A digital redesign for Tairawhiti Gisborne’s front-facing website.
An RTO website needs flexibility and the ability to change things on the fly. Working with Tairāwhiti Gisborne over the last two years on event activation and seasonal campaigns it became very apparant that this was just not the case. When the development costs took a large chunk out of each campaign budget, and added weeks in lead time, there was clear case for an new, modern approach to the RTO’s front-facing digital presence.
Tairāwhiti Gisborne was in a strong position with their branding and identity – significant work had already been done creating an industry-leading platform to work from. A new website needed to build off this work, using ‘The First Light’ story, while presenting the region in its own right as a fantastic option for New Zealanders to visit, live in, and do business.
Flexibility at the Forefront
Since the genesis of this project was the need to create fast and flexible content hubs for campaign work, the goal became to ensure that ‘Flexibility’ would be one of the key tenents for the new website. As the website grew, as new fantastic tourism experiences and hospitality options became available, they had to be seemlessly integrated at every stage. Similarly, creation of campaign hubs needed to be a fast and routine task, allowing them to be an incidental part of campaign planning, rather than an obstacle to be managed.
Flexibility of content type was crucial as well. A rigid, closed-source system on the previous website had limited the number of page templates and content types available. To highlight the Tairāwhiti region we wanted to be able to mix and match all content types – itineraries, stories, events and of course operator listings. These needed to be quick to create, controlled by the Tairāwhiti Gisborne team for editing, and able to appear anywhere on the website.
A Digital Presence That Fits
Tairāwhiti Gisborne is a young and dynamic region to visit and live in, and needed a digital presence to match. The key branding work had already been done with ‘The First Light’ as the key brand messaging, and with the clean blue and yellow colour scheme. Drawing inspiration from the clean and modern logo, as well as wanting to hero as much of the amazing visual media as we could the design is a bold, large-format gateway to the region.
Encouraging consideration of the Tairāwhiti region is the key goal of the website. Getting those visitors in drive and fly zones to see that there are amazing options for travellers of all ages and walks of life in a region that they may not have considered before. Because of this, the content is focused heavily around itineraries, and showing options for travellers interested in individual topics such as the regions fantastic wine and vineyards. User generated content is used extensively across all content types, with visitors facebook and instagram photos being heroed across the website. Showing the region from the eye of the visitor gives a much more authentic view, and ensures the ability to keep content fresh and ever changing.
The flexibility required of the page building and content creation meant that a modern open-source back-end was required. The industry-leading Silverstripe CMS was chosen for its security, power and flexibility. Using Silverstripe allowed us to populate the site with listings from both the Tourism New Zealand API as well as create identical ones through the back-end of the website, allowing local operators more options and control over how and where their listings live. This means that the listings displayed on the website will always be up-to-date, with the team at Tairāwhiti Gisborne in full control overall.
From a website that was one of the biggest considerations in campaign planning – how much would changes cost, and how long would they take – to one of the most powerful and flexible RTO websites in the market today. The new Tairāwhiti Gisborne website is a true reflection of a modern and exciting region and will the the keystone of promoting and supporting the region for years to come.