The Aussie experience – What marketers can learn from the regional travel industry
With 80% of Australians taking regional holidays, Ed Steiner says marketers of all industries could gain valuable insights from understanding why Aussies just love going bush.
The great Australian backyard is attracting Australian travellers in droves. Kantar TNS’s ‘2018 Domesticate study’ into the travel mindsets of Australians found that 80% of regional-dwellers and three-quarters of city-slickers intend to visit a non-city destination in the next 12 months – but we’re not going bush because it’s regional.
The overwhelming insight is that what’s most important is the experience and the communication delivery – something that all marketers must heed, no matter your brand or your industry.
Be wary of language and focus on the experiences
When it comes to travel, people don’t think about regional destinations as brands, so for travel marketers it’s imperative to stop talking about ‘regional’ travel.
What is resonating with Aussies about regional locations is the true diversity of experiences on offer; and the key to unlocking a destination’s potential is emphasising the right combination of experiences that are unique to a place and its surroundings.
Aussies are drawn to experiences. In the domestic travel sector it’s all about those that engage Indigenous culture, showcase our people, our past and our land, and optimise relaxation.
For example, in 2018 some of the regional destinations we’ll be choosing for personal development are:
- farm-stays for connecting with the land, escaping city life
- the bush and outback for a change of pace to reflect and discover our culture
- rivers and lakes for a relaxed way to reconnect with family, friends and nature, and
- the snow – while indulgent – is delivering an invigorating balance of introspection and adventure.
Relaxation – escaping the ‘every-day’ and getting away from crowds are the most important motivators of intrastate travel and our qualitative research overwhelmingly revealed that for Australians, it is what they can do at the destination that really counts.
Traditional travel channels rely too much on word-of-mouth
The influence of destination websites has fallen. In 2017, 38% of people listed them as extremely influential or very influential. This year it was only 30%. Special packages and online offers fell to 27% from 34% and online review sites to 23% from 31%. Only word-of-mouth remained appealing – and it’s the experiences that Australians are talking to each other about.
We’re also a nation breaking up with social media when it comes to advice. Over half of Australians think most information on social media is unreliable compared to just over a quarter of our APAC neighbours, while 49% tell us that the branded content on social media is not even relevant to them – so marketers must revisit how they communicate the experiences in order to lure the purse strings of domestic travellers.
This research will apply to all Australian marketers
Holidays are now considered an essential expense for Australians to ‘escape’ their busy city lives, so it’s becoming more and more competitive to reach their share of wallet. Brands also not only need to improve the way that their content relates to and engages their customers in the moment; they need to ensure they capture the heartstrings with experience and work much harder to build trust.
When marketing to Australians – no matter whether it’s fine wine or finance, toothpaste or travel – its critical to remember that your brand is your promise and the experience is what will make your customers come back again and again.
Ed Steiner is director of travel and leisure at Kantar TNS Australia
Image copyright: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo