Unlocking Destination Potential through Activating the Experiences SectorNov 06, 2023
The digital era has revolutionised the way travellers plan and book their journeys. Expedia Media's recent report, "The Path to Purchase: Uncovering How Travelers Plan and Book Online," sheds light on the dynamic landscape and the integral role of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) in shaping travellers' decisions. By the way - this report is free alongside any other research referenced in this article.
Expedia's study reveals an important trend: of the 141 pages of travel content consumed by travellers within 45 days before booking, a significant 66 pages are accessed through online travel agents. This underscores the immense influence OTAs wield over travellers' decision-making processes
Consider this scenario: a traveller, uncertain about their destination, seeks experiences and ‘things to do’ that resonate. Expedia's findings align with Tourism Australia's insights, suggesting that the variety of activities and experiences in a destination significantly influence the final travel choice. For instance, showcasing Australia's Great Barrier Reef diving experiences or Outback adventures on OTAs during the dream phase can sway an undecided traveller towards Australia.
However, a gap exists: many extraordinary experiences, integral in shaping destination choices, remain underrepresented in the online realm. Many of these businesses fail to have connected, modern booking systems, nor the foundations to be considered "tourism ready" to be tapping into the OTA landscape. Failing to feature these unique experiences during the dream phase can mean missed opportunities in converting travellers' choices towards these destinations.
To bridge this gap, there requires to be a full activation strategy in place to nurture these amazing experiences to become "tourism ready" with live inventory available to all OTA partners. Through activating this sector it allows for Australia's diverse offerings to capture the attention of prospective travellers, steering them towards choosing Australia as their ultimate destination.
While traditional campaigns were once the cornerstone, the current dynamics demand a more proactive approach. DMOs must transition from mere advertisers to facilitators actively curating and promoting Australia's array of experiences during the dream phase.
Imagine a traveller scrolling through OTAs, encountering Tasmania's unique wildlife sanctuaries or the rugged beauty of the Kimberley region – presented compellingly by DMOs and accessible for booking. These captivating experiences, strategically positioned in the dream phase, can solidify Australia as the final choice in the traveller's consideration set.
In this digital age, passive destination advertisement falls short. DMOs, in collaboration with OTAs, must engage, curate, and present a diverse range of experiences during the dream phase to ensure Australia remains an irresistible choice for global travellers.
By actively ensuring the experiences sector is "tourism ready" and "distribution ready," Australia can assert its position as the ultimate destination choice, locking in tourism bookings and solidifying its place in travellers' itineraries.
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