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Increasingly, travellers are moving to the internet as their principal source of information for planning and booking holidays. Ecotourism operators now need to trial and utilise internet-based …

Increasingly, travellers are moving to the internet as their principal source of information for planning and booking holidays. Ecotourism operators now need to trial and utilise internet-based technologies for their effectiveness in reaching target markets. A new eco-certified tour product in SE Queensland was launched last year with an internet service provider generating product inquiries so as to establish a substantial database of potential buyers from which key information has been extracted about potential customers, their demographics and their provenance. The �work in progress� case study will illustrate what outcomes have been achieved to date, and how the selected strategy can be used to customise product options for niche audiences, to link in with the marketing programs of RTOs, to measure marketing

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  • 1. Innovative Online Marketing of Ecotourism Products: a Case Study Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference Tuesday 26 th October, 2010 Angus M Robinson
  • 2. Today’s Agenda
    • Country Charm™ Discovery Tour – Where & Why?
    • First stage marketing – outcomes and observations .
    • The transition to full online marketing – some early outcomes and observations.
    • Social media marketing – first experiences.
    • What’s on the Horizon?
  • 3. ‘ Experiential’ Tourism – A New Product Proposition
    • The global market is looking for unique product experiences and a broader mix of experiences.
    • The ‘ geotourism’ experience creates a more holistic experience , and is a move towards the ‘experiential’ tourism model.
    • In short, ‘experiential’ tourists seek memorable experiences .
  • 4. Geotourism incorporating all types of ‘placed-based’ tourism Boley, B.B. after Thompson, S. 2009 Sightseeing Cuisine Agritourism Indigenous Tourism Heritage Tourism Cultural Tourism ECOTOURISM Geotourism i.e. ‘experiential’ tourism
  • 5. GEOtourists Five Most Important Travel Purposes
    • Increasing knowledge of geological sites and landforms.
    • To satisfy my curiosity.
    • To have a memorable experience .
    • To obtain intellectual stimulation .
    • Visiting destinations offering a unique bundle of features and attractions (i.e. ecology, geology, culture and history).
  • 6.  
  • 7.  
  • 8. Scenic Rim – Green Cauldron National Landscape
  • 9. The Scenic Rim – Features of a relatively new tourism region
    • Only 1 ½ hours drive away from Brisbane and the Gold Coast , and close to major and rapidly growing urban and regional population centres.
    • Beautiful mountain and rural landscapes.
    • Strong cultural and history attributes – plenty of variety.
  • 10. More Scenic Rim Features
    • World heritage national parks.
    • A relatively long period of amenable climate conditions throughout the year.
    • A new, relatively unknown tourism area.
    • Operators are very friendly and enthusiastic.
    • A lot of country charm!
  • 11.  
  • 12. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Features of a New Product Type
    • Self-drive & self-guided and customised itinerary.
    • 2 or 3 nights accommodation (3-4 star or 4 star), all meals included.
    • Visits to national parks inc interpretation centre.
    • Visits to boutique agricultural attractions.
    • Safari wildlife experience.
  • 13. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour More Features
    • Geology ‘experience’; flora and fauna information.
    • Heritage attraction; visits to rural villages.
    • Up to 12 collaborating operators.
    • Supports Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.
    • Retailed through the Travel Associates (Flight Centre) group.
  • 14. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Marketing Challenge
    • How does a new business launch and market,
    • a new style of tourism product in a
    • relatively new tourism area in a
    • crowded domestic market place where
    • customers are using new internet marketing channels ?
  • 15. But new product commercialisation is all about
    • ‘ innovation’ which is
    Turning ideas Into products That people want And are willing to pay for Source: Hamish Hawthorn, ATP Innovations
  • 16. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Original Marketing Plan (August 2009)
    • Brand development and establishment.
    • Brochure production and supply chain distribution to regional VICs and Brisbane Marketing.
    • Leisure Solutions ® and participating partner websites , inc retailer - Travel Associates and AVIS Australia.
