As we prepare for our next period of campaign activity, we thought it worthwhile providing a summary of the post-lockdown activity that we targeted to the Wellington and Manawatu regions in late May and through June.

This activity, broadly known as the ‘Hawke’s Baycation’ campaign, sought to create an overwhelming presence in our target markets just as the interest in domestic holidays and short breaks returned after lockdown.

The target markets had been identified, prior to COVID-19, as being of strategic importance to our region’s visitor economy – particularly Wellington, whose demographic profile and proximity / connectivity to Hawke’s Bay are well matched to the Hawke’s Bay destination experience.

To note, the focus on these target markets has not come at the expense of talking to other region such as Auckland, which were (and are still) being reached through our considerable success in earning free editorial coverage of our region.

For the paid activity, our media booking agency developed a schedule which combined the impact of print and out of home placements (such as bus backs and shopping mall posters) with the frequency and action-oriented focus of radio and digital placements.

The campaign was launched with a high-impact wrap of the Dominion Post, which was widely commended across social media, including the following:

Here’s some more examples of advertising delivered to prospective visitors in Wellington and Manawatu.

All advertising encouraged people to visit our Hawke’s Baycation microsite on, which recorded more than 18,000 pageviews over the five weeks of paid activity. Key to the success of the campaign was the incredible support from you, our member businesses, in creating hot deals and inclusions for our Hawke’s Baycation packages which took pride of place on the campaign microsite.

Unsurprisingly, website traffic to soared during the period of campaign activity – up by nearly 60% on the same period in 2019. Given the paid advertising targeting, website visits by people from Wellington (up 100%) and Palmerston North (up 178%) saw the largest year-on-year increases. But we also saw an incredible increase of 60% from Aucklanders interested in visiting the region – no doubt reflecting the regular stream of editorial coverage, along with unprompted interest in visiting our region.

Talkability about the campaign was also incredibly positive, with plenty of anecdotal feedback provided to us about the effectiveness of our presence and messaging in stimulating interest and conversion of Hawke’s Baycations.

Future activity
Looking forward, the recent announcement of funding to regional tourism organisations via MBIE’s Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP) has allowed Hawke’s Bay Tourism to build in two further significant campaigns into our annual calendar of activity. These are broadly being timed for Spring and Autumn. An opportunity to hear a more complete overview of our annual activity will be advised shortly

As part of our campaign planning, we will also be inviting expressions of interest from tourism operators who would like to consider investing in Hawke’s Bay Tourism campaigns. The aim of this initiative is to enable members to leverage HBT’s investment to increase the impact of their own out-of-region consumer marketing.