Tourism in Australia is doing it tough at the moment. Not only has the GFC knocked the wind out of our sales, the skyhigh US dollar is making us an expensive destination. Because of these, and lots of other factors, tourism bodies are looking for answers in the trendy social media scape.
Destination marketeers have the most to gain from social media, and there are some I’ve been very impressed with. Have a peek at these groups, excelling online.
Have you ever been enticed or influenced through your interactions with a destination marketing body on social media?
Lately I’ve been delivering lots of social media themed workshops with DEEDI aimed at helping small business find their footing in this new social landscape. One of the things that I *love* is the RSS feed on Twitter keyword searches, as it’s incredibly useful for keeping on top of what people are saying on certain subjects.
In one of the workshops I set up a feed for anyone mentioning the word Daintree, and it turned up this little gem this week: a tweet about the new Daintree Discovery Guide iPhone app. The app is an initiative of long-time Daintree local, Chris Dahlberg.
For a long time I’ve thought that there’s a massive gaping hole in apps for anything tourism related. The official apps, like the Tourism Queensland app, are fairly basic. I’m keen to give this new app a go on my next trip north to the Daintree.
If you’ve downloaded it and roadtested the app already, please comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.
Social media is a hot topic on the lips of all business owners! Many are wondering how to best utilise social media as a marketing avenue. If you’re thinking about this too, come along to my Social Media for Business workshop in Cairns on 2nd December 2010.
I will be covering all basics, so if you’re not sure how to start off your social media life, come along and I’ll walk you through it.
The workshop is being hosted by DEEDI, and costs just $33. To attend, download the registration form and follow the instructions on the form.
Social Media topics covered:
• Developing an easy social media strategy
• Best websites to concentrate your efforts
• Using Facebook for business
• Using Twitter for business
• Examples of companies using social media well, and badly.
Leave a comment if there’s something else you’d like me to cover. I look forward to seeing you there.
Unlike Kaj who is here for the penguins, I am here to hunt seals. Not in a Canadian club baby seals kind of way, but to photograph them. We’ve had great success finding the New Zealand fur seal, but the elephant seal has proven elusive.
First attempt at seals was the appropriately named Shag Point, just north of Dunedin. It’s such an insignificant spot on the map that Wikipedia doesn’t yet have a listing for it! We saw 32 fur seals here, and we were quite chuffed at our first spotting attempt.
The seals seem like quite a lazy breed, and I could easily see why they might have once been almost hunted to extinction. They just lie about on the rocks soaking up the suns rays, completely undisturbed by our gawking and photographing. The seal pups have a lot more life though, and they’re always jumping and frolicking about on the rocks, in and out of the water, and often seem to annoy their mum with their incessant playfulness.
New Zealand strongly protect their seals, so we couldn’t get too close, but sometimes they hop close to you, which is quite a treat for a wildlife-loving photographer! Here’s a couple of lovely pics we took of the seals up close.
We have now also seen seals at three other locations, but the sightings weren’t near as good as the first one at Shag Point. There were also loads of the gorgeous red footed seagulls at Shag Point, and after we went and had fish for lunch I saved my leftover fish to feed to the gulls. Despite trying really hard I was unable to hand feed them, but they certainly thought about taking it from my hand, as you can see from the pic below. It was a really windy day, and the gulls were such eloquent gliders.
Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the single elephant seal we believe we saw off in the far distance in Porpoise Bay. There’s a strong chance it could actually have been a sea lion. He was more than 1km away and seemed to be terrorising a family, or vice versa. By the time we reached the beach he had started swimming away. We hope to have better luck over the next few days in Fiordland.
It’s really cold outside. Not just a little bit cold. It’s bitter, but without snow. I think the wind chill factor is -15C. But despite the icy outdoors, we’ve still managed to get sunburnt!
We spent 2 days in a little charming town called Oamaru. It is famous for its Blue Penguin Colony, and we were treated to 115 penguins on arriving to their slumber after a big day out on the ocean fishing for a sardine-like fish called sprat.
They’re quite funny to watch as they form group of 10 or so penguins out in the ocean called a raft, and they swim in together. The raft provides them safety from predators. As they arrive the waves knock them over, and knock them off rocks, and the sea shore momentarily becomes a mess of penguins. They quickly waddle out of the water, and then they sit as a group drying off. It is said that they are actually cooling down too, as the big swim home causes them to overheat.
