This interesting article in Stuff today on tourism operator feedback about the way the Government’s $17m transition fund for is being utilised and distributed sparked much discussion amongst the GoodSense team.
So much, in fact, we felt compelled to respond in this article.
While we recognise that initially, the government acted swiftly to provide tourism businesses with access to advisory services, designed to generate custom while international borders are closed, the fact is A LOT of this money is being funnelled to five big consultancy firms – two of which are high profile global consultancies, KPMG and Deloitte.
It got us thinking… why was the funding model not set up to both support local advisory businesses (who know the domestic landscape and the challenges SMEs face) and deliver services that all small tourism operators would find effective and easy to implement?
Isn’t its intention to grease the wheels of the local tourism market?
In many ways, we agree whole-heartedly with what Jacqui Wilkinson – the spokesperson for Responsible Environmentally Sustainable Entrepreneurial Tourism (Reset, a group of about 350 small tourism SMEs) – shared about the funding in the Stuff article.
She said the whole scheme was well-intentioned but rushed.
In this flurry, GoodSense believes the sector has missed out on maximising the opportunity because the big consultancy firms simply aren’t set up to deal with their real-world challenges.
What’s become clear is that if we are to achieve what Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis set out to with this fund – to support up to 3,000 small and medium tourism businesses to thrive in a post-COVID world – it is best delivered by providers who know the local market back to front and can work alongside the SMEs to support them to create agility and develop capability.
The reality is big consulting firms, such as the accountancy firms Qualmark funnels operators to are more accustomed to working with large clients and big budgets.
It’s not their fault, they simply don’t have an SME mindset or the system to support them. The often highly qualified and highly paid consultants in these big firms do not speak the same language. They don’t live in the same world of small budgets and constrained resources, which is why we believe that some of their recommendations are missing the mark.
They are certainly not marketers with decades of experience putting kiwi customers at the centre of business.
What’s more concerning than the disconnect between advice suitable for big business and SMEs is the fleeting opportunity for this sector to build back local and build back better.
At GoodSense, we are all about building back better. We’ve loved working with small tourism operators through ATEED and other members of Regional Business Partner Network and, like all the other RBP service providers we work alongside, we know we all believe that we can help create a shift from ‘doom and gloom’ to ‘survive and thrive”.
We’re marketing specialists, with a passion for creating a better world. We understand the massive challenge facing Tourism New Zealand, the TIA and everyone involved in the industry but it’s also a chance to show leadership and set a path towards a better more sustainable tourism footprint.
We’re a team of specialist marketing consultants with first-hand experience managing and marketing tourism. As leaders in marketing sustainability in Aotearoa, we’ve been working to build a better economy since 2010.
Everything we do is towards a more sustainable tourism industry. We can help you plan your marketing, get better at doing your marketing – or manage your marketing for you. Our nationwide team use collaborative processes, working with you, not for you, because combining brain-power, gets the best results. We work with all types of business and organisation whose products or services benefit nature or people, as well as their bottom line.
Our services include:
· Strategic problem solving, brand strategy, communications, website, media relations, social media and digital planning
· Outsource marketing management of your activities or of other suppliers on your behalf
· Implementation of social media, PR, email campaigns and event communications
· Project management of websites, video production and ad/lead generation campaigns
· Copywriting for brand stories, for case studies, for websites and newsletters
· Desk research and client interviews
· Marketing facilitation, training and coaching.
Our collaborative strategic marketing services can help with planning and/or tactical implementation, and – here’s the best part – our services are registered with the Regional Business Partner Network. With the additional funding recently announced for the RBP program, your business is likely to qualify for up to $5,000 + GST support towards this work.
At GoodSense we work with organisations who do right by nature and society as well as their shareholders. If you want to outsource marketing support or get help with marketing and brand strategy from an experienced nationwide team that share your values, please get in touch. Or read more about the kind of work we do.