Academic Research,  Adventure Tourism,  Tourism Management

Auckland and Destination Marketing


This post will give you an analysis of Auckland tourism. It will focus on marketing strategies, what Auckland is good for. You will find the tourism products of Auckland, the main tourist market. 

This post will propose a marketing strategy based on the findings of this analysis. It will focus on finding opportunities and how to overcome weaknesses and threats.

Competitive Advantages

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with almost 400,000 citizens within the city’s boundaries and 1.18 million people altogether (Addison, 2016). Auckland is usually the gateway to New Zealand for many travellers, as it owns a major airport in New Zealand (Lawton & Page, 1997; Passport, 2015). 

“Built on a narrow isthmus between two island-studded harbours, Auckland is reknowned for its beauty, with 100km of coastline crammed with stunning beaches, 23 regional parks, two marine reserves and a landscape dotted with 48 volcanic cones. With all the water surrounding the region, it’s no wonder Aucklanders boast the largest boat ownership per capita in the world – that’s why it’s called “The City of Sails”.” 

(Addison, 2016)

With many natural attractive features, the city is great for adventurous activities and urban entertainment. On top of that Auckland is a city with a lot of shopping opportunities for a range of different products, especially handmade products and jewellery.  

Current target market analysis

The current and recent marketing efforts from Auckland suggest that the city is aiming at people interested in adventure, nature, shopping, food, art & culture and wildlife tourism. This has been well presented in an advertisement from 2012 “Above the clouds” video (Visit Auckland, 2012).

According to Mintel (2015) the leading markets for international arrivals to New Zealand (NZ) are:

  • Australia
  • China
  • US
  • UK
  • Japan
  • Germany

(See appendix 1)

Visits from China have more than doubled between 2010 – 2014 in NZ, which makes it an interesting target market for Auckland.  On the other hand, visits from the UK and Japan decreased over that 4-year period, which might be an area where Auckland could improve its marketing strategy on. 

Auckland on the Butler’s life cycle model

Butler’s (1980) Tourist Area Life Cycle (TALC) describes the evolution of a tourist area from its discovery to its final stage and can help to picture how the destination is performing and how it could perform in the future.

Figure 1.0 – Butler’s TALC (1980)


Considering the fact that the international arrivals to NZ are increasing year by year, and considering that adventure tourism is a growing industry due to changes in consumer’s values as mentioned by Ian Yeoman (2008), shows that Auckland is in between the development and consolidation stage. This is because, Auckland has already well developed tourism industry and it is good for adventure travellers, so the growing demand into this type of tourism allows Auckland to be on the growing but well developed part of this model.


The main dominating language in NZ is English, followed by Maori and NZ sign language. (Auckland Tourism, 2014)

Other common languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Samoan, Tongan. (Auckland Tourism, 2014)

Assessment of the key internal and external influences affecting the destination and its marketing

SWOT Analysis


  1. Great infrastructure – The biggest city in NZ (Addison, 2016)
  2. Great unique diversification of outdoor experiences and natural heritage – allowing for adventures and sports in all seasons
  3. Unique world-class shopping experiences. A survey of international tourism demand in Auckland (Lawton & Page, 1997) found that shopping was identified as the primary tourist activity in Auckland (84.7%).
  4. Easily accessible – main New Zealand’s airport is in Auckland (Passport, 2015b; Auckland Tourism, 2014)
  5. Cultural diversity
  6. Wide range of different accommodation types to suit everyone (New Zealand Tourism Guide, 2016)
  7. A lot of art & culture heritage in Auckland.
  8. The climate in Auckland is comfortable all year round, with warm rather dry summers and mild, wet winters (ENZ.ORG, 2016).

  1. A long-haul distance for major English speaking countries (UK – 25h & USA – 12h+)
  2. No direct flights from Europe (100% Pure New Zealand, n.d.)
  3. Auckland appears to have no single recognised activity or attraction that most tourists plan to view or visit, making it unclear how to promote the city (Lawton & Page, 1997)

  1. According to Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing (Choi, Heo, & Law, 2015), shopping became one of the main tourist activities and it accounts for considerable amount of tourism expenditure. Shopping is becoming one of the major motivations for tourists to travel. 
  2. Recent trends in healthy lifestyle encourage adventure tourism (Urh, 2015). One of the biggest growth sectors for Europeans is adventure tourism based on healthier lifestyles, but adventures and experiences that are easy to achieve with minimum previous experience e.g. mountain biking. (WTM, 2016)
  3. Become active/ sport destination due to comfortable climate and natural heritage (i.e. hills, water, regional parks)
  4. Recent interest and work towards affordable supersonic flights from Boom can mean less travel time, making Auckland more accessible and attractive for consumers from the UK and US (Boom Technology, 2016)

  1. Weakening Pound Sterling due to Brexit in the UK can put people off from traveling long-haul and encourage cheaper travel (Treanor, Goodley, & Allen, 2016). This political move, already had a negative effect on long-haul travel between 2015/2016. According to Mintel, the number of long-haul holidays decreased by 1.9% due to Brexit (McGivney, 2016).
  2. According to Wall Street Journal (Knight, 2005) and a number of other sources (Al Bawaba, 2011; Abeyratne, 2011), global warming issues can increase the taxation on air travel, making it overly expensive for majority of consumers.

