The Waitangi Treaty Grounds has transformed the visitor experience over the past couple of years which has boosted both revenue and visitor satisfaction.
The opening of the award-winning Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi in early 2016 was a catalyst for the transformation. To coincide with the museum opening, the admission-only product was replaced with an all-inclusive Day Pass which includes entry to the new museum and all historic buildings, guided tours and cultural performances.
As well as the new museum, a carving studio was built and the visitor centre redeveloped. These all-weather facilities have helped drive up visitor numbers over the low season.
Permanent and seasonal staff numbers have increased, with 90% of staff recruited locally. Ongoing training and professional development is integral to continually improving the visitor experience.
Locals are encouraged to act as ambassadors for the attraction through a variety of initiatives, such as museum functions, public programmes and free passes.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds evaluates its visitor experience programme through a range of measures, including reputational and visitor satisfaction monitoring, regular reviews, Qualmark assessments, revenue gains and positive visitor number trends. Key learnings are shared with other tourism operators and groups.
The results are impressive. Along with a 54% increase in revenue from ticket sales in the past year, visitor numbers increased by 8% and visitor satisfaction is at an all-time high. Visitors are staying longer, doing more, spending more and returning - not just to the grounds, but to the region.
And there are plenty of new ideas in the pipeline, as Waitangi Treaty Grounds continues its journey to become a world class visitor destination.