The youth travel industry has been urged to embrace Tourism Australia’s digital marketing strategy and use it to reach and engage with potential customers more effectively.
Managing director Andrew McEvoy told delegates at last week’s Adventure & Backpacker Industry Conference (ABiC) TA’s See Australia Facebook page now has more than 900,000 fans, many of whom are interested in buying backpacker product. He said:
These are people who want to come to our place and are asking questions about the country. It’s like the phone ringing for you guys because they’re talking about places where you have hostels, tour attractions and operations. Without being purely commercial – ‘come and stay here’ – get online and see them a bit.”
Responding to claims the backpacking sector failed to engage sufficiently with TA’s There’s Nothing Like Australia interactive digital map, McEvoy said it plans to open the map back up soon and urged the industry to encourage their customers to post comments and images on it.
He added: “We want to get people who’ve had a trip to Australia to start using it as a visitor book, to leave 25 words and their greatest image. I’d encourage this industry to get your clients into it.”
Meanwhile, McEvoy said the lingering effects of the GFC meant China would overtake the UK as Australia’s largest source market in 2011, but predicted the Brits will return in droves once the economy improves.
He said: “When they get beyond their austerity budget, you watch those guys bust out and really want to travel again and Australia will be top of mind.”