TOWS Analysis

Strengths S2 & Op2 – The great diversification of outdoor experiences with natural heritage can attract adventure, sport and active tourists to come to Auckland. 

S8 & Op3 – Auckland has a comfortable climate for outdoor-activities. This can attract tourists from European countries as Auckland is not overly hot compared to Europe (see appendix 2).

S2, S3 & Op1 – Unique shopping and outdoor experiences combined can encourage urban-entertainment tourists to visit Auckland, as urban-entertainment tourist like to shop the most (Oh, Cheng, Lehto, & O’Leary, 2004). 

S6 & T1 – Wide range of different accommodation types to suit different people can help to overcome the threat of weaker Pound Sterling. The consumers can possibly see more value in the outdoor adventures, over the quality of the accommodation. The targeted audience would spend more time outside than inside, which may encourage them to go for cheaper accommodation to afford their travel to NZ.
WeaknessesW1, W2 & Op4 – One of the main weaknesses of Auckland can soon be turned around due to emerging supersonic travel. This would make NZ much more reachable to consumers from Europe and USA.

Op2, W1 & W2 – Changing consumer values towards active and adventurous lifestyle, can make Auckland more valuable. Consumers can realise that the long-haul travel is worth the value of the experience that they will gain.

W1, W2 & T1, T2 -Weaker UK’s economy due to major political changes in 2016, combined with long-haul expensive travel, might mean that Auckland would not be appealing to this market. In this case Auckland might need to concentrate it’s marketing strategy on China, Japan and Germany or other countries with stable political/ economic situation and markets possibly closer to Auckland.

The SWOT and the TOWS analysis make it more clear to define the audience for Auckland. The current facts found in both analyses show that Auckland needs audience with high disposable income, due to the distance from major markets and future environmental taxation uncertainty. 


Auckland worked on establishing the image of an adventurous and outdoor entertainment destination for many years and it has this reputation. 

To help with the recommendation for a potential marketing strategy, the Ansoff Matrix (Ansoff, 1965) will be used. Ansoff Matrix will help to establish what Auckland should do about the tourism marketing, by focusing on available tourism products in the destination.

Figure 2.0 – Ansoff Matrix

(Ansoff, 1965)

Following the Ansoff matrix (Ansoff, 1965), it would be the most logical to focus on the market penetration strategy. This is because, there is no need for Auckland to develop new products as their product is in a growing demand. Also there is no need for trying to find new markets, because Auckland catered for those markets for a long time.

However, since there is a decrease in arrivals from UK (Mintel, 2015), Auckland could try to increase the market share in this country for adventure/ outdoor tourism.

Ideal Target Market

The target market for this marketing strategy would be an urban entertainment/ adventure tourist from the UK. A tourist with high disposable income, aged 30-50 who want to spend time doing outdoor activities. 

The decreasing numbers of long-haul holidays as a result of Brexit and it’s effect on the Pound Sterling mean that Auckland must target people with high income. The Mintel report (McGivney, 2016) found that many modern British long-haul travellers are looking for more adventurous and unfamiliar destinations, which is great for Auckland as this is the biggest strength of this destination. 

The cultural aspects of Auckland make it easy for UK consumers to get by in NZ, which is due to the dominating English language and alike western culture lifestyle.  

The urban entertainment tourists aged 30-50, as per study done by Oh, Cheng, Lehto, & O’Leary (2004), are the ones who shop the most. This means that the chosen audience would provide the most economic benefit to Auckland and the features of Auckland would appeal to the targeted consumer more, as the destination has more features that these consumers look for.

Per Passport database (Euromonitor International, n.d.), an average person in the UK aged 30-50, will have more income than the younger generation, meaning more economic benefit and more chances that they could afford to visit Auckland. This can be seen below:


Figure 3.0 – UK Average Gross Income of Population aged 20-24

Figure 3.1 – UK Average Gross Income of Population aged 30-34

Figure 3.2 – UK Average Gross Income of Population aged 45-49

Communication plan 1

Outdoor advertisement

According to IPA Touch Points survey (as cited by Esposito, 2006), a British consumer aged 35-49, spend lengthy part of their day out of home (7.6 hours compared to 8.3 hours awake at home). The potential exposure to outdoor media for this age group, peaks at 9am and 3.30pm. This group is most likely to travel to work in these hours and they are most responsive to roadside billboards.

