The Ten Tenors - Double Platinum

SUN JUN 26, 2011
Most people think that classical and rock music are at opposite ends of the music spectrum. Not these ten. The Double Platinum World Tour and... More info

Rhapsody Rotorua

WED JUN 29, 2011 - FRI JUL 1, 2011
Rhapsody Rotorua is the foremost International Schools Music Festival in New Zealand. With hundreds of participants it offers 3 days of full on... More info


For more information or to check out the latest events, go to

Other News

Grant Kilby Joins Agrodome as CEO

As you may have seen in the media, Agrodome has announced the appointment of Grant Kilby as the company’s new CEO. Grant has extensive marketing and business experience in consumer electronics and telecommunications, and leadership and project management experience in economic development. He has led the development of new initiatives in partnership with business owners, contributed to regional and national economic development through board and management roles and led or contributed to such initiatives as the National Cycleway and National Centre of Cycling Excellence. 

Grant is joining from Rotorua District Council where for the past four years he has been general manager of the Economic Development Unit.

Recipient and sender details

We have collected your contact details. This information is collected to enable us to keep you up to date with tourism news pertinent to the Rotorua tourism market and keep you informed of the activities of the Destination Rotorua Marketing office. We will not disclose your contact details to third parties.

Don Gunn
General Manager
Destination Rotorua Marketing
Private Bag 3007, Rotorua
Phone +64 7 351 7101