Upon moving to New Zealand I remember pondering as to where the division between hospitality and tourism begins and ends. Thinking back I think these thoughts may have been prompted by having to classify your ‘sector’ on Linkedin. Coming from the UK, I would suggest that as a hotelier or restauranter you would have almost certainly consider yourself part of the hospitality industry; however in New Zealand I would many hoteliers would consider themselves part of the tourism industry.
In the past few weeks, I have again been contemplating the relationship between tourism and hospitality. This time the catalyst for these thoughts has come through my recent participation as a panelist in the Brand and Marketing seminar at The Restaurant and Bar Show. One of the key themes around seminars at the Restaurant and Bar Show was the Rugby World Cup and in particularly how restaurants and bars can make the most out of this fast approaching event. Of course many of the seminars were tailored towards what you can and can’t do in terms of the strict licencing of the RWC brand, ours was more orientated towards ways to promote and market your business as well as using the opportunity for brand awareness.
Upon speaking to Auckland Restauranter and fellow panelist, Luke Dallow, it became clear that both of us wanted to ensure what we delivered gave advice and thoughts around branding and marketing that would flow on beyond RWC 2011. Within the run up to the event, I conversed with a number of restaurant and bar owners. There is a clear distinction between those restaurants in key tourist resorts like Queenstown from those in destinations that rely more heavily on local traffic, such as Dunedin. Those in tourist resorts often seem to heavily promote themselves, whilst I would suggest that many outside of these areas don’t market themselves well, if at all.
Interestingly, for a large number of restaurant and bar owners outside the main tourist hotspots, I see that the Rugby World Cup has simply acted as an awakening, encouraging them to realise the potential in the tourism market. Whilst I understand that not all restaurants will receive a large number of tourists, there are certainly some low cost ways that these businesses can ensure they are, at least, on the radar of passing tourists.
For restaurants and bars who may not have seen themselves as a tourism operator until now, a good starting point is to contact your regional tourism organisation. It is important to know that the set-up of regional tourism organisations differs across New Zealand, with some being membership based, some being funded through your rates and others you may have to pay for services. You can find their details of your regional tourism organisation by following this link.
Here are a few ways that they may be able to help you;
- Connect you with marketing groups
- Advise you about the tourism market in your area.
- List your restaurant or bar to be listed on their website.
- Providing training and updates.
- Adding you to their databases, so you receive updates and information on upcoming opportunities.
What I’ve come to realise is that by putting a label on your sector, sometimes you may be closing doors. By embracing that your business is in the tourism and hospitality industry, you could well be seeing more people through your door! With around 2.5 million tourists visiting New Zealand yearly, the 85,000 visitors for the Rugby World Cup is the tip of the iceberg; don’t let the Rugby World Cup be the be all and end all for your restaurant or bar, use it as the prompt that helped you to realise the potential in international and domestic visitors.
I hope you found this blog post useful and as always please feel free to leave your own experiences or any comments. Make sure you rate the blog so I know whether you found it helpful. If you did – retweet it, to share it with others.