The foundations of Maverick started in a hostel in Paraty, on Brazil’s Atlantic Coast – and this was the view from my desk! After leaving Tourism New Zealand’s digital team and heading off on an OE, I began collaborating with a number of operators from across NZ on all things digital. While travelling through South America, my then boyfriend (now husband) and created search-optimized digital content, completed SEO work and worked on social media strategies.
This is what I like to call ‘work-life balance’ – in between work projects, we’d head off spotting pink dolphins in the Amazon, hiking in the Andes and four-wheel driving the Salar de Uyuni. The combination of working in tourism marketing while travelling through exotic places was inspiring, and got me thinking about what NZ tourism really needed from the agency space.
Maverick’s first work trip! We returned to NZ late 2014, and I loved our digital tourism projects so much while travelling that I started Maverick Digital immediately on our arrival. I love surfing and named the agency after one of the world’s biggest breaks – Mavericks in California. Dropping in on a wave at Mavericks is a pretty scary move – just as scary as embracing digital for tourism. We headed to Te Anau and Queenstown to chat to operators about the digital marketing challenges they were facing.
In 2016 we visited Rotorua to famil Tamaki Maori Village and spend time with Lady workshopping her vision for the company’s new website. I took our son Arlo with me. He particularly loved the cultural performance! Meeting with staff, spending time with Doug and understanding the wider impact Tamaki had on Rotorua’s people was eye opening and forged my appreciation for the impact cultural tourism has on the community when it’s done well.
Our client base continued to grow. Soon after my daughter, Heidi was born I headed to Rotorua to catch up with clients (family in tow!) Here we are with Rotorua Duck Tours, next to Lake Tarawera. We’ve worked with Sean, Trevor & team since 2017 and they’re awesome – we love their passion for the guest experience and appetite for leveraging the digital space as much as possible.
Proud as punch exploring Hobbiton with Tim and Kelly – and the start of a really fun and fulfilling client relationship. Our work with Hobbiton is testament that personal connections and customer service is everything. We may be small, but we’re very much capable of achieving results on a really large scale.
Great Escape, mini golf and kicking our heels up to the wee hours. We had so much to celebrate, and we sent 2018 out in style! Highlight of an epic year.
There’s nothing I like talking about more than digital best practice, and how doing it well can have a massive impact on an operator’s bottom line. Tony Boot from BTM and Dylan Rushbrook from Tourism Talent joined me for a week of Tourism Transforming workshops throughout NZ. Me living my passion and helping empower tourism through digital = a very happy Alex!
Kicking off Tourism Bay of Plenty’s website redevelopment with Tim and our Senior Dev, Mike, in Tauranga City. What an incredible region to collaborate with on this kind of a project. I was inspired, proud and beyond excited at the moment this photo was taken.
Now a team of 7, we decided to do team photos that were a little bit quirky, so this year we dressed up in our whites and headed to the bowling club. Possibly the most fun and random photoshoot I’ve ever been a part of. Check out that bunch of good-looking tourism marketing gurus!
Starting and growing Maverick Digital has been hard, and uncomfortable, and challenging; and all the things that start up life is full of (especially with two toddlers in tow). But running this company is also one of the most exciting and fulfilling things in my life to date.
While I love seeing the positive impact we have on our clients’ businesses and organizations, I’m most proud of the hardworking group of Mavericks that I’m lucky enough to call my colleagues. To me, this is success – a smiling, happy, laughing team; full of excitement for the work we do, despite the fact we’re obsessed with driving fiscal results for our clients, which isn’t always easy.