We go talking to Travel Buyers
With progress at the hotel moving along nicely, it was time to take the show on the road. ExPlore Central North Island Trade Show presented us with the ideal environment.
- It was focused on our region of New Zealand, meaning we’d not just meet buyers but industry partners – a direct alignment with our sustainable partnerships model.
- It was the perfect place to begin a conversation with the travel industry about the doors an earth conscious hotel in the Waikato can open for Tourism and Conference Organisers.
- ExPlore is targeted at the main travel partners – Inbound Operators and Wholesale travel companies as well as Hotel Concierges, frontline selling staff at travel agencies, Tourism NZ staff and travel industry media.
We knew we had a big story to tell and we were excited to at last have the opportunity to sell it to the business. Funnily enough, while we’re relieved to report that the concept of the hotel was well received, something that was really apparent to both Chris and myself was the importance of exposure and partnerships for start-ups, especially independents like us.
Being new and independent has its advantages
We have this exciting new product that we want travel buyers to know about and share with their clients – hopefully to entice them to add us to their travel itineraries in NZ. Being a new and independent property means that we can be reactive and dynamic in response to changes needed when listening to buyers’ feedback.
Aside from the earth conscious nature of the hotel, we were able to showcase something unique to the New Zealand travel scene.
- Somewhere different for international visitors to explore in this part of the North Island.
- The opportunity to taste the region through D’Arcy’s Garden and the hotel’s commitment to local producers.
- The chance to really experience down-to-earth, friendly Kiwi hospitality.
Create a great first impression
Lucky for us, the Hamilton Waikato Tourism team created a design that brought all the Mighty Waikato products together, giving the impression that we were all travelling in the same waka (canoe). We chose Zealong Teas as our foodie inclusion, making a mocktail for display from the same teas as we feature in the hotel’s rooms.
Trade Shows help you keep an eye on the bigger picture
Trade Shows like ExPlore are important to us because they reveal what actually matters to buyers. Most of what we learnt came from the questions we were asked. Simple things like “what size beds are in the twin rooms?” helped us to review the practicalities of the hotel’s facilities.
We also enjoyed meeting other operators in the greater Central North Island region, forming friendships and taking home knowledge of attractions and products that will help our guests get the most out of their trip to the Waikato.
With just a few short weeks until our next exhibition at TRENZ, we’re hooked on the value of shared information and making new connections.
Look for the Hidden Lake Hotel exhibition at TRENZ Rotorua 13-16 May.
Glenda Hamilton and Chris Turner are the owners and operators of Hidden Lake Hotel, Cambridge, New Zealand.
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Follow us on Instagram to view the progress of creating Hidden Lake Hotel.