One of the most heavily impacted industries across the world in 2020 is the tourism industry. Who would’ve ever thought that there’d be a time in our lives where it would be illegal to travel beyond 5km of your home? The Grampians is one destination that was out of reach for its target market, which led to major difficulties and adjustments for their marketing team. However, we’re lucky that our whole nation can now finally experience all there is to offer on this glorious region.
We work alongside the Visit Grampians team across digital marketing and design, including social media content and advertising, web and eDM content and paid search, along with additional multi-channel campaigns. Grampians Tourism marketing head, Sarah Myers from Myers Strategic Marketing, discusses what the team learnt last year and what they’ll be doing over the coming months to optimise their marketing initiatives.
1. What do you see as the biggest shift in consumer mindset and preferences coming out of 2020, when it comes to tourism marketing?
Consumers’ willingness to look at tourism experiences on offer close to home is one of the biggest shifts coming out of 2020. When the option of jetting off on a plane was removed, and even driving interstate was risky, people’s minds were opened to what was on their doorstep. Victorians were now considering destinations that they previously may not have. Plus an appreciation of not just local nature and experiences, but locally produced food, wine and produce also became more of a focus. The Grampians region has rebounded strongly, as we’ve found that our brand and our destination is highly appealing to people’s mindset coming out of lockdown. The Grampians delivers on what people craved during that time – nature, wide open spaces and fresh air.
2. Looking forward, what’s one marketing insight/improvement you’ll take from 2020 and leverage in the future?
It became so apparent in 2020 how important it is to ensure that your messaging and tone speaks to the current mood and mindset of your target audience. There were examples of brands that were completely tone-deaf to the situation, and it was not a good look. For a message to resonate, it has to be current, relevant and mindful of the broader context of what is going on in the world.
And, what’s one thing you wouldn’t do as much?
Plan! Just kidding – I love a plan, but what 2020 showed, was that plans need to be adaptable. Plans need to have contingencies factored in and be able to adapt to changing situations.
3. What do you see as being the most important marketing trend/tool for the tourism industry in 2021?
With international borders likely to remain closed for most of 2021, there has never before been an opportunity to get city dwellers out to the regions. Pre-COVID, Visit Victoria data told us that 55% of Melburnians hadn’t been into regional Victoria in the previous 12 months! That represents over 2.2 million people. COVID-19 and the inability to travel further afield has given us a unique opportunity in time to capture the attention of Melburnians like never before, and profile the breadth of experiences we have within a few hours’ drive. We need to entice them to visit and demonstrate that these destinations are worthy of more than a weekend – we want to grow length-of-stay and encourage mid-week visitation. Regional destinations are being swamped on weekends, however without international visitors, the mid-week business is still very challenging.
4. How do you think the Australian scenario differs to the global context when it comes to marketing in your sector in 2021?
We are so fortunate in Australia to be free of COVID-19 in the community, and consumer confidence is on the rise. Travel is very much back on the agenda in Australia, and there is pent-up demand. We can safely and confidently encourage travel again!