A marketing alliance set up to ensure the success of the Auckland to Invercargill jet service has proved successful.
Great South partnered with Air New Zealand to deliver the ‘Speechless in Southland’ campaign ahead of the jet service launch in 2019. A re-boot of the campaign this year resulted in a 14% increase in jet passenger ticket sales when compared with a non-campaign period.
The businesses who helped fund the campaigns were the Southern Institute of Technology, Invercargill Airport, Rio Tinto, Invercargill Licensing Trust, SBS Bank and South Port.
Great South general manager tourism and events Bobbi Brown said she was heartened by the local support for the service and impressed with the collaborative effort of local businesses.
“We realised there would need to be a significant marketing push to get the jet here and that’s paid off now.
Ultimately the service was of benefit to all Southlanders, not just the tourism and business sector, Mrs Brown said.
“I regularly receive feedback from both Southlanders and those out of the region, commenting on how great the jet service is and how it’s been a game changer to enable easier access to the region for a multitude of reasons”
The recent second push for the Campaign targeted inbound travellers.
“We focused particularly on Aucklanders wanting to visit friends and family as well as locations on their bucket list like Rakiura Stewart Island,” Mrs Brown said.
In contrast, the initial campaign in 2019 focussed on outbound travel for locals to head north.
“We needed to let Southlanders know that the service was here so they would support it long-term and it looks like they are.”
With the joint campaign now over, Great South would continue marketing the region to visitors, targeting domestic leisure and business travellers in the immediate future and using its unique events to attract people from out of the region to visit.
“We’re heading into what is traditionally a quieter off-peak period, so we are focussing on getting forward bookings confirmed for Spring and Summer. The direct flight from Auckland to Invercargill is an important part of this,” Mrs Brown said.
Air NZ head of tourism and regional affairs Reuben Levermore acknowledged how important the jet service was to the Southland community.
“We enjoy working with Great South and our partners in Southland. We know how much the jet service means to the community and we will continue to work together to realise the opportunities it represents for our customers and the region as a whole.”