    • Listing through RTO website www.visitscenicrim.com.au
    • Listing & promotion through Ecotourism Australia, AND
    • Brochure distribution/lead generation through Travelbrochures.com.au – the Innovation!
  • 17. Leads Generation -Travelbrochures.com.au From August 2009
  • 18. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour TravelBrochure.com.au Outcomes
    • Developed own database of 1,000+ brochure requests – includes email addresses, postcodes etc (750 mailed brochures); average 20 brochure requests per week.
    • Enhanced understanding of customer profiles and aspirations e.g. Qld rural inquiries.
    • Provided a platform for follow-up targeted email marketing in May and a promotional offer email campaign in October this year.
  • 19. Country Charm Tour Leads (1,000) Demographics - Gender
  • 20. Country Charm Tour Leads Demographics - Age
  • 21. Country Charm Tour Leads Source
  • 22. Country Charm Tour Leads Source
  • 23. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Targeted Email/Facebook Campaign
    • Scenic Rim RTO commissioned a Brisbane metro TV campaign in May 2010.
    • Leisure Solutions ran a parallel targeted email and Facebook Ads campaign focused on ‘nature-based’ travel interest consumers in Brisbane metro area.
  • 24. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Updated Marketing Plan (August 2010)
    • Major website upgrade with product linked directly to high ranking corporate web site – Leisure Solutions .
    • Distribution of only digital brochures through Travelbrochures.com.au
    • Paid advertising through:
      • totaltravel.yahoo portal
      • Australian Tourism Data Warehouse
      • Agritourism Australia portal
      • Google Ads
      • Facebook Ads
    • Listing and special offers through RTO website www.visitscenicrim.com.au
    • Listing & promotion through Ecotourism Australia
    • Direct email promotions to the new product database
  • 25. Leads Generation -Travelbrochures.com.au From August 2010
  • 26. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Website Performance - 2010
    • Website upgrade undertaken in August .
    • Measurement focus changed from ‘brochure downloads’ to ‘site visits’ following website upgrade.
  • 27. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Website Performance - 2010
    • Website upgrade undertaken in August.
    • Measurement focus changed from ‘brochure downloads’ to ‘site visits’ following website upgrade.
  • 28. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Advertising Measurement, September 2010
  • 29.  
  • 30. Country Charm TM Discovery Tour Email Campaign Measurement, 7 – 18 October 2010 Page Views (19% of emails opened)
  • 31. There’s Nothing Like Australia – HELP!!!
  • 32. The Marketing/Branding Supply Chain – Global Internet Search Options
    • The Country – Australia
    • The Experience/Escape – Green Cauldron or Scenic Rim
    • The Regional Tourism Destination - Southeast Qld or Brisbane
    • The Market Destination - Gold Coast or Brisbane
    • The Product – Country Charm Discovery Tour
  • 33. Internet Presence - Google Search Links #
    • ‘ Australia’ – 590,000,000
    • ‘ Green Cauldron’ or ‘Scenic Rim’ – 780,000 or 192,000
    • ‘ Southeast Qld’ or ‘Brisbane’ – 3,040,000 or 61,500,000
    • ‘ Gold Coast’ or ‘Brisbane’ – 77,100,000 or 61,500,000
    • ‘ Country Charm Tour’ – 295,000
    • ‘ Country Charm Discovery Tour’ – 215,000
    • ‘ Leisure Solutions’ # – 27,800,000
      • # No 1, 2 & 3 Ranking on Google, No 1 on Yahoo & BING, 18 October, 2010
  • 34. Internet Presence - Google Search Links # Comparative Australian Tourism Destinations
    • ‘ Sea World’ – 170,000,000
    • ‘ Hamilton Island’ – 35,300,000
    • ‘ Blue Mountains’ – 3,480,000
    • ‘ Phillip Island’ – 2,570,000
    • ‘ Great Ocean Road ’ – 2,210,000
    • ‘ Dream World’ – 2,140,000
    • ‘ Sydney Opera House’ – 1,150,000
    • ‘ Taronga Zoo’, ‘Sydney Aquarium’, ‘Kakadu’ ~ 300,000
    • # 18 th October, 2010
