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Travel & Tourism

New Australia.com, good strategy, questionable execution

By William Bakker | 06.13.07 | Comment?

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Tourism Australia launched their new Australia.com recently. It’s a dramatic departure from the old website, both strategic and tactical.

The new strategy quickly pushes users down to the individual state and territory websites. No more in-depth content provided on Australia.com. Only few things remain, such as video, promotions and travel essentials such as climate and visa information. And of course the giant map. Users can find the details on the state and territory websites. These websites have a link back to Australia.com, so users to move to the next destination website. There is a partnership with Google to provide a search across all destination websites and includes an advertising component.

This makes a ton of sense. Australia is huge. Providing all the content required for consumers to plan their trip is a lot of work, something Tourism Australia probably won’t be able to manage themselves. But individual states and territories can. These destinations deal with the scope of information a consumer needs. It’s big enough for consumer to deal with, but not too small, so users don’t have to visit many websites. And by moving consumer down for details instead of duplicating efforts, Tourism Australia can use it’s resources for other activities.

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The search functionality across all states and territories is very well done (the tabs look familiar tough). The sponsored links aren’t contextual. That’s a miss. It’s delivered by DoubleClick, a company Google recently acquired so I’m sure that will change over time when Googles Adwords algorithms are integrated.

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Some of the other execution is disappointing. There ‘s no overview of what each state and territory is about. Where do you start? One paragraph for each would probably be enough for a consumer to start. The interactive execution takes long to load, the map is not very useful and the videos are commercials. The attempt to create a network of websites by bolting on an Australia.com icon the the state and territory websites that links back to Australia.com is a bit clumsy. Every time I move back to Australia.com, the whole flash thing loads again, making it very annoying to move around. The experience also changes from website to website and there’s little consistency.

I’m sure they’ll improve the tactics over time. They already changed some things. The introduction video doesn’t show every time when you move back from another destination website anymore, for example. But I hope for their 6 million visitors/year, they do it quick.

UPDATE 6/25:

Jens has additional thoughts.

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