Question :
Hello My name is Sarah Annett. I have a shuttle business in Nelson. My website is tasmanbayshuttles.co.nz and also have the website nelsonshuttles.co.nz (  as the old business owner of that company sold it to me)I provide transport to lodges- mostly high end about and hour and a half out of Nelson, to the able tasman national park , start of hikes, and general points of interest for travelers.  The majority of my market is overseas travels and companies from overseas that book me for transport.  Eg : one of my biggest customers is an Australian hiking company that books me to provide transport for their hikes . So my question is what is the best way to go about brand and marketing now ? Should I focus on NZ customers ? And how would I go about this ?Marketing is not my strongest point so I would really appreciate any pointers or tips to help me Thank you so much 

Question submitted 04/05/20 @ 03:44pm
Industry: Brand & Marketing
  • Up

    Hi Sarah,

    In the short/medium term I would focus on local and perhaps tran-tasman customers. There are lots of ways to do this. Currently there is a big increase in use of social media. If you are on Facebook, you could look at joining the local business groups. Make sure you get involved and add value as opposed to just selling. You will find a whole community in a similar position who are willing to help.

    You could also try paid advertising. Things like Google Ads and social media advertising can be very targeted and reasonably inexpensive.

    If you are comfortable writing content, it may be a good idea to start adding pages to your website to higlight things to do in the area, where to stay etc. The idea is that people will find you when researching the area and use you as a consequence. Ensure what you write about gives value to your target market.


    Hi Sarah – if you have good relationships with your existing customers, then maintain them keep in touch with them to understand what plans they have in place so that when it starts to pick up they know that you are ready to resume service. Especially if you are able to share local insights to Australian customers – this will be valuable to them.

    Until we have more information on Level 2 and what travel will be allowed it is very hard to crystal ball gaze on where future customers may come from – yes NZ and over time Australia.

    Maintain existing relationships, get the basics right to make your services visible through a good website/social media presence and listings on the various tourism sites. You may want to hold off spending marketing money on the tourism market promoting your services until you have some more certainty.

    If you don’t have a website – then definitely take a look at the Manaaki/Swiftly partnership that was announced yesterday.

    Maybe the bigger question here is: What else could your business do in the meantime to generate cashflow until tourism is able to kick back into gear. Maybe look to your local networks to build an understanding of what is on the horizon and where other types of businesses may need your help with the assets your business has to offer. What capacity do you have, what is likely to come from tourism and where are there other opportunities in the meantime?



    Hi Sarah,

    Great advice from Richard above, are you part of your local Facebook Community and business groups where you can post and collaborate to keep front of mind when tourism does start up again. I know it’s a very difficult time at the moment, I hope you applied for the wage subsidy and are holding up okay under the circumstances. I suspect the trans Tasman tourists will be back very shortly, and if you were looking at placing some Facebook ads I would be using targeting to attract people who ‘like’ the pages of some of your local tourist sites.


    Hi Sarah,

    I would also suggest thinking of alternative ways to use your shuttle to tide you over in the meantime.
    Are there local businesses or industries who have had to increase delivery – could your vehicle be used for freight or food delivery?
    Ask in the community groups on Facebook – you may get some great recommendations.

    When domestic tourism opens back up there will be NZ’ers who need shuttles for their hikes and mountain bikes. You may be able to provide tours for local vineyards and hops growers etc for people visiting Nelson for the weekend.
    I’d also reach out and network with other accommodation, bike and kayak rental providers etc in the area and get on the recommendation list for transport when people start booking.
    When domestic tourism opens again use Google Adwords and bid on people looking for keywords like Abel Tasman transport, Getting to Old Ghost Road, Nelson to Marahau transport etc.

    Good luck!

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