9 January 2017
Last month, Tourism Australia and Qantas invited the Australian tourism industry to submit their best social posts from 2016 for the opportunity to win return trips for two, to see their content featured on the big screen at the G’Day LA Gala dinner, on 28 January 2017 in Los Angeles.
A panel of judges from Tourism Australia and Qantas looked for photos and videos that best showcased Australia as a memorable and desirable holiday destination. Judging considered content captured by guests or by the individual operator themselves, that featured either on the business’s social media profiles, their State and Territory Organisation’s profiles or Tourism Australia’s profiles.
The winners for each category are:
Sunset Kangaroos - The Margaret River Discovery Co
The Margaret River Discovery Co took out the Best Photo category with an extraordinary image of two kangaroos ‘feeling the romance’ to the backdrop of a spectacular full moon. Owner/operator Sean Blocksidge described the scene as, “the most nuts beautiful” he’d ever seen, and although he nearly missed his moment as his camera was in the car, he managed to sneak back into position and capture it perfectly. The photo went viral and was featured by media organisations all over the globe including The Mail UK, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Channel 7 and ABC, as well as on Tourism WA’s and Tourism Australia’s social media channels where it earnt more than 72,000 likes and several hundred comments. Sean said he was offered numerous amounts for exclusivity, but opted to provide the image for free he figured, “it was more valuable as destination promotion for Australia and the Margaret River Region.”
Little George busy stealing hearts – The Australian Reptile Park
The Australian Reptile Park won the Best Video category with their gorgeous video of George the baby wombat and his devoted carer Tim Faulkner. George was brought to the Australian Reptile Park as an orphaned wombat and Tim became his new fill-in family, providing him with the food he needed and the cuddles he craved. Four months later, this cute critter is well and truly in the fast lane to a happier life ahead, and the team at the Australian Reptile Park decided to film the beautiful bond between Tim and George. The video was unbelievably popular and was picked up by more than 20 national and international news outlets including the Daily Telegraph, National Geographic online, Buzzfeed and The