Kaj and I also took a tour at the colony where we were able to walk all through the breeding boxes and little mummy penguins come out to get nasty at us. We saw 4 fluffy chicks too, without nasty mummies. Their parents would have been out at sea catching fish to bring home. Just like other birds they regurgitate their food to feed their young.
It’s hard to believe but we spent hours watching these penguins, and didn’t get home until midnight. There’s still light in the sky right up until 10pm though, and this is really when all the penguin action happens. Just as the last light is beginning to fade.
The next day we were checking out all the old buildings in Oamaru, and we found a little chick behind some crates at the back of the building. He was quite a cutie as you’ll see from the photo, and just starting to lose his baby down feathers so he looks like he’s wearing a luscious fur coat. We decided to come later that night to check that his parents come home from sea, and we found 3 other chicks in various places hidden around the building. These old buildings obviously provide a warm safe haven to raise young.
Oamaru also has a rare colony, and these penguins are much bigger, but shier too. We waiting in the very cold wind until they were waddling in and were treated to them calling and quacking at each other to check who had arrived.
From Oamaru we’re heading further south to Dunedin (Done-ee-din, not dunny-din as I originally though) and it’s likely to be even colder yet. The chill is still a novelty, although the novelty is likely to wear off soon.
Today is our only full day in Auckland, so we picked up some of those ‘Auckland in 24 hours‘ style publications and weeded out most of the options as self-promotion advertisements.
We’re staying on Auckland’s North Shore, which is an historic and architecturally quaint, in a gorgeous bed and breakfast Stafford Villa. Our hostess Chris is a superb decorator, and our room is just divine. It features lots of antique things, but doesn’t feel old and dusty as some heritage buildings can. We have a huge four poster bed which is every bit as romantic as it sounds.
Chris is also a great cook with similar food ethics to myself. As much as possible the produce is local and organic, and she only buys free range eggs and bacon, and looks for little local manufacturers. I absolutely love her attention to detail and all the effort she puts into her fare.
She spoiled us with a luscious breakfast unlike I’ve ever had in a bed and breakfast before! We had local strawberries and blueberries, kiwifruit, star anise cooked apricots, toasted granola, home made yoghurt and freshly baked muffins. If this isn’t enough, she then cooked us a full kiwi breakfast of free range bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and baked tomato. Everything was served with decadent silverware. See the pic of our breakfast table!
We decided we would catch a ferry across the harbour to the CBD, and just walk around the city. It is incredibly humid here today, and people are blaming me for bringing it with us. The harbour ride was beautiful, but purchasing a local SIM proved to be a lot of drama. For future reference the Telecom NZ phone operators are as useless as the Telstra ones.
We are headed to a very popular restaurant The Engine Room this evening, who have a crummy website but amazing food. They’ve won lots of awards, and I’ve even heard of them from at home. The restaurant is always booked out completely, so it’s lucky we booked 4 months ago. In the last week The Engine Room staff have called 3 times to confirm our booking!
First day was fantastic, Kaj is pleased with the overall plans, which is a huge relief. Hope everything is smooth back home.
I’ve discovered a secret is hard to keep once you’ve told several hundred people. Even though they too know it’s a secret, it’s easier for them to slip up than it is for oneself.
For Kaj who rarely pays attention, he missed all 7 people who told him directly the secret holiday destination. I have allowed him to believe some red herrings, and I’ve even slipped a few deliberate ones myself.
Kaj became privvy to the destination on the plane en route to Auckland. I gave him the 32 page holiday itinerary which I’d meticulously planned over the last 6 months. He thought Auckland was just a stopover, and I’m delighted he’s pleased with my planning.
We’re mostly touring the South Island of New Zealand. Arriving in Auckland and staying for just 2 days, we will then fly to Christchurch and circumnavigate arriving back in Christchurch.
First and foremost, it’s the weather. I yearn for a cold Christmas. Whilst New Zealand will be celebrating Summer, just like us, they celebrate it with blistering winds, single digit night time temperatures and glorious sub-twenty days. It will not be dissimilar to a Cairns winter, but it will certainly last for longer.
