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Using technology to turbo-charge Taupō tourism

What does technology have to do with tourism in Taupō? Digital data and marketing are some of the most effective tools for reaching potential visitors and showing them what our region has to offer.

Destination Great Lake Taupō (DGLT) is the organisation that promotes the Taupō region to

domestic and international markets. Its aim is to attract visitors to the region which in turn

contributes to the success of our local businesses. Digital marketing and data analytics play a big role in this.

By using tools like TSI (Tourism Sentiment Index), SEMrush and Google Analytics, DGLT can analyse data that is available online to really understand what target markets are looking for when they come to Taupō. For example, DGLT can see the questions people ask Google about Taupō and then use search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure that the best information to answer their questions is what they will see first in their search results. Data analysis also gives DGLT insights into what kind of marketing content to develop, who to target and when.

Valerie Wilton, Head of Digital at DGLT, is excited by the opportunities that data analytics and digital marketing provide to promote the Taupō region to the rest of New Zealand, and the world.

“Traditional digital marketing, such as sending an email to a whole database, used to be one of the best tools we had, but so much more is possible,” says Valerie. “While that approach might still be appropriate for some messages, now we can really understand what people are looking for online, as well as their preferences and demographics, and use this information to tailor our marketing content to ensure that they will see things that will interest and be useful to them.”

“Seeing the right message at the right time might prompt someone to make that booking to come to Taupō to try some of the many experiences the region has to offer. That is at the core of what we are trying to achieve with digital marketing.”

Valerie is passionate about both digital marketing and Taupō. Her career took her to Singapore and the Netherlands, but eventually, she began to miss family in the Waikato region and she found herself moving to Taupō. She managed a Wellington-based job with a mix of commuting and working remotely, but when the role for Head of Digital came up at DGLT, it was a perfect match.

“I haven’t worked in the tourism industry before, so I have been learning a lot,” says Valerie. “I love how people in tourism are so enthusiastic about providing an amazing experience for visitors and locals. The people we work with want the best for the town and there is a strong sense of community.”

Working as part of the DGLT team gives Valerie the chance to use her international experience and skills to promote a region that has so much to offer. “We have a lot to say about Taupō and through using a range of tools, our understanding of our target markets is improving all the time.”

Valerie sees huge opportunities for sharing and promoting the many amazing things Taupō has to offer using digital marketing. “Using data well is something that sets the good businesses apart from the rest and it’s not just for big operators or companies. Organisations that haven’t tried digital marketing before shouldn’t be afraid to start small and start experimenting. You can use the internet to ask questions and learn. There’s plenty of free, reliable information available – through sources such as Google Academy and Digital Boost – a government funded initiative – that can help you to understand content and digital marketing, and how to use it.”

DGLT is also committed to building technology capability in the local industry and helping businesses to understand how they can use digital tools to market their business. “We encourage any local business that operates in the tourism industry to reach out to DGLT to talk about the ways we can support them,” says Valerie.

Valerie also urges anyone interested in a career in technology and digital to give it a go. “The

opportunities in this field are growing and there are so many more things to learn about and areas for specialisation than even a few years ago – just jump in!”


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