As per study done by McGoldrick (2013), a traditional media unit such as billboard, would generate more sales compared to new media. 

In Appendix 5 there is a social grade map from 2011, which shows the percentage of ABC1 people across regions in England and Wales. So the DMO can target the audience geographically, specifically the South/Central England where the ABC1 class accounts for majority of the population. 

The table below shows different social classes of people:

(UK Geographics, 2014) 

The average cost of outdoor advertising is £200 a week for a standard 48 sheet billboard (Atom Content Marketing Ltd, 2016), compared to TV advertisement where an average cost in peak times for 30 seconds’ advert on ITV can be around £35,000 (Guerillascope, 2016). This for a publicly funded campaign is a major benefit (ATEED, 2016).

This communication will focus on roadside billboards, that encourage to visit the DMO’s website and social media platforms. An example of a billboard that encourage to visit the DMO’s website is in appendix 6. 

On each picture, a message saying “Escape.”  will be present, using pictures of the natural heritage and available adventures in Auckland (refer to appendix 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11). The reason for using this wording and pictures is that according to Ian Yeoman (2008), there is an increasing trend in escapism for adventures and adrenaline-charging activities.


Advertise on roadside billboards in UK regions where more than 50% of the population is ABC1 class, between March and August 2020, to increase the visits to by 30% in 2020 and increase visits to Auckland from the UK by 10% by 2021.     

Communication plan 2

Social Media

To make the communication strategy more effective, it should follow the idea of the media mix, which is to combine different communication channels to follow the same campaign. The communication channel in this plan is social media.

As mentioned before the traditional media is more effective (Nielsen, 2001). However there has been a massive growth in the trend of using social media (Quesenberry, 2015) accessed using mobile devices (Shields, 2009), therefore it is important to have presence in the social media too.

Taking into consideration the targeted audience, it would be appropriate to communicate using Facebook and LinkedIn. The reasons for those social media channels are:

  1. Majority of Facebook users are aged 30-49
  2. 79% of LinkedIn users are over 35
  3. Most of LinkedIn users have a Bachelor’s qualification or higher, meaning that there is a higher chance that the users have more disposable income
  4. LinkedIn is business orientated social network, meaning a lot of business users with high disposable income who could afford to travel long-haul.

(refer to appendix 3 & 4) 

The picture and video content on Facebook and LinkedIn, will include same massages and pictures as the outdoor advertisements. So it will use a lot of escapism, adrenaline and adventure words to achieve that desired image.


Produce picture/ video content about outdoor activities in Auckland once every week for 12 months, encouraging to action on Facebook and LinkedIn, to generate 20% more comments, 40% more likes and 10% more shares which will lead to an increase of visits to by 30% in 2020, and 10% more visits from the UK by 2020.

Communication plan 3

British Airways Media

According to ‘Europe Travel Survey’ research on behalf of Wall Street Journal in 1997 (as cited by Nielsen, 2001), out of 694 people, 81.4% read airline advertising and 62.3% were interested in the destinations served by the airline. The respondents were with an average age of 47.7 years and 75% being in senior management positions. 

‘High-Life’ magazine from British Airways (BA) is a gateway to people with high disposable income and people who travel. According to BA, 86% of ‘High-Life’ readers are AB people (British Airways Media, 2015) with a circulation of 200,643, which is the highest circulating travel magazine.

BA long-haul passenger data:

  • Average age:47
  • 51% male 49% female
  • Average income: £64,127
  • 67% AB
  • 87% ABC1
  • take on average 8 business and 4 leisure trips per annum
  • Potential audience of approximately 1.1 million long haul passengers each month
  • 55% of long haul passengers are British

(British Airways Media, 2013)

Communicating through BA would allow this campaign to reach British long-haul travellers with high income in the preferred age group, which would allow to meet the objectives.

For this communication channel, it would be very achievable to create partnership with BA. Public private partnership was described by John Heeley as the best practice for urban destination marketing (Heeley, 2011). The reason for this is that both stakeholders want to achieve the same goal, which is to generate travelling. 

This would allow to spread the cost and produce more powerful advertisement through a well-established and respected airline, which main clientele is AB class.

BA could put Auckland as ad focused theme in prestigious ‘High Life’ magazine, instead of other destinations that they do now (see appendix 12).


