Taste of Kiwi dished out as Welly restaurant pops-up in Sydney

Since April, Positively Wellington Tourism has been on a mission to lure more of our Aussie friends across for a visit and smash a few misconceptions. And all indicators suggest the ‘There’s No Place Like Wellington’ campaign, which aims to showcase the region and its creative edge, has worked very well so far. But it’s taking things up a notch and getting experiential with WLG, a pop-up restaurant that will be operating in Sydney for two weeks next month in a bid to generate some buzz about the city.

Four of Wellington’s best chefs, Rex Morgan of Boulcott Street Bistro, Jacob Brown of The Larder, Shaun Clouston of Logan Brown and Tom Hutchison of Capitol, will take shifts leading the kitchen, and talented hospo staff and a heap of Welly-centric products (including wines from its regional campaign partners Wairarapa and Marlborough) will also be on offer.

Pop-up stores (and restaurants, even if they’re sneaky marketing ploys in Melbourne) have been a fairly popular marketing trend of late. And Positively Wellington Tourism comms manager Angela Moriarty says people were talking about it online before it was even officially announced (“were not very good at keeping our mouths shut”). The buzz was there and, importantly, so were the sales: the first wave of tickets were booked out within hours of release last week, with almost 1000 going in the first hour after the launch in Time Out Sydney, which draws over 550,000 page impressions per month, and over half of the 2500 seats available booked within four hours.

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks says its research has shown many Australians still have an incredibly dated view of Wellington, as opposed to most Kiwis, who have voted it their favourite destination in three of the last four Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton Mood of the Traveller surveys. And WLG, which travellers will know is the city’s airport code, aims to spruce that image up and create a few ambassadors.

“Those who have been here adore it, but those who haven’t see it as it was in the early 90s. And we all know that’s not exactly a good thing,” he says.

Visits to www.WellingtonNZ.com from Australia increased 145 percent in the four months following the campaign launch (April-July), when compared to the same period last year. And latest figures show a 15.1 percent increase in Sydney traffic through Wellington International Airport this July. Australian arrivals into Wellington were also up 14.4 percent in June.

“Website visitation shows the brand is building and the numbers we’re starting to see on-the-ground show the deal-led activity is also working. WLG is now designed to trigger word of mouth buzz online and on the street,” Perks says.

Of course, the key drawcard to WLG is a three course meal from one of the ‘chefs in residence’ for just $29, but diners will also leave with a few tactical airline offers and other promotions (check out the cool, woolly ‘There’s No Place like Wellington’ TVC)

The pop-up concept was tested in Wellington for logistics and to monitor the success of social media marketing during the Visa Wellington On a Plate festival. And four influential food bloggers from Sydney were also hosted during the event to act as ambassadors.

  • WLG runs from 14-26 September at 32 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross (Old Bayswater Brasserie) and will be open for dinner from 6pm till 10pm. Wine buffs will also be able to stop by for an after work drink or have a lazy weekend afternoon tipple as WLG transforms on Saturday and Sunday afternoons into a wine bar from 3pm.

    Left to right: Rex Morgan of Boulcott Street Bistro, Jacob Brown of The Larder, Shaun Clouston of Logan Brown and Tom Hutchison of Capitol.

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