As we make our way through peak tourism season the region is bustling with visitors. Many member businesses are operating without the full complement of staff they need, which makes the outstanding customer service on display across the region all the more exceptional.
While accommodation and hospitality venues are reporting strong holiday numbers, not all segments of the industry are feeling the benefit of current visitor numbers. Tours and attractions are continuing to experience reduced visitation due to the lack of interstate and international visitors, and over the last week or so we have started to hear from some wineries which are finding business is quieter than usual.
Our team is currently working to gather further details on gaps in visitation so that we can plan our marketing and advocacy activity accordingly. Please ensure your experience is noted by completing our simple quarterly visitation survey.
Looking ahead, we expect to see the usual transition in visitor profile to those without school-age children from next month. MRBTA’s focus will be on appealing to high value, experience-seeking visitors through our promotional activity.
Meanwhile, continued COVID outbreaks on the East Coast, and fluctuations in WA’s border status are likely to have a continued adverse impact on confidence to book holidays among potential interstate visitors. This has no doubt been a major factor in Jetstar’s decision to postpone the commencement of flights from Melbourne until June 2021. While this news has come as a disappointment, Jetstar has confirmed that it remains committed to the route, and MRBTA is working with City of Busselton, Australia’s South West and Tourism WA to ensure the success of the route when it does resume.
Please read on for a snapshot of MRBTA’s marketing and visitor servicing activity for last month, as well as opportunities going forward.
December Insights: MRBTA Marketing & Visitor Servicing Channels
December saw website use grow considerably compared with the previous year, with users up 25% to 101,000 and sessions up 25% to 147,000. This growth was propelled by completely new visitors to the site, showing that visitors who may not usually visit the region are turning to margaretriver.com as a travel resource.
Top landing pages included ‘Things to Do‘; ‘Festival of Busselton New Year’s Eve Fireworks‘, ‘Family Friendly‘ and the town pages for Margaret River, Dunsborough and Augusta. For the first time, margaretriver.com has attained number one Google search engine rankings for all the major town/city names in the region.
- Instagram reach up 21% in December, to 633,000 (the total number of people who saw content)
- Facebook reach up 39% in December, to 565,000 (the number of people who saw any content from our page)
- The majority of followers on our platforms are Perth-based and female, between 25-44 years of age.
- Customer service touchpoints (telephone, email, live web chat, direct social media messaging) totalled 6,000 for the month – down from 7,000 in December 2019.
- 21,000 visitors used the region’s three Visitor Centres at Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River during the month of December (down from 32,000 last year).
- Popular enquiries included things to do for families; pet-friendly activities and places to have lunch.
Monthly newsletters to consumers and media have maintained high engagement. The industry benchmark for Travel & Leisure is an open rate of 15.7%.
- Consumer Newsletter Sent to over 29k subscribers. 28% open rate and 16% click-through rate.
- Media Newsletter Sent to 253 subscribers. 27% open rate and 13% click through rate.
New Blog Stories
53 members were featured across seven blogs curated by the MRBTA in December.
Visitation to blog stories was up 68% in December with over 40k page views compared to 24k page views the year prior. This is the largest increase in pageviews on record for a single month.
- What’s Happening in December?
- Explore Downtown Dunsborough
- Christmas & New Year Trading Hours in the Margaret River Region
- Get to Know your Lifeguards
- Ultimate Margaret River Region Gift Guide
- 14 Amazing New Experiences to Try this Summer
- Movies Under the Stars: Your Outdoor Cinema Roundup
Sharing stories on the region is a great way to enhance your engagement with visitors. We encourage you to share via social media, email and your own website.
Media coverage featuring the Margaret River Region across December included:
- RAC – Your Ultimate Guide to Busselton (Partnership with Tourism Western Australia)
- Gourmet Traveller – The Sustainable Dishes Australia’s top chefs are serving now
- Audi Magazine – A feast for all the senses – explore WA’s unique Margaret River region
- CNBC – Margaret River with kids
- Vacations & Travel – Windows Estate Puts Picnics on the Margaret River Map
- Qantas Magazine – Discover the Wonders of Australia’s South West (supported by Tourism WA and Australia’s South West, Jetstar collaboration)
The MRBTA annually supports over 30 major events to drive off-peak visitation to our region.
Events we supported in December include Here Comes the Sun Festival, Festival of Busselton, Movies at Cape Mentelle and 15 Days of Summer.
A number of major events and festivals have confirmed their dates for 2021. View the event list here.
Regional Magazine Relaunched: Introducing Tales & Trails
We are excited to continue supporting a Margaret River Region print publication in 2021. With the regional brand redevelopment underway, we will be using an evolved design and layout for the magazine. We will launch a contemporary publication with the title ‘Tales & Trails’ that offers a mix of aspirational content and practical trails and guides. The first edition will be released in March for Autumn/Winter 2021.
You can view Premium Publishers’ Media Kit here with information on advertising packages, which include guaranteed print and online editorial coverage.
Expressions of Interest for Autumn Content
Expressions of Interest for blogs can be registered with the marketing team. Blogs are free for Primary members and $99 per inclusion for Secondary members.
- X Alternative Accommodation Options
- Lo-Fi Living
- Top Ten Takeaways
- Explore: Bustling Busselton
You can also buy-into the The Ultimate Art Lover’s Self-Drive Trail for $199. Contact Us with your EOI.
- Summer Image Library: Members can access our summer image library and share inspirational visuals of The Margaret River Region. Please always credit the photographers when using images. View here.
- How to Leverage Your Events: The MRBTA regularly support major events in the region and have noticed a growing demand from members hosting smaller events wanting to gain leverage and build their audience. In response to this, we have put together a guide with useful tips on promoting your event. View here.
- Rediscover Videos: The regional Rediscover compilation video shares inspirational messaging for a domestic and intrastate market. Members are welcome to share the video across their channels. View here.
- Domestic Travel Sentiment Tracker: This report from Tourism Australia tracks how Australians feel about travelling domestically and is updated fortnightly. View here (scroll down)
Please get in touch for paid opportunities such as web ads, TV advertising in the Visitor’s Centres, or a top 3 listing on margaretriver.com.