The findings of a comprehensive review of how Australian tourism product is distributed internationally have been published by Tourism Australia and its state and territory tourism partners.
The “Distribution 2020: Situational Analysis” report provides industry with an overview of current distribution approaches and potential models for the future across Australia’s key holiday markets.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the report, compiled with the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers, was part of the ongoing Tourism 2020 work as Australian industry looks to double the value of overnight tourism to A$140 billion by 2020.
“It’s a partnership with the states and territories that looks at how people are planning and booking holidays globally and how we can influence this for Australia’s benefit.
“Global tourism is amongst the most competitive and fastest changing industries, heavily influenced by advances in technology and changes in consumer behaviour. We recognise this fact and that’s at the heart of this review to ensure we’re doing our job in the most efficient and effective way possible,” Mr McEvoy said.
The project involved extensive consumer research and interviews with more than 60 travel agents, wholesalers, inbound tour operators, online agents and direct sellers.
One of the key industry bodies to have provided input for the report was the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).
ATEC’s Manager Director, Felicia Mariani, said the project and the subsequent report would be an excellent tool in assisting the industry to navigate the complex world of distribution in today’s tourism landscape.
“The report shows that to be effective in today’s world of product distribution, operators must be engaged with and connected across all the touch points that consumers use in booking their holiday,” she said.
Mr McEvoy said that the review has further reinforced the benefits of governments and industry working closely together and speaking with “one voice” when promoting Australia and Australian tourism product to the world.
“Industry feedback has indicated a strong desire for all levels of Government to work more collaboratively in relation to international distribution, which is certainly something we are very focused upon,” Mr McEvoy said.
Some of the other key insights from the report include:
Clear trend towards increasing digitalisation of the consumer purchase cycle with greater planning, booking and sharing happening online;
Traditional distribution channels remain important. In mature markets the level of internet use for planning and booking appear to have reached a plateau;
46% of holiday travellers to Australia are booking some aspect of their trip online prior to arrival, 54% through traditional channels;
Price, complexity and level of familiarity are barriers to online booking, though consumers want to do more online. Consumers are now using a wider range of sources
“The report confirms that the key elements of the distribution strategy for Australian tourism product are in place. But at the same time, there are opportunities to do some things better, including monitoring future ‘game changing’ technologies,” Mr McEvoy said.
In response to the report, Tourism Australia and its State and Territory tourism partners are now working on an integrated plan of trade activities for Australia’s key international markets. This will include a review of existing distribution activities, including trade events and missions, to looking for potential efficiencies and better value for industry.