Form a partnership with British Airways within 6 months, to produce promotional content about Auckland in the ‘High-Life’ magazine and generate 10% increase in visits from the UK to New Zealand for 2021. Provide unique discount code for consumers who have found out about Auckland from this magazine and measure within the following 12 months of release date, how many bookings were made using that code. 


The growing demand to adventure tourism and “untouched” destinations (Yeoman, 2008; WTM, 2016) positioned Auckland in a favourable spot for the upcoming years. The raising awareness of the benefits of being active and healthy, transfer to shape new values in today’s consumer (Urh, 2015), allowing destinations to move away from mass tourism model and allowing to create sustainable product. 

Targeting the selected audience for this communication strategy comply with the relevance of the triple bottom line (Dwyer, 2005), which is to provide economic and social benefit with environmental protection. The target market like to shop and have a lot of money (economic benefit), they speak the same language and have a similar culture (social benefit) and they are there to enjoy the natural and outdoor attributes which would push the government and private sector to protect the natural environment.

The communication strategy needs to be cost efficient and effective, as it uses public funding. So the outdoor advertising, would be much cheaper than other traditional media channels (i.e. TV) and it would allow the DMO to be selective to specific regions where they have more chances of being successful.

Linkedin and Facebook would also be cost efficient, but very relevant to the targeted audience which would increase the chances of being successful and increase chances of getting to the right people.

Forming a partnership with highly respected airlines, would not just allow to target people with money but also target people who travel. This would save costs and allow to target with more chances of success. 

Are you into adventure travel? Did you enjoy this analysis? 

If so you would also find this article useful: Risk Taking and Adventure Tourism.



Abeyratne, R. (2011). The proposed global fuel tax on aviation – A deficit of judgment. Environmental Policy and Law, 41(6), 273-279. Retrieved from 

Addison, D. (2016). Information about Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved December 12, 2016, from Helensville Online,

Al Bawaba. (2011). UNITED ARAB EMIRATES : Emirates to pay taxes towards EU program to limit carbon emissions. MENA Report, Retrieved from 

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Auckland Tourism. (n.d.- c) Auckland top 10s. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Auckland Tourism. (n.d.- d) Top 10 things to do for adventure lovers. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Auckland Tourism. (n.d.- e) Adventures at Castaways Resort. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Auckland Tourism. (2014). General information about Auckland. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from,

Boom Technology, B. (2016). Boom – supersonic passenger airplanes. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from Boom, 

British Airways Media. (2015). High Life: Change Your View. Retrieved from 

British Airways Media. (2013). British Airways Media TV & Ambient Media Pack. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from, 

Butler R.W. (1980). The concept of a tourist area cycle of evolution: implications for management of resources. Canadian Geographer, 24, 5-12

Choi, M. J., Heo, C. Y., & Law, R. (2015). Progress in shopping tourism. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing. doi:10.1080/10548408.2014.969393

Dwyer, L. (2005) Relevance of triple bottom line reporting to achievement of sustainable tourism: A scoping study. Tourism Review International, 9, 79-93.

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Heeley, J. (2011). Public: Private partnership and best practice in urban destination marketing. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 11(3), 224–229. doi:10.1177/1467358411408710

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Lawton, G. R., & Page, S. J. (1997). Analysing the promotion, product and visitor expectations of urban tourism: Auckland, New Zealand as a case study. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 6(3-4), 123–142. doi:10.1300/j073v06n03_08

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Oh, J. Y. ., Cheng, C. ., Lehto, X. Y., & O’Leary, J. T. (2004). Predictors of tourists’ shopping behaviour: Examination of socio-demographic characteristics and trip typologies. Journal of Vacation Marketing10(4), 308–319. doi:10.1177/135676670401000403 

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Appendix 1: 

Mintel. (2015). Travel and Tourism – New Zealand – August 2015. Retrieved from

Appendix 2: 

ENZ.ORG. (2016). Auckland’s climate. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from

Appendix 3:

Marketing England 2014 –

Appendix 4: 

infographic images – Leverage. (2015, September 1). Social media comparison Infographic. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from Social Media, 

Appendix 5: 

Pugh, D. (2013, May 16). Social grade ABC1 map. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from 

Appendix 6: 

source – 

Appendix 7: 

Auckland Tourism. (n.d. – a). Activities & attractions. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Appendix 8: 

Auckland Tourism. (n.d. – b). What’s on in Auckland. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Appendix 9: 

Auckland Tourism. (n.d.- c). Auckland top 10s. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Appendix 10:

Auckland Tourism. (n.d.-d). Top 10 things to do for adventure lovers. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Appendix 11: 

Auckland Tourism. (n.d.- e). Adventures at Castaways Resort. Retrieved January 13, 2017, from, 

Appendix 12: 

British Airways Media. (2015). High Life: Change Your View. Retrieved from 

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