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I’m a destination marketer. These are my top 5 tips for preparing your business for the reopening.

As Australia prepares to open its international border, many destinations, tourism organisations and operators are eagerly awaiting the return of tourists. However, after two years of being a domestic only destination, what should we bear in mind when it comes to marketing our experiences and products?

Amy Gough is the owner of Wanderlust Communications, a marketing agency that specialises in destination marketing and the tourism industry and she’s shared the top 5 priorities to maximise your bookings once the border opens.

Based in Perth, WA, we're all too aware that Western Australia is yet to open to other states and countries, but we feel these tips are still relevant to WA businesses to help them prepare for the inevitable (and hopefully imminent) border reopening.

1. Give your website some love

Your website is your online shopfront, and it’s one of the first places a potential visitor will look for information. Ensure your website is on-brand and is simple to navigate. You can keep it simple, no need for bells and whistles, but it does need to be easy to use, have all the relevant information, feature high quality imagery and reflect your product, service or brand. If you’re short on budget, don’t forget to use the images from your RTO, STO or Tourism Australia to up the ante on your destination images. Once the front of the website is sparkly, don’t forget to also update the back end for keywords and basic SEO. There’s a great SEO checklist here from the legendary Kate Toon. You can follow the steps to ensure your website is correctly optimised and performing at its best. Blogs, videos and regular fresh content also help with organic SEO, so if you have some time, create some new articles, FAQ sections and upload some new video content.

2. Leverage national, state and regional campaigns

Tourism Australia has launched a $40 million campaign to entice travellers back to Australia – and the state tourism boards will also be running their own international and interstate campaigns. For smaller operators or destinations, we’d always recommend trying to use the same content pillars and themes in these campaigns and apply them to your own marketing. It’s much easier to dovetail into large scale activity than run inconsistent brand messaging. The Tourism Australia campaign is running under the banner: “Don’t Go Small. Go Australia.” The campaign is about reminding travellers whether they are dreaming of discovery or looking for relaxation – Australia is the perfect destination for an epic adventure.

The campaign will focus on icons, spectacular natural attractions, unique experiences, vast landscapes and epic adventures. Whilst focusing on the Great Barrier Reef may not help a destination in the remote outback, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to align yourself with some of the other key pillars. Focus on your unique selling point and why it’s special. Tourism Australia and the state agencies are always looking for content to share in their campaigns, so sign up to their newsletters and be proactive at sharing your story, content and offering.

3. Follow the 5 Rs

Destination marketers have been modelling the impacts of COVID 19 on tourism, and whilst during the height of the pandemic, people were reluctant to plan travel, we are now in a place of more certainty and there is a general positivity about travelling again. Academics came up with the 5 Rs to consider when the borders finally do open. This is a great sense check for all tourist businesses, but especially destinations and regional tourism organisations. You can read the full report here.

4. Embrace your natural assets

Research is telling us that people are looking for more natural and authentic experiences once they start to travel again. This is something all operators and DMOs should bear in mind. Find your niche in these areas and really ramp that up in your marketing. Do you have a remote and pristine environment? Do you offer an authentic cultural experience? Can you provide wide open spaces and outback luxury? Do you run a City hotel and can offer people incredible cleanliness and world class food and beverages? Tap into the consumer demand right now and dial up those assets in your business.

5. Video, video, video

We’ve been talking about video for years, but especially since 2020, video is taking on an even more important role. People are now used to virtual experiences and online meetings, so they expect more when researching destinations or services. Static content no longer cuts through on social media, and it’s also a lost opportunity in terms of storytelling.

The good news is that passion content and rough, unedited short form video is increasing in popularity. So you don’t need to invest thousands in professional video content to start jumping on this trend. Video from your phone is perfect for social media and even your website if you invest in a tripod and microphone. Just ensure your content is on-brand and authentic.

TikTok and Instagram Reels will continue to feed the demand for short-form videos. As a compelling form of storytelling, video content is one of the best ways to engage and grow your online community. Instagram, for example, continues to prioritise Reels in the algorithm, which means more exposure for these types of videos above all else.

Wanderlust Communications has worked with a huge number of DMOs and RTOs, as well as numerous operators and attractions in Australia. If you need help with your marketing strategy, get in touch today for an obligation free chat to find out how the team at Wanderlust Communications can help.

Some of the incredible clients we've worked with over the years.

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