City ‘Plan D’ campaign bears fruit

A marketing  campaign labelling Dunedin as "A Pretty Good Plan D" for visitors has indeed proved pretty good, some local businesses say.

The self-deprecating campaign was launched by Enterprise Dunedin last May, at a cost of $150,000, in a bid to attract domestic tourists to the city despite it not having been their first choice.

Larnach Castle marketing manager Deborah Price said it had noticed increased visitation as a result of the campaign.

"Plan D helped get Dunedin in front of people that might not have thought about it ... It got people talking.

"It is hard to quantify, but we had a lot of visitors, predominantly from the North Island, and Plan D definitely helped to get them here, I think."

While Larnach Castle’s turnover was down 70% since March last year, domestic visits in December were up 100% on the corresponding time in 2019.

More than 60% of visitors were from the North Island.

"Our gate sales were only down 38% over the holidays because Kiwis made up for other visitors that would normally come.

"We are happy to see that, but you can still see the impact of no international visitors."

While Larnach Castle was cautious about the future, it hoped campaigns similar to Plan D would continue, Ms Price said.

Olveston Historic Home manager Jan Davies said she had appreciated the campaign.

"It was a campaign that caught your eye."


Photo: Philip Hill
Photo: Philip Hill
While she could not make a direct link between visitation numbers and the Plan D campaign, visitors to the historic home had been steady throughout the holiday period.

"We marketed throughout the country and we saw the results of that over Christmas. It doesn’t compare to when borders are open, but we certainly were supported by people."

Many visitors were from Auckland, but others came from across the country, she said.

"We’ve certainly had visits from the national market.

"It’s been steady but wouldn’t cover what we would have if borders had been open."

Enterprise Dunedin city marketing manager Malcolm Anderson said while a final summary of the campaign was not available yet, it received good feedback from local tourism businesses which received visitors as a result of the campaign.

"Referrals to local tourism operators from the DunedinNZ website reached 48%."

Mr Anderson said the initial phase of the campaign was about awareness of Dunedin’s offering as a domestic visitor destination, and based on initial research results, media coverage, social media and website engagement, results appeared "favourable".

More specific data was expected to be available by June.

Enterprise Dunedin was working through a refresh of the campaign to encourage more New Zealanders to visit Dunedin.

"Work is also in progress to prepare for when borders to Australia open."

Central government support was also driving the development of some projects which would add to Dunedin’s tourism offering, he said.



Seems to me it's advertising for Larnach castle, how is the story promoting Dunedin?.







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