Pie Time a huge success
The Southern Highlands NSW has fully entrenched itself as ‘Australia’s Home of Pies’ following a hugely successful destination marketing and events campaign which celebrated the humble Aussie icon throughout the month of June now known as ‘Pie Time’. Now in its second year the unique and integrated campaign targeting visitors from the regions key source markets has generated enormous exposure for the Southern Highlands as a tourism destination whilst also delivering new levels of economic, social and cultural benefits to the businesses and community of the region and its surrounds.
Throughout the month of June the region was rebranded and become known as the ‘Southern Pie-lands’ and was endorsed this year by Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Clr Ken Halstead and local Federal MP’s Angus Taylor (Member for Hume) and Stephen Jones (Member for Whitlam) with the production of a campaign video – ‘Pie Partisan’ which was shot and launched from Australian Parliament House Canberra. This humorous video showcased an agreement from all sides of government to support the Shires name change from Wingecarribee Shire to Southern Pie-lands. The quirky and fun approach to the PIE TIME destination marketing campaign by Destination Southern Highlands along with development and introduction of numerous new pie themed events and experiences conducted by operators in the Southern Highlands proved to be a major draw card for new and repeat visitation throughout the month of June.
Manager Destination Southern Highlands Steve Rosa said “the unique and integrated campaign this year has gone to another level and performed beyond our expectations generating increased awareness and visitation for our region during our traditional off-peak season coupled with some great business results in which most participants in the campaign have claimed increased levels of business against the same period of time in 2017. It is estimated that Pie Time helped to grow the visitor economy ‘pie’ with a record number of approximately 200,000 pies being produced and sold by over 50 pie venues during June. This is a staggering 100% growth over the previous inaugural year. We also estimate an injection of over $2,000,000 into the local visitor economy. Even retail businesses that were not directly involved in the campaign have reported record levels of sales and visitation to their businesses throughout June.”
Organiser of this year’s two day PieFest at Bong Bong Racecourse Bowral Elizabeth Nichols from The Big Event Group said “we were totally floored by the attendance at this years revamped festival event with close to 8,000 attendees over the weekend which was double the attendance of our inaugural pie festival event held last year in Corbett Gardens Bowral. Whilst we had a few logistical issues in catering for the enormous crowds our industry partners are now planning on how to make the signature Pie Time event even bigger and better for 2019.”
Following post campaign surveys of local industry and community and a recent industry debrief, organisers have taken on board some great recommendations for Pie Time 2019. Steve Rosa said “we are now looking to get on the front foot for 2019 and in conjunction with our key event partner The Big Event Group we are excited to kickoff Pie Time 2019 with the NSW/ACT Best Pie Competition being conducted on Thursday 30 May & Friday 31 May with the announcement of winners at a gala dinner event on Saturday 1 June. Visitors and locals will then be able to view the competition pies for all categories on Sunday 2 June following the awards. This major event will officially launch Pie Time for 2019. In another major change the 2 day PieFest event will ‘bookend’ the month long Pie Time festival of events by being conducted on the last weekend of June of Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June at Bong Bong Racecourse Bowral.”
A short campaign wrap-up video has been produced that thanks the ‘Pie Minister’ and his ‘Pie Cabinet’ for endorsing the Pie Time campaign along with showcasing the very successful PieFest.
Plans are now underway to ‘cook up’ an even bigger and better campaign and range of pie events and experiences for 2019 with a meeting of interested parties set down for Wednesday 5 September 10.30am at Mittagong RSL.