The winners of a competition so popular that it caused the Rotorua tourism website to crash have been announced as New Zealand's first Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) consumer campaign aimed at Chinese New Zealanders draws to a close.
The 3+2 Love Rotorua campaign has been running for the last two months and Destination Rotorua Marketing (DRM) general manager, Oscar Nathan, says that while the competition has generated unprecedented interest and excitement, the big winner is the region.
"We launched 3+2 Love Rotorua on Valentine's Day, inviting New Zealand Chinese to submit their dream three-day, two-night Rotorua itinerary in one of four categories: Family Fun, Luxury, Romance and Adventure. The prizes for the two winning itineraries were the best of both worlds - two return tickets to China, sponsored by China Southern Airlines, and a Rotorua holiday package."
The two grand prizes were awarded to Shimin Gao from New Zealand and Min Yan from China.
DRM business development manager - Asia, Shelley Huang, says during the competition traffic to the Chinese language version of www.rotorua.co.nz peaked just after the launch, causing DRM to have to expand the site's bandwidth to cope with demand. Interest continued, resulting in over 11,758 visitors to the site in the past eight weeks, a 648 percent increase when compared to the same time period last year.
News of the campaign spread through popular Chinese social media platform Weibo and from the total number of entries received, 15 percent were from mainland China. Website access via mobile devices overall increased by a whopping 4,035 percent during the campaign (827 visits compared to 20 during the same period last year), highlighting the Chinese communities' love for accessing information via mobile technology.
Huang says DRM learnt a lot from the results of the campaign, which showed that Chinese-speaking demographics and interests are changing.
"The majority of entries were from 25-40 year old females with the most popular itineraries featuring family fun, romance and adventure activities with luxury following in a close fourth. The results also showed cuisine is an important part of the Chinese' Rotorua experience, with 18 restaurants mentioned through visitors' own research."
Huang says she is pleased that the competition has helped to reach out to, and educate the 200,000 Chinese living in New Zealand about Rotorua.
"The campaign has helped to shift this market's perceptions of Rotorua by bringing the countless number of activities and experiences our city has to offer to life.
"We hope as a result the knowledge and passion the Chinese have about Rotorua will grow ten-fold as it is shared with family and friends overseas."
Huang says the insights gathered from the 3+2 Love Rotorua competition will now be used to better meet the values and interests of this important market. DRM also plan to utilise Weibo more as a result of its popularity with mainland Chinese during this campaign.
Destination Rotorua Marketing used a variety of Asian media to advertise the competition including www.skykiwi.com and www.istar.com, popular Chinese radio station AM936, The Chinese Herald, The United Chinese Press and World TV Limited.
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