  • 35. Internet Presence Google Search Links and Ranking #
    • ‘ Country Charm™’ – Ranked No 4: 18,000,000 searches
    • ‘ Country Charm Tour’ – Ranked 1 to 6: 295,000 searches
    • ‘ Country Charm Discovery Tour’ – Ranked 1 to 22: 215,000 searches
    • ‘ Self-Drive Tour’ – 1 st Sponsored Link from 6,310,000 searches
    • # 18 October, 2010
  • 36. Internet Presence - Yahoo Search Links and Ranking # (with advertising on TotalTravel.yahoo portal)
    • ‘ Country Charm™’ - Ranked No 8: 98,600,000 searches
    • ‘ Country Charm Tour’ – Ranked 1 to 5: 27,000,000 searches
    • ‘ Country Charm Discovery Tour’ – Ranked 1-27: 4,470,000 searches
    • ‘ Scenic Rim + Country Charm Tour’ – Ranked No 1-32:173,000 searches
    • # 18 October, 2010
  • 37. Case Study Online (Digital) Marketing Outcomes
    • Profile of product has been enhanced considerably and search engine ranking has escalated not just through ‘optimisation’ but through content diversity and multiple listings and referencing.
    • Full control of advertising budget ; far more flexibility (also with content) and daily measurement of outcomes.
    • Ability to offer and measure promotional deals.
    • Digital marketing is definitely more eco-friendly !
  • 38. Case Study ‘Learnings’ So Far Social Media Marketing
    • Facebook enables specific targeting of market areas, demographic and specific interest groups, particularly to complement STO & RTO ‘billboard’ advertising campaigns.
    • Facebook also provides customer feedback (‘trip advisor’ style service).
    • Linkedin can expand personal business network , offer opportunities to join industry discussion groups , and to be introduced to new business opportunities.
  • 39. Social Media Trends – A Business Perspective
    • A recent survey from the Council of Small Business of Australia and Optus showing 56% of small and medium businesses have no intention of using social media in their companies .
    • But the same survey, based on interviews with 340 SMEs, shows 28% of SMEs are currently using social media , with the accommodation and catering, marketing and media, and cultural and recreational services sectors among the biggest users.
  • 40. Social Media Trends – A Customer Perspective
    • Australians spend more time on social media sites than any other country in the world , with around 8 million users on Facebook .
    • Two in five (40%) of ONLINE Australians now interact with companies via social networks .
    • 86% of Australian internet users are looking to their fellow internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands.
    • Australians’ engagement with online ‘word of mouth’ communication is going to increase in coming years as social media plays an increasingly important role in consumer decision making.
    • Nielsen 2010 Social Media Report
  • 41. Use of online/social media tools by new media users (Source: Mansell Group, USA)
  • 42. Email – still the killer application online!
  • 43. Take Aways – Online Marketing
    • Travellers (our customers) are rapidly gravitating to the internet to plan and book holidays .
    • New tourism products can gain ‘fame’ and grab attention by intelligent and strategic use of the internet.
    • Online marketing means far more than just committing to a website.
    • Strategic online marketing can create customised databases and measurable marketing outcomes .
    • Social media sites such as Facebook can deliver a wide range of benefits to tourism operators.
    • Email marketing remains by far the most effective means of reaching customers.
  • 44. What’s On the Horizon?
    • Online enabled tour experience – from information gathering, booking, on tour, and post-tour experiences.
    • CRM integrated email marketing.
    • Big migration to video streaming enabled by broadband rollout .
    • Expansion in mobile tourism applications.
    • Increasing role for social media applications.
  • 45.
    • Contact Details
    • www.leisuresolutions.com.au
    • [email_address]