Five ways to turn The Hobbit into tourism marketing success
In 2011 we had the big "Men in Black" offering our country the hope of increased numbers for tourism.
The Rugby World Cup brought plenty of hype, promises and pride as a nation; and we wanted to believe that the whole world was watching us.
Truth is, rugby doesn't hold the attention of some of our largest markets (Japan, U.S. China) and the televised games do not show off our biggest assets as a destination: our landscapes.
In 2012 and 2013 the release of "The Hobbit" movies is the next great opportunity. When it comes to wide spread tourism benefit, the little men with hairy feet are going to stomp all over rugby.
While it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of international visitors who have visited New Zealand as a result of the films, after the 2002 and 2003 Lord of the Rings films visitor arrivals in New Zealand rose by 40%, and saw tourism booms in key filming destinations like Queenstown and Matamata.
For New Zealand Tourism, Lord of the Rings is destination marketing which puts our scenery on the map at a scale the Rugby World Cup will never be capable of.
For tourism operators, it's time to get ready: this is a real opportunity that will bring more visitors - and not just to Hobbiton! Filmed across the length of the country, this means a chance to be creative and market your tourism business to those who have made the pilgrimage to Middle Earth.
Don't believe me? Watch this video and tell me you wouldn't be on a plane to New Zealand
With the support of TNZ, who have just announced their intention to work with Warner Brothers and Wingnut Films on a marketing campaign called "Where fantasy meets Reality", the Hobbits stand to be better ambassadors and deliver bigger results for New Zealand tourism than the Rugby World Cup.
5 ways your tourism business can benefit from The Hobbit
- Watch the video and learn of the various filming sites around New Zealand. Are there locations near you? If so, add a page to your website and be sure to have meta tags and text on the page that speak all about The Hobbit.
- Add the video above to your website and Facebook page to help promote the beauty of NZ.
- Work with local tourism operators and create a package around local sites -have fun and be creative with the packages.
- Develop creative Hobbit inspired offers and add-ons, like an evening of Hobbit inspired fare, a souvenir combining your business and an aspect of the films.
- Don't rely on just photos of your accommodation or activity - make sure you include photos on your website that show off the amazing New Zealand scenery that people have seen on the big screen.