Because this is Nicky, you must know it’s mostly about the food. New Zealand is a haven for the foodie calorie unconscious, like myself, and I can’t wait to dig into the copious summerfruit, exquisite local produce and amazing lamb.
Wine needs a category of its own, wouldn’t you say? My two favourite varieties; Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are championed in New Zealand. We will go to the winemaking hubs of Marlborough and Central Otago and seek out the best.
We don’t take enough photos, and so I’ve asked the kind Kiwis to please put on some nice weather so we can photograph their spectacular scenery. This possibly means being a photographers widow, which I detest, but Kaj has promised to take photos of me too with his new flash.
And of course we don’t go anywhere without seeing wildlife in its most triumphant environment, in the wild. The assortment of critters will indeed be amazing, and they’ll be many we’ve not seen before.
There’s not enough website awards in Australia with credibility, but SmartCompany have just held their inaugural SmartCompany Web Awards which shows some outstanding contributions from the Australian web community.
Having entered a website I can tell you that the criteria is thorough and asks a number of probing questions regarding cost to build, time to build and the all important standards compliance.
In true web-friendly style they ditched the gala ball idea for announcing the winners and did it via a webinar instead. Nice work SmartCompany!
Below are a selection of my favourite winners from the awards.
Simplicity and ease of use are two key factors designers strive for when building a new website.
Building a fancy new website worth thousands of dollars won’t be worth the effort if users can’t find it. Understanding search marketing is a key component of any successful website, which is why coupon retailer RetailMeNet records monthly web traffic of 10 million unique browsers and 22 million page impressions.
Developing a website around an eCommerce offering relies on simplicity and good design in order to make your business stand out. Data backup company Carbonite has managed to achieve a simple eCommerce offering without burdening users, according to category judge Naomi Simson, CEO of RedBalloon.
One of the key factors of our web award winners is simplicity, the ability to create a complex offering in an easy-to-navigate website. According to judge Simon Van Wyk, Hothouse Interactive owner, fundraising site Everyday Hero took out the best online tool award for its no-fuss design.
There are many ingredients to a successful blog, including strong design, good navigation and great SEO. But the key element is content – the best blogs have a clear connection with their audience and are updated frequently to keep the conversation going.
To read more about the SmartCompany Web Award winners in great detail, have a peek at their article.
It’s rare I receive an email newsletter that I pay close attention to, but the team at Returnity sent out a great one this morning, which perfectly highlights the points they were trying to get across regarding how visitors read your web and email content.
Heat mapping studies provide great insight into how people consume web content, presenting critical applications to how emails and web pages are designed. We have reviewed several studies and summarised the key findings for you.
This is the first email newsletter I’ve recieved from Returnity since I subscribed, but if you’d like to subscribe and catch some useful tips, you can subscribe here.
Today I attended a TTNQ function to explore the newly created digital strategy blueprint for the marketing of Far North Queensland through online channels. The comments were generally positive, and the mood at the function was one of satisfaction and warmth.
TTNQ have strongly adopted the recommendations of the Kleinhardt Research Report, and have dramatically changed their online strategy.
1. They’re rolling out a new main website to live at cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au to replace tropicalaustralia.com.au.
2. There will be many mini-sites to tackle niche topics such as Cairns attractions (cairnsattractions.org.au) and Port Douglas tours (portdouglastours.org.au).
3. Tourism products will be invited to host video on the TTNQ website, and this video can be embedded on their own website. The new website will be very video-centric.
4. TTNQ will operate 6 webcams around FNQ and invite members to purchase at a discount their webcam system, thereby having a product branded webcam on the TTNQ site.
5. Social media network marketing including Facebook and Twitter presences will be outsourced to social networking specialist firm, Mudo Media.
6. Travel product content will be updated by operators through a username and password, and initially propogated by the DCM Res database. No more ATDW content.
7. News feed of local travel-related news will appear on website from Cairns.com.au.
8. Commission-based bookings will no longer be taken by the site. Direct links to operator websites will be provided.
9. There is no current funding to support a PPC or Google AdWords campaign.
What are your thoughts on this strategy, and how can it be improved.