Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari describes Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) as being central to its growth.
The company first contacted ATEED, which delivers the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network programme in the Auckland region, at the suggestion of ethical marketing experts GoodSense. Goodsense is a fellow member of the Sustainable Business Network and a service provider within the RBP Network.
“We identified that to really reach their growth potential it would make sense to connect them with ATEED,” says GoodSense Managing Director Kath Dewar. “That enabled the business to meet other like-minded organisations which have helped them share their story and get the word out there.”
ATEED’s business advisers helped Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari access capability funding to take their training to another level, working with GoodSense, and connected the company with its own Tourism and Study Auckland teams.
“[Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari staff] have upskilled and become engaging PR storytellers and great at social media. It’s all about getting the word out and moving away from being just a whale and dolphin watching trip to a company that’s actually leading the way in terms of responsible tourism and conservation,” says Kath.
GoodSense identified an opportunity for Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari to provide high-quality footage filmed on the boat to television news producers. The coverage had the potential to be picked up overseas and screened on television and video channels. It also achieved the company’s education and inspiration objectives.
To achieve this, the two businesses worked on a two-part capability building programme:
• Discovery – research a target list of television news producers and establish relationships for uploading footage from the boat in a timely manner;
• Design – create and deliver a story-telling and media training workshop for crew, delivered aboard the boat. Crew members are trained to think like newshounds so they can identify what sightings and images are truly newsworthy, how to capture them and package them so producers want to air them.
GoodSense also supported Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari to set up a web-based process for quickly uploading newsworthy footage so it could be pitched and shared with media to catch their daily deadlines.
It meant Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari could capture the extraordinary blue whale sightings of April 2018, frame up the story and achieve extensive media coverage.
The RBP capability development funding also enabled Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari to work with Enviro-Mark Solutions, a provider of environmental certification in New Zealand, and help them highlight their commitment to sustainable practices.
ATEED’s Tourism and Study Auckland teams worked closely with the business, enabling Brad and his team to better understand the visitor market and potential opportunities. ATEED is also Auckland’s destination marketing agency, with a vision for a more sustainable future for Auckland. Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, with its strong quality and sustainability credentials, now features in ATEED’s off-shore tourism campaigns and trade presentations. And media coverage generated by the company helps put Auckland on the global map as a desirable destination and world-leader in sustainable tourism.
“Our whole approach is to not only get people to see and watch whales and dolphins but to learn more about the mammals so they can be motivated and inspired to help protect them,” says Brad. “We are creating a tourism experience that positively contributes to the natural environment that it depends on.”