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Bookings surge following Waiheke’s ‘On The House’

29 May 2020  By Staff Reporter | | @tourismticker

The Sands Waiheke is one of the providers taking part in On The House. Image: Luke Andrews

A new campaign designed to stimulate the economy on Auckland’s Waiheke Island has seen more than 6000 hits to its website since it launched on Wednesday night.

The On The House promotion was the brainchild of Waiheke residents including Kim Rae, owner of Stay Waiheke, a home rental business on the island.

She said the campaign had been a “resounding success” and she expected the availability of participating accommodation to sell out within a week.

“So many businesses have been hit hard by the absence of tourism, and as locals, it is up to us to drive money back into the local economy,” Rae said.

On The House involved more than 80 Waiheke homeowners and accommodation providers who had donated their rental houses, baches and hotel rooms for the weekend of 19-20 June with rental fees being converted into ‘Waiheke dollars’ that could be spent on goods and services across the island.

“They can use their Waiheke dollars for wine tasting, ziplining, retail therapy, car rentals, e-bike rentals, green fees to play golf, eating at one of our incredible restaurants, cafes…the list goes on. You can even book a seaplane to get there,” Rae said.

Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, Waiheke Island was Auckland’s number one tourist destination, especially popular for vineyard visits and beachgoers.

However, businesses on the island had been hit hard by the pandemic with accommodation bookings plummeting. One wine tour operator had seen their bookings drop from 490 pax in May 2019 to only four people booked this month.

Rae said the popularity of the campaign meant they would consider extending the promotion over winter in a form that would add value to the island.

On The House is part of a broader marketing campaign by the Waiheke Island Tourism Forum. Bookings close 12 June.


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