NT Government bets $1m on digital marketing for tourism

Northern Territory government announces $1 million in funding for tourism business operators covering digital advertising, social media and technology investments in a bid to draw more tourists to the region

The Northern Territory Government is giving $1 million to tourism business operators for digital marketing activities in a bid to draw more visitors to the region.

The Digital Marketing Activation program was officially launched by the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Matt Conlan, last week, and is aimed at encouraging tourism partners to utilise digital channels to promote themselves, drive bookings and boost tourism revenues from Australia and internationally.

Conlan claimed recent research showed less than 10 per cent of operators are fully utilising digital advertising across the territory.

“Print, TV and radio advertising are all important but with online distribution channels growing globally, NT operators need to be in front of the game to remain competitive,” he said.

The money is part of a wider initiative to turn around years of declining visitation to the NT and attract new Australian and international tourists. Earlier this year, the NT Government announced it would boost its annual international marketing budget to $15m in order to help deliver $2.2bn in annual visitor spending and 1.7m visitors to the NT economy by 2020.

Arresting visitor decline with partner smarts: See our in-depth interview with Tourism NT CMO Adam Coward

The $1m cash injection will be available during the 2013/2014 financial year and includes $500,000 in industry digital marketing rebates for cost per click-based advertising and retargeting, as well as $250,000 to help travel agents create ‘digital tours’ promoting locations across the territory. The remaining $250,000 will be used to provide e-training and ‘digital coaches’ that help operators build sufficient digital advertising skills to use digital channels effectively.

Activity and tools covered include online booking engines and payment gateways, social media, digital marketing and social media plans, QR codes, website analytics, rich media, search engine optimisation and web content, content management systems, customer databases and mobile applications.

Eligible businesses can receive up to $3000 for the range of products and services they opt to use. As a way of illustrating the low-cost nature of digital marketing, the NT Government pointed out cost per click campaigns can be as low as $1 per click to attract a potential visitor to a business’ direct website. With as little as $500, operators could engage with 500 new customers to help drive their business and NT tourism.

Minister for Business, David Tollner, said the program will help territory businesses expand their operations and reach new customers.

“Digital marketing is vital to ensure financially healthy businesses,” he said. “But, the digital world can sometimes seem like a minefield for inexperienced businesses. That’s why as a leg up into the Digital Activation Program, the Department of Business will also run a Kick-Starter program for those tourism businesses just starting out.

“This will set them on the right path when it comes to digital marketing and ensure they are equipped with the right tools to take full advantage of Tourism’s broader Digital Activation Program.”

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