It's been very painful watching Mandurah's marketing efforts for the last 4 years. Driving down the freeway seeing "Anytime Adventures" signs and wondering where that company was located was confusing. It took me a year before I realised "Anytime Adventures" wasn't a business offering adventures but some kind of marketing slogan for the Peel region.
And then there's the term "Peel". It's completely meaningless to anyone outside of the region, completely un-Googleable for anyone with an ISP not in Mandurah who wants to learn more about it, and downright offensive to the Aboriginal Australians from the area and know about the suffering dolled out at the hands of Thomas Peel and Governor Stirling. And on top of all that, literally no-one in the history of Perth has ever told their friends that "I'm heading to Peel for the weekend."
And yet the powers that were kept persisting with putting countless dollars of our rates revenue and taxes into pumping a meaningless name with disjointed marketing messages.
But a moment of joy flashed across my computer screen this week as I read about the new direction the City of Mandurah and the Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) are taking, namely to focus on promoting Mandurah, not Peel.
If MAPTO and the City of Mandurah build an effective campaign specifically around the word MANDURAH, I am confident that the entire region will benefit anyway. One need only glance slightly southward to see the success that marking "Margaret River" has had on surrounding townships.
While fruit from this direction change may take a few years to manifest, I for one am confident that it represents far better value for the Mandurah ratepayer, and from my experience in marketing it will send a far clearer and more effective message about what a wonderful place Mandurah is to visit and live.
At the City of Mandurah council meeting on Tuesday, 24 July, a Notice of Motion was moved by Mayor Rhys Williams to devote the expertise and resources of the Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) to focus on growing Mandurah’s tourism sector.
While recognising the broader Peel Region will always be a part of the reason why people are attracted to Mandurah, Mayor Williams said he wanted MAPTO to make its major focus Mandurah.
As a result, the City’s current funding arrangement with MAPTO will cease on 31 August 2018 with a new four-year agreement commencing on 1 September 2018.
This agreement will be based on the following conditions:
MAPTO to exclusively focus on the development of the visitor economy in Mandurah
Within their scope of services there is a focus on product development, investment attraction and destination branding, including working with the City of Mandurah on the development of a new Mandurah destination brand.
MAPTO CEO Karen Priest said the organisation was looking forward to the new opportunities this agreement will bring in terms of growing the visitor economy in a sustainable way.
” Recent consumer research revealed Mandurah was the sole Peel destination mentioned by respondents on an unprompted basis as a WA short break destination,” Ms Priest said.
“This agreement will allow MAPTO to capitalise and build on that knowledge and develop clear branding for the city.”
Ms Priest emphasised that a part of the tourism story will continue to be the diversity of quality visitor attractions in the Peel Region outside of Mandurah.
“With an increase in promotion of Mandurah, a natural flow on effect will be more visitors looking for activities and attractions within a short drive of the city, and those attractions will continue to be an important part of our narrative,” Ms Priest said.
“We have had some fantastic recognition recently; Mandurah was named WA’s Top Tourism Town for 2017 and the latest figures from Tourism Research Australia show the number of day trips to Mandurah jumped from 2.32 million in 2016 to 2.65 million in 2017.
“We are looking forward to building on this success in partnership with the City of Mandurah. A strong tourism economy benefits the whole region through more jobs, better infrastructure and a more vibrant place to live and work.”