Tourism Australia flexes brand awareness in US traveller market with fresh partnership

‘Choose your own travel adventure’ designed to reach and engage Expedia.com audience in the US

Tourism Australia is ramping up awareness of its ‘An Australian Adventure’ campaign through a new partnership using Expedia’s technology platform

The promotional body has been actively targeting US traveller market through activities such as the Dundee Super Bowl commercial and ad campaign.

“The Dundee campaign was the start of a bigger push for us into the US market over a few years. The intent of that campaign was obviously to get our high value travellers in the US market to plan and book a trip to Australia,” Tourism Australia CMO Lisa Ronson told CMO.  

With the latest campaign, Tourism Australia is using Expedia Group’s global reach and technology platforms to amplify awareness and ultimately grow US bookings. The goal is to position Australia as a top destination for American travellers and to help shift consideration among competitive destinations. 

The ‘Choose Your Own Travel Adventure’ style of campaign is designed to reach and engage the vast Expedia.com audience in the US to help potential visitors plan and book their perfect trip to Australia. Four state partners, including Tourism Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Visit Victoria, are participating in the campaign to increase Australia’s overall presence online. The campaign microsite features a mix of dynamic content, videos, imagery and information to showcase Australia’s unique landmarks and landscape, welcoming people, nature and wildlife, and food and wine.

“Video, in particular, is really important to consumers when they’re travelling so that will continue to be a key part of the campaign,” Ronson said. “What we’re working through now is deciding which experiences we feature in the latest tranche.”

As part of the process, visitors to the ‘An Australian Adventure’ microsite need to answer a few questions around trip duration, traveller type, ideal trip type and interests. They then receive a range of tailored destination recommendations and suggested itineraries for their perfect trip to Australia, along with video, imagery, helpful tips and information – all designed to drive conversion. 

“The partnership with Expedia is really critical for us because Australia can be quite an abstract destination,” Ronson continued. “It is a big destination so to be able to break down that planning and booking into simple itineraries is key. The simplicity of asking, ‘How long do you plan to travel to Australia? Five to seven days? Five to 12 days? - those sorts of things are really critical so we get consumers through the funnel and get them ultimately booked on a trip to Australia.”

“With Expedia’s reach, distribution platform and ability to target, they have exactly the conversion tools we need to capitalise on Dundee and now translate the incredible awareness and interest we’ve generated into high yielding holiday bookings.

“Online travel agencies play a key part in the US consumer’s travel journey, from research and planning through to booking, and Expedia Group has the largest share.”

Reflecting on the success of the Dundee campaign, Ronson said the mock film teasers and Super Bowl ad were all about capturing America’s attention and creating a platform to capture the conversion opportunity for destination Australia.

And the results of the Super Bowl campaign are now starting to come to fruition.

“We measure across a period of time, so the actual sales results will be pegged to our 2020 strategy. But what we’re looking to do is take the US market from a $4 billion market to a $6 billion market,” Ronson said. “And we’re expecting off the back of this specific push, that there will be an incremental $800 million spent in the Australian economy.

“The early results are fantastic: We had the first, second, seventh and ninth most viewed videos of the Super Bowl. We had the most brand recognition and brand attribution of the whole Super Bowl - second to us was Doritos and they were quite a ways behind.”

From a brand point of view, the message cut through and the attribution to Tourism Australia is clear for consumers, Ronson continued.

“The website traffic for some of our key partners, like our airline partner, Qantas, and key distribution partners, doubled within the space of 24 hours. We’re starting to see the bookings come through now. It takes time, obviously, travel is a long-time planning and booking exercise, but the early results are fantastic.”

Eyeing 2018 market opportunities, Ronson said digital campaigns form a critical part of her overall marketing strategy.

“Digital is the way consumers are researching and planning, and increasingly booking their trips,” she said. “So we make sure performance marketing and digital marketing - and also the user experience on our site - is as fun as it possibly can.”

Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are already on the radar, too. “We had some great success with our virtual reality that we launched about 18 months ago,” Ronson said.

“Getting the consumer as immersed in the destination as we possibly can before they get on the plane is really critical, and digital channels ultimately help us do that.”

The agency also recently launched an expression of interest for a creative and brand agency, a process that happens every five years, Ronson added. “We will be focused on getting that process done over the next six to 12 months.”  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu   

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