April Destination Marketing Snapshot & Navigating the Months Ahead

Monitoring the travel marketing space throughout April has involved flexibility, listening to community and industry partners, and watching a record number of webinars. The key takeaway we’ve learnt is that consumers continue to feed their interest in travel, even while restrictions are in place.

High trafficked travel blogs globally, show that the tone that works best right now includes storytelling that is aspirational, content that is more immediately satisfying (you can do it while at home), and travel stories that offer an emotional, human connection. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to steer through the months ahead, but if we can be both forward thinking and reactionary at the same time, we’ll be in a good position to kick-start our destination recovery campaigning when restrictions ease.

Instead of the usual Marketing Snapshot this month, we thought it might be useful to share a brief overview of April’s activities, as well as some of the themes that Your Margaret River Region continues to focus on, in the rapidly-changing travel landscape.

Any questions please email me! Sophie (Marketing & Communications Manager) at sophie.mathewson@margaretriver.com

Media

  • Sunrise in Dunsborough: National weather was streamed live from Dunsborough on April 28th with the town’s ambassadors participating in the early hours of the morning. Chef Tony Howell was ready to go at 3.30am with a fresh marron in hand and championed the regional town’s nature walks, surfing, wine, produce and people. Jazz singer Cassandra Charlick shared her unique and brilliant vocal cords through a good morning song which had everyone dancing. Sunrise averages approx 300,000 viewers. Thank you to all involved.

  • Halliday Top 10 Wine Regions: The Margaret River Region ranked #1 in Halliday Wine Companion readers Top 10
  • Australia’s Best Cellar Doors 2020: Gourmet Traveller revealed the best cellar doors in the Margaret River Region.
  • Taste of Australia: Hayden Quinn explored the hidden gems of our region which aired on Network 10’s Taste of Australia
  • QANTAS Travel Insider took a 360 degree view of The Margaret River Region
  • The Times UK: Featured Western Australia as the best big trip of 2021 after lockdown – sharing a hero destination shot of Smiths beach and celebrating the Margaret River wine region as part of the two week holiday planner.

Web

Essentials Landing Page: Early in April, a landing page listing essential services open throughout the region was created in response to the queries coming in to the Central Reservations Team and to our Margaret River social media channels. This page has since been refreshed to combine some inspirational content with practical information.

We have now created four separate Essential Services sub categories to click-through from the initial landing page. Categories are; Essential Services, Local Produce, Cafes & Restaurants, and Wineries & Breweries.

Inspirational content below follows the user journey, allowing them to access the region from their home through DIY recipes and virtual offerings, and read about some of the people behind the produce, in a Food Heroes series.

If you are not listed on any of the Essentials pages but would like to be, please email Membership Manager Jasmin Rouw: jasmin.rouw@margaretriver.com.

A reminder too that our homepage also links visitors to updated travel safety guidelines. Please feel free to add this link to your own websites if useful.

Consumer EDM

A consumer EDM encouraging visitors to go ‘Armchair Travelling’ through the region, was sent to over 48,000 subscribers.

 6 New Blogs Published 

  1. 9 Virtual Experiences in YMRR
  2. Meet Surfing Legend Tom Hoye
  3. No Stranger to Isolation
  4. Food Heroes: Dave Navarro
  5. Food Heroes: Katrina Lombardo
  6. Food Heroes: Dave Seegar

Events

MRBTA are supporting regional events with their Lotterywest Grants for Event Cancellation Relief.

YMRR Magazine

The winter magazine has been paused and we will keep you updated whether it will resume for spring.

Social Media

Instagram reach was down for the month of April compared to the same time last year. Engagement however, held steady with a slight increase by 1.55% of engagement rate per post  – which means people were liking, sharing and commenting. Facebook had an increase in fan growth (494 new followers) and an increase in engagement by 14%.

Popular posts included people in solitude enjoying the natural environment, and hero destination shots like the Boranup forest and big surf breaks. An image of a solo beach goer at Bunker Bay captured 42k impressions and a reach of 37.1k. Shares were also up 26%.

Tip: Trends show that while web engagement is down, engagement across social channels is up so treat social as your new landing page. Any content is likely to be more immediately engaging and discovered on your social channels than on your website – and probably in a larger way than usual.

Content Planning

Across social media and through mr.com, we’ve established some themes that will be relevant to consumers over the coming months.

  • Inspirational content.

Inspirational/aspirational content is still relevant. Tourism Australia are telling us that this is not a time to go completely dark. It’s an opportunity to harness the digital landscape as cut through while people are sitting at home looking for some escapism. Within this theme, think about the Margaret River Region’s open spaces and natural beauty. Content in this vein will reinforce the region as a healthy holiday destination that is focused on a sustainable future.

Avoid imagery that shows close contact or large crowds, as well as images of high-risk groups such as those over 60. Images of solo-travellers are recommended under this theme.

Hashtag Tip: Use the hashtag #pausenowplaylater when sharing your inspirational content

  • Community stories that emphasise the human condition.

One thing this pandemic has taught us is that we are all in this together. Acknowledging the resilience of our community during these difficult times allows outsiders to tap into the Margaret River region’s culture of generosity. Lonely Planet Managing Director of Destinations, Jim Brody, shared some of the travel authority’s top blogs with us last week. Interestingly, of the top three, number two was about an elderly couple meeting at the German/ Danish border each day. These human stories have more weight at the moment, as we are unified across the globe by a shared sense of compassion and humility.

Hashtag Tip: Use the hashtag #margiesmoments when sharing stories of community resilience.

  • Virtual access to the region

Just because visitors can’t access the region physically now, doesn’t mean you can’t share your product with them. The Margaret River Region has always been home to pioneers, innovators and creative thinkers. In the face of a global pandemic this has not been more evident, with businesses quickly adapting to the new normal by way of offering virtual tours, takeaways & deliveries.

Our April Consumer EDM lead with the ‘Armchair Travelling’ theme. Harness this concept to share your own ways to ‘see’, ‘hear’, and ‘watch’ the sights and sounds of the region with visitors who are stuck at home. Long-form video, audio, and photography you have already produced in the past, is perfect for re-purposing now.

Content Calendar

A link to our rough content calendar for May and June can be seen here. Given our budget is heavily reduced due to covid-19, the content calendar utilises previously published content, articles from our Autumn magazine, and aggregated content from local contributors who are producing work at the moment that is relevant. This is not a hard and fast calendar. If circumstances change, we are ready to adapt and adjust accordingly. If you feel that you can contribute content or stories, please reach out.

Ongoing Activity

The next 4-5 months allow us the room to work on some projects behind the scenes. We are still in the process of building our evolved consumer website. To retain our position as an industry leader and the number one destination authority, margaretriver.com requires a significant upgrade to improve performance and user experience. With a mobile-first approach to design, the new site will focus on:

  • Simplified site architecture
  • Contemporary design
  • Pre-determined templates for content types (articles, itineraries, landing pages)

The project will provide the opportunity to remain competitive in the digital space and improve brand reputation.

Other work underway in the coming month will include:

  • Continued work growing our new asset library HIVO
  • Brand evolution work with agency Forward Scout