• Gisborne Tairawhiti

Driving awareness and preference for Gisborne as a domestic travel destination.

Gisborne Tairawhiti is the first place in the first country to see the first light. How’s that for a sales pitch? This beautiful region sits on the eastern edge of New Zealand’s North Island and is the first spot in the world to welcome each day’s sunrise.  

Already well-known domestically due to Rhythm and Vines, Gisborne was looking to lift awareness and drive a more holistic, unique vision of their region amongst potential domestic visitors. With barriers to travel including distance and a lack of understanding of the variation of experiences on offer, the Gisborne team turned to the digital space – and the Maverick Digital team – to overcome these visitor perceptions and drive arrivals during late summer/early Autumn. 

Destination marketing approach 

Previous consumer research that had been carried out had identified two key groups to whom the Gisborne value proposition would appeal.  

1. Young Adventure Seekers

2. Cultural Explorers

We then devised a strategy using Paid, Owned and Earned media to expand and enrich Gisborne Tairawhiti’s brand awareness as a holiday destination. By using multiple media channels, we were able to reach these identified consumers and spread cohesive brand messages throughout the non-linear online travel decision making process. 

5% growth, DOM visitor spend 
9.2% growth, INT visitor spend

YOY during campaign period


The paid media content was focused around ‘My Gisborne Holiday Diaries’, and this message was then used to show the audience why they should travel to Gisborne, and the unique experiences they too will be able to enjoy if they do.  

Footage was shot across a wide range of core Gisborne tourism products and experiences – including Dive Tatapouri and Gisborne Railbike Adventures with commentary overlaid surrounding Gisborne holiday highlights. Content for Young Adventure Seekers surrounded adventurous, physical activities, whereas Cultural Explorers had content focused on cultural, and food-related tours.   

This content was promoted to the two traveler groups via strategic digital platforms which contribute to the travel research and booking process; including YouTube, Google Search, Google Display, Facebook and Instagram. The goal was to nurture the user through the online travel research and booking conversion funnel so they committed to a Gisborne holiday.  


Once the user clicked on an ad from the paid media activity, they were brought to the owned media portion of the campaign. Without a landing experience that is powerful and engaging enough to make an impact, the whole campaign purpose is defeated – which is why we worked so hard to create an on-site land with impact.  

Users were taken to a campaign landing hub within the Tairāwhiti site, one for Young Adventure Seekers and one for Cultural Explorers. Here they were asked if they would like to download a ‘Guide to Gisborne’s local secrets’ to help the Gisborne travel planning process. After downloading this guide, users had the option to explore three different relevant content pages, surrounding itinerary guides, top Instagram spots and key dining spots in the region.  


Earned media was the final element of the strategy, and was used to complement the wider message with stories and narratives following the experiences and activities on offer in Gisborne. Once again, the coverage solicited was different for the Young Adventure Seekers and Cultural Explorers, as we wanted to ensure everything was tailored to reach each traveler group.   

Young Adventure Seekers were reached using the influencer Simone Anderson, who visited the region in January 2019. This saw huge success with average post engagements of 5,000 – 10,000.  

Cultural Explorers were targeted with stories in Stuff, The Sunday Star Times and on Stuff’s Facebook page via the journalists and videographers from On Flight Mode.

Campaign Success  

The holistic yet digital-centric approach to this campaign gave it an edge, helping regional messaging cut-through a cluttered advertising marketplace. The combined use of paid, owned and earned media meant that users saw the Gisborne value proposition in a number of different places as the audience moved through the travel planning process 

While we don’t credit this campaign entirely for the following spend numbers, we were extremely pleased to see visitor behaviour moving in the right direction.  

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