Tourism Aus exploits 2m Facebook fans

Tourism Australia has beaten other tourism organisations around the world by having the highest number of fans on its Facebook page, which in turn influences the organisation's marketing strategies, according to the managing director of Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia has beaten other tourism organisations around the world by having the highest number of fans on its Facebook page, which in turn influences the organisation's marketing strategies, according to the managing director of Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia reaches 2 million fans on its Facebook page.
(Screenshot by CBSi)

Tourism Australia launched its Facebook page in May 2008, and has since gained over 2 million fans. According to Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, this is a major milestone for the organisation.

"With almost three times as many fans as our nearest rival, Las Vegas, we can effectively demonstrate our country's continuing appeal both to Australians and people overseas," said McEvoy.

According to McEvoy, the best way to get a consumer's attention is by using the same channels that they use.

"To be relevant, Tourism Australia has to provide compelling content, and to deliver impact, we have to use the channels where consumers are researching and booking their holidays — and today, that's online.

"Through Facebook, we get real stories about what people are currently thinking about Australia, which influences our marketing and makes the platform a primary interaction point with our global advocates."

Of the 2 million fans, 850,000 are based in Australia, and the rest are based in other parts of the world, which Nick Baker, executive general manager, Consumer Marketing of Tourism Australia, said helps spread the word about Australia as a holiday destination.

"Our strategy embraces our 850K fans based here in Australia who advocate for their country to their international friends on our behalf," said Baker.

However, it is hard to determine how many of those international fans will actually visit Australia, according to Baker.

"While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of fans who visit Australia, we know from the posts that many of the fans have already visited and that others have a strong intention to do the same."

Baker then referred to a survey by Teletext in the UK, which "found that more than 27 per cent of people booked a holiday after seeing their friends' Facebook holiday photos, and that 25 per cent actually went on to book the same holiday".

According to Baker, word of mouth is a powerful way of getting a message across, and social media is the perfect outlet for that, where fans can share their own photos and experiences.

"We have simply created a platform for those travellers to share their travel photos and advocacy on Australia to a wider audience," said Baker. "Every week, we get over 1000 fan photos posted to our Facebook wall. Each one of these photos not only tells a story, but also allows fans to interact with each other and share that content with their own networks."

Tourism Australia added a "Things to do" tab in early December, which is still in a trial phase, that lets other businesses in the travel industry add themselves and any upcoming events.

"We've had ['Things to do'] up for the last 30 days, and have over 250 Facebook tourism industry pages and over 1000 events that are currently listed, which is a good start," said Baker.

Baker further stated the importance of businesses to be using social media.

"Social media is where the consumer is, so that's where we as an industry also need to be. We have 230 companies' Facebook pages linked to our [Australia] site, and this is growing."