Feb 19: Dunedin and Waikato join forces

Meet North South, an innovative collaborative marketing initiative, was launched in Wellington this month by Business Events Waikato Convention Bureau and the Dunedin Convention Bureau.

NorthSouth, Meet Waikato

Robyn Grooby, Crane Association of New Zealand; Amanda Graham, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism at the launch

With so many similarities; both with universities and matching venue sizes, one might expect the two regions to be staunch competitors when vying for business events.

However, the concept of working together makes good sense for a number of reasons, says Amanda Graham, business events manager, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism.

‘We are targeting the multi-day association conference market, of up to a maximum of 500 delegates, that have regional rotations. There are lots of similarities between Dunedin and Waikato, particularly the strong university focus, plus enough points of difference to make each region interesting in its own right.’

'We realised that we are both looking in the same market at different times and we saw opportunity to join forces,' adds Nicole Carvell, business events tourism advisor, Enterprise Dunedin.

‘It’s about catering for that north/south rotation and being able to offer a dual-destination solution; it gives us more to promote. We can attract new events collectively and present a fresh approach to city hosting.’

The joint venture also makes sense from a resourcing point of view, says Graham.

'It’s a great opportunity to collaborate on joint marketing, at trade shows and sales events as well as sales calls. This enables us to spend our marketing budget more wisely.

‘Conference organisers are really busy, so this enables them to talk to two regions at one time and consider their north/south rotational conference solutions. We’ve had a great response from PCOs, they say their time is precious,’ she adds.

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) is also supportive, says Graham.

'TNZ is enjoying a lot of success around university business and with the strong university focus in our regions they are really supporting our collaboration.’

This is the first such collaborative marketing initiative for business events in New Zealand.