The tourism industry is ever-changing.
But one thing always remains true: you have to stand out to succeed. Providing a unique point of difference is a challenge which energises us.
It’s about analysing dynamic markets, identifying a niche, optimising the visitor experience, developing a robust and balanced business plan, and continually nurturing and optimising the business. These are some of the keys of ongoing sustainability and growth. Our specialist experience and knowledge helps tourism-based organisations to flourish.
Our specialist experience and knowledge help tourism-based organisations to flourish. The services we offer to achieve this include:
DOMESTIC TOURISM & COMMERCIAL LEISURE
Developing quality domestic visitor products can lay a solid foundation for any tourism business. We have an extensive track record of researching, conceptualising and bringing to market a range of successful domestically focused tourism experiences.
We work with clients to develop visionary, yet achievable, strategies. Your objectives might lie in economic growth, sustainability, securing niche markets or improving the quality of the visitor experience. Our knowledge and experience will help you set and achieve the right targets.
Understanding current and future market trends is essential to success. High quality market research leads to better economic and facility-development decisions. It lets you conceptualise and test products or experiences. It can clarify the business case and uncover added value.
FEASIBILITY STUDIES & BUSINESS CASES
Our objective, holistic advice and proven approaches deliver a comprehensively better understanding of your potential opportunities. We can test and underpin investment concepts and decisions, test development approaches, apply independent financial scrutiny, and optimise facility development and operational performance. So you’ll know you’re on the correct development path and it can be implemented.
Determining the financial viability of a proposed experience or development is essential. Our business planning will help you develop optimal staging, undertake operational and revenue stream analysis, analyse cash flow, and plan expansion and exit options.
Our experience will help bring real depth to your analyses of the wider tourism market. Letting you evaluate potential local, regional, national and international competitors, threats and opportunities.
ECO, CULTURAL AND HERITAGE TOURISM AND INTEPRETATION
Working in these sectors requires understanding and insight, balancing sometimes competing pressures. Our substantial experience of working with multiple agencies and organisations to develop cultural, environmental and heritage concepts is invaluable. Especially our expertise in managing the relationship between tourism and culture.
MARKET NICHE ANALYSIS AND MARKET POSITIONING
We are experts at interpreting market research and competitor analysis to identify viable market niches that are also environmentally and culturally appropriate.
CONCEPT AND MASTER PLANNING
We provide objective, expert advice on optimising tourism open space, site and facility design. Resulting in improved functionality, reduced operational costs and increased revenue.
FUNDING & COMMERICAL SOLUTIONS
We can investigate and advise on funding, procurement, maximising commercial opportunities and new income streams.
GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES
Building better organisational capability is the sure way to deliver on your short and long-term strategic goals. We can help to conceptualise, establish, review and/or optimise organisational structures – at board, management and operational level – to create the organisation you need.
Hobbiton Site and Experience Optimisation Analysis
The Lord of the Rings movie set in the small town of Matamata is now New Zealand’s third largest tourist destination, bringing in around $78m to the Matamata-Piako district annually and tourists from around the globe.
Visitor Solutions has worked with the Hobbiton site since soon after its inception. For this current project we were commissioned to conduct research on behalf of the Hobbiton Movie Set management team and board. The research aimed to better understand visitor perceptions and behaviour when visiting the Hobbiton precinct and Shire’s Rest during one of the attraction’s peak visitation periods. Several recommendations were suggested on the site’s visitor flows, guides and key areas both on-site and back of house. Visitor Solutions also assisted with the development planning for facilities such as the Hobbiton shop.
When the movie set was rebuilt for The Hobbit, a joint venture was formed between the Hobbiton movie set and Peter Jackson himself. The site went from 25,000 visitors per year to 600,000 visitors per year.
Te Puia Redevelopment
Te Puia — formerly The NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute — was created by an act of parliament to protect, preserve and perpetuate Maori arts, crafts and culture through the vehicle of tourism. It is Australasia’s largest cultural tourism business and an icon of New Zealand tourism.
Significantly, Te Puia is required to be self-sufficient and not rely on government support. By managing an effective tourism business it is able to generate significant revenues to fund the cultural development of Maori arts and crafts.
Te Puia’s $23 million redevelopment was the largest ever in New Zealand cultural tourism.
The process for the redevelopment involved many months of meetings with cultural elders, architects, designers, interpretation specialists and, of course, the local people.
The care and attention that was put into this process was recognized on completion, with a national architects’ award for cultural design and an international award for interpreting cultural stories using technologies, presented in Venice.
Te Puia shows Visitor Solutions can help develop well-thought-out project structuring, functional tourism design and site planning solutions which preserve and perpetuate a culture without ever compromising its authenticity.
Te Rerenga Wairua
Te Rerenga Wairua is a wahi tapu, a sacred site, and is regarded by Maori as one of the most culturally significant places in Aotearoa. The New Zealand Government considers it one of the top four historical sites in the country.
The Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri peoples are the acknowledged kaitiaki, or guardians, for Te Rerenga Wairua. They have the cultural responsibility to ensure the area is protected from inappropriate developments and environmental degradation, and that the site is respected by visitors. The site’s historic lighthouse has also become a visual icon for both Northland and New Zealand.
Since 2000, a culturally appropriate restoration and redevelopment of the site has been under way, in a partnership of related businesses, iwi, the Department of Conservation and Council. Safeguarding the spiritual and historical integrity of the site and its internationally unique ecology is of the utmost importance.
Work completed to date has included visitor research, two feasibility studies, site planning, community consultation, visitor facility concept development and the formation of a project control group (PCG). Visitor Solutions was also a member of the project’s project control group.
Stage one of the project (car park, tracks and environmental restoration) won the Master Builders Association National Tourism and Leisure Gold award, and the Best in Category award in 2009.
Hokianga Cultural Tourism Feasibility and Scoping Study
This multi-disciplinary project was undertaken for a number of stakeholders. It examined a series of opportunities in cultural outdoor recreation activities (such as guided walking and kayaking), and in cultural tourism development.
The project was designed to provide a strong research base for strategic business planning and visitor experience creation. It involved undertaking 2,500 questionnaire surveys, 30 focus group sessions plus a series of one-on-one visitor interviews.
This project remains one of New Zealand’s largest cultural tourism research projects. The first visitor product to emerge from the research: Footprints Waipoua. Featuring night time forest walks, guided by local Maori who interpret the native forest and landscape, Footprints Waipoua was immediately selected as one of the world’s top 100 international eco tourism experiences in Lonely Planet’s Code Green — Experiences of a Lifetime.