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Changing The Way The Industry Works

Tourism authorities need to get with the times

Sarah Cowell, Aviation Business Magazine  Jul 06, 2009

Gerard Brown of RDG takes a look at how tourism authorities must use route development initiatives to maximise ROI from their marketing spend in the current climate.

Difficult economic trading conditions concentrate the mind wonderfully. There is a myriad of options for promoting a destination to those who have the money - but today’s climate demands certainties. Destination marketing expenditure must be offset by measurable results, and those results must translate into additional visitors and bed nights. Given the necessity to work smarter, often with smaller marketing teams and budgets, the analysis and quantification of any results has never been more important.

Today, destination marketing organizations are looking for more ways to market their destinations to the right people, at the right place, and at the right time with truly measurable results - and this is possible at World Routes, which styles itself the global meeting place for every airline and airport. The fifteenth World Route Development Forum takes place September 13-15 in Beijing and marks something of an evolution in the annual event, as more tourism and economic development agencies than ever before will be joining their airports to take part in the pre-arranged airline meetings, exhibition, networking, speaking, and sponsorship opportunities. By participating in such an event and taking part in the wide range of initiatives, there is a strong possibility that destinations can gain new air services, and hence it is possible to know exactly how many new visitors this activity has generated.

Strength in numbers

There is growing recognition from around the world that when airports join forces with tourism authorities, government agencies, and other stakeholders, these destination “teams” can provide all the information that carriers require to penetrate new markets such as information on new markets and developments in infrastructure.

Ninety-nine percent of destinations and tourism authorities market themselves well to tour operators and the public, and yet the final piece in the jigsaw – obtaining new air services – is performed well by only a tiny fraction of this number. At World Routes, tourism authorities can cost-effectively promote and differentiate themselves, move up the supply chain, and start speaking directly to potential carriers in conjunction with other stakeholders.

South Australia is a prime example of how a destination can get itself onto the world map in a relatively short space of time by involving all the stakeholders in the region to influence airline decision makers and drive traffic. In a demonstration of its commitment, "Team Adelaide" - the collaboration between Adelaide Convention & Tourism Authority (ACTA), the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), Adelaide Airport Ltd (AAL), and the Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED) – has recently made a successful bid to host the Routes Asia Forum in 2010.

Commenting, Phil Baker MD of Adelaide Airport said: “We look forward to demonstrating to visitors not only how easy it is to get to Adelaide, thanks to the new terminal, but also the spread of potential travelers - those attracted by the Mediterranean lifestyle and cosmopolitan image and its well-earned reputation for smart, efficient, and high-tech business facilities. Securing a return on our investment is very important to us and we know that all the Routes forums will deliver results and strengthen relationships for the future.”

The Right People, Place & Time

Team Adelaide, not surprisingly, sees such an event as an opportunity to show at first hand that it has "arrived" as a major destination. “The Route Development Forum will enable us to reach the key players who can assist us to achieve our route development objectives. We want to uncover the secrets of South Australia and reveal the untapped demand for our destination. Who better to share our secrets with than the route planners who can supply our growing tourism market?”

Unlike most of the international tourism exhibitions and conferences, the structure of World Routes ensures that meetings will be set up with the correct people, and participants can tap into that knowledge where they require it. It makes sure you get to speak to the right people in the right positions, even if you don’t know who the key people are. So you get a foot in the door and the opportunity to concentrate on making a business case for your region without worrying about footfall.

At World Routes in September, the network planners from the World’s airlines will be gathering once more specifically to discuss the possibility of new air services at a time when the industry is suffering and there is increased pressure for new and more profitable air services. You can be assured that the tourism authorities and DMO’s will be attending in greater numbers than ever before to communicate their messages to the right people, at the right place, and at the right time.

Tourism authorities need to get with the times
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