Elevator pitch: FilmQuest, the world’s first film tourism company combining B2B and B2C
Besides sheep and rugby, what else do non-New Zealanders identify us New Zealanders with? If you said Lord of the rings, you guessed correct. Which is why the idea to allow tourists to visit the Waikato’s Hobbiton was an absolute gem of an idea. Similarly, filmmaker Pennie Hunt and film tourism expert Stefan Roesch have jumped at the idea of film tourism, their point of difference being the world’s first film tourism company that combines B2C and B2B services into one cohesive business model, FilmQuest.
Promoting movie and TV tourism, FilmQuest encourages fans to journey beyond the screen, exploring the locations of their favourite films while allowing local industry groups to boost their visitor numbers.
“The purpose is to capture the customer journey in its entirety, starting with pre-trip inspiration through our website. Once on location, the fans can use our app to compare fantasy with reality by watching film clips that match the scenes shot on site.”
Roesch’s idea for FilmQuest ultimately stemmed from his passion and insights into the world of film fandom. Before creating the company, he had wrote a book uncovering the world’s best film locations and how to benefit from the exposure of production.
“While film tourism is still in its infancy, visiting film locations is becoming trendy. At the moment, around 80 million travelers each year are inspired by movies and TV shows when choosing their next travel destination,” Roesch says.
FilmQuest is significantly founder driven, with all the content for the website being created by Roesch and Hunt, however to progress, the team acknowledge they will need to shift towards crowd sourcing, turning the masses of film location tourists into contributors.
“Our vision is to build a worldwide community of film fans in collaboration with the world’s major film studios,” says Roesch.
Film location tourists often spend more time and more money in a destination compared to regular travelers. They tend to be tech-savvy, independent and willing to explore the ins and outs of a location, making them ideal consumers for FilmQuest. Another benefit for film tourism is that it is not as season dependent as other tourism.
With film tourism becoming popular, FilmQuest has successfully gained relationships with companies such as Netflix and Sony pictures. FilmQuest’s challenge now however is to be heard by consumers in the midst of the commotion on the internet. While living in the golden age of television Roesch says the growth in the area of film tourism has been staggering over the past five years. “It is set to accelerate even faster in the near future, in particular with emerging markets such as China and India,” he says.
As the recipient of a six month mentorship programme with Hamilton business incubator Soda Inc, Roesch and the team have the opportunity to work with New Zealand’s most successful tech entrepreneurs Vaughan Fergusson. The primary focus for Roesch is to build a future-proof revenue model and become investor-ready. FilmQuest’s website will also have a revamp to allow fans the opportunity to upload and share their personal travel content. A core product of FilmQuest will also include the film location app which is currently in progress.
“Film Quest will do its part in shifting the mass consumption of places to a more meaningful, immersive form of travel,” says Roesch.