This week, LATTE chats exclusively with Tourism Fiji’s CEO, Matthew Stoeckel.
Prior to his appointment to steer Fiji’s tourism organisation in July 2016, Stoeckel had been with Destination NSW for two years and spent several years prior as a consultant with TRC Tourism and Hyder Consulting.
Tourism Fiji last week announced the launch of a new brand marketing campaign that will roll out in 2019; the campaign assets have been developed to demonstrate that the Fiji brand goes beyond just relaxation by highlighting Fiji’s ‘bula spirit’. LATTE chats with Stoeckel to learn about his career, the appeal of working with Tourism Fiji and to get a better understanding of the new brand campaign.
Matt, you’ve been with Tourism Fiji as Chief Executive Officer for two and a half years now. For those unfamiliar, are you able to provide a brief summary of your positions and responsibilities leading up to working with Tourism Fiji?
I have a fairly broad background, having worked across industries in a marketing and management capacity. I have found my time spent in the tourism industry the most rewarding, where the majority of my experience has been as a consultant helping destinations across Asia Pacific achieve their potential.
What lured you to the CEO role at Tourism Fiji?
Fiji is an incredible destination with so much potential and so many stories to tell. The destination had always appealed to me and I welcomed the challenge of modernising Tourism Fiji and leading the country’s marketing and promotional efforts. It’s a very rewarding destination to work, as results can be achieved in such a short period of time.
Had you actually travelled to and explored Fiji before considering the CEO position?
I had previously been engaged by the Fiji Government to develop a five-year strategic plan for the destination. So I had spent considerable time exploring the destination and had an excellent understanding of the destination’s markets, opportunities and challenges.
Tourism Fiji last week unveiled a new brand campaign centred around ‘bula’. Can you tell LATTE readers about this new strategy – when will it be activated and through which channels?
Independent research was undertaken in Tourism Fiji’s key markets to see how our brand was faring. It revealed that target audiences were aware of Fiji’s natural beauty and environment, as well as its reputation as a uniquely welcoming destination.
However, the research also showed that our consumers were not as aware of the range of quality visitor experiences available in Fiji. The new campaign, which rolls out from 2019 across TV, cinema, OOH [out of home], digital and social channels, shows there is a lot more to see and do in Fiji, while also highlighting the ‘bula spirit’ that is ubiquitous across Fiji’s 333 beautiful islands.
Were there any specific findings on Fiji’s luxury offering?
A clear outtake from the research was the need for Fiji to develop a more distinctive brand positioning among the clutter of tropical island destinations. This applied to our luxury offering as well; our new ‘bula’ and ‘singing’ campaigns do just this.
What is Tourism Fiji’s target audience?
Fiji’s range of products and experiences means that our target audiences are quite broad. While we focus on families and couples, we also undertake bespoke marketing campaigns and promotions for a whole range of other niche markets. Our luxury market is an important and growing market out of Australia.
How does Tourism Fiji plan to keep that audience up to date on the diverse range and quality of experiences across Fiji?
It’s a constant job for us to keep both consumers and the trade aware of the range of quality experiences available in Fiji. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach and use a variety of activities to keep our audiences up to date. Our new consumer campaigns are a big part of that, as are our publicity activities, social media and trade promotions.
Aside from Australia and New Zealand, to what other markets will this new campaign be promoted, and through which channels?
This is a global brand campaign. The assets are modular in nature, so can be adapted to suit the specific international market and target audience and, as such, they will be used across all our international markets and channels.
Recently, Tourism Fiji hosted a four-city Australian roadshow to highlight the luxury offering in Fiji, with a favourable response from attendees. Is Tourism Fiji planning to repeat the show in 2019?
Our Australian luxury roadshow is a critical aspect of our trade industry engagement and we will continue the luxury roadshow again in 2019. I even plan to put it in my diary for 2019 to attend!
What do you feel has been your most successful achievement at Tourism Fiji, 2.5 years in?
Its difficult to pick just one, as the organisation has achieved so much over the last two and a half years. It looks and operates entirely different to when I first joined in July 2016.
Through a clear strategy, we undertook a significant modernisation project to build the capabilities of the organisation that were required to deliver world-class marketing and promotional activities for Fiji.
The results speak for themselves and I’m pleased to say that the destination has consistently achieved record visitor arrivals over the last two and a half years.
Final question, and LATTE’s signature question: Where is your favourite coffee shop (in Fiji), and what’s your usual order?
Oh no, would you believe I don’t drink coffee…!