Travel is a nearly universal passion. Planning that next dream holiday can be just as exciting as the travel experience itself. But in a competitive holiday market, South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) needed to communicate the depth of travel experiences the state offered, to turn those dreams into actual bookings.

When potential visitors think of South Australia, most recognise what the state is most famous for: wine. Fewer are aware of its uncrowded, endless white beaches, amazing produce, unique landscapes, exciting cultural events, top restaurants, hidden bars, and great adventure experiences such as shark diving.

SATC needed a platform to tell a deeper story to achieve its goal of attracting more visitors to the state. It also wanted those travelers to visit more destinations, and to be inspired enough to actually take the action of booking a holiday.

The challenge for Fairfax Media was to tell a new story every day, so that SATC was “always on.” The result was a ground­breaking digital content marketing solution that has changed the way consumers look at the state’s tourism offering, and that has created a new benchmark in innovative tourism marketing.

Native advertising was only part of the solution. Fairfax Media developed a full content marketing strategy encompassing all digital platforms. This enabled more than 200 South Australian stories to be told to its audience, and resulted in 512 days of reading time.

Beautiful imagery and quality content are part of the Traveller brand promoting South Australia as a tourism destination.
Beautiful imagery and quality content are part of the Traveller brand promoting South Australia as a tourism destination.

The volume of content allowed us to publish South Australian stories utilising our popular Traveller brand, and to attract audiences to specific experiences year-round and within the optimum planning window for booking holidays.

Keeping consumers reading and engaged was key. Fairfax’s heritage of great storytelling ensured that consumers were fully immersed in the content with long reads, e­-magazines, top 10 lists, infographics, and itineraries.

But we also needed to go beyond great writing, and the Web allowed us to engage in multiple ways with video, photo galleries, and interactive elements like quizzes.

One important insight we uncovered was that consumers enjoy reading content at the top of the sales funnel, but find the search for value stressful at the bottom. Based on that insight, we brought in a trade partner to display pricing from the first interaction to “anchor” prices and allow our readers to identify value more easily.

As mobile interaction accounts for half of audience’s digital activity, we also published adaptive Web pages and created multi­-page Web apps, optimised for touch screens and promoted to mobile devices. Editorially and visually, the adaptive approach created a premium user experience with in­built prices and itineraries tailored to each platform.

Extending booking tools across digital platforms was key to success of this groundbreaking campaign.
Extending booking tools across digital platforms was key to success of this groundbreaking campaign.

The campaign was amplified through owned, earned, and paid media with a focus on social.

To optimise content, determine the most effective elements throughout the campaign, and measure results, we developed a dual analytics and research structure. It included brand uplift, holiday booking research, path to conversion, ROI modeling, and data capture.

The results show that not only was the audience engaged with the content, they were also successfully inspired to start researching.

Key results included:

  • Our audience spent an impressive average of one minute and 27 seconds​ per page, across mobile and desktop.

  • The specific touch-­device­-optimised templates delivered three times ​the number of page views of adaptive pages on mobile devices.

  • Unaided awareness for “first domestic destination which comes to mind” moved from 1% to 10%.

  • Favourability increased to a new high​ of 79%.

  • Visitation intention (the most important metric) almost doubled​ to 57%.

  • When directed to SATC’s consumer-facing site, consumers were reading twice as many ​pages of content than an average visitor about a broader range of experiences.

As our client SATC Marketing Director Brent Hill said about the campaign:

“Fairfaxs understanding and analysis of digital behaviours have provided us with many new approaches to engage everyone that appreciates the destination that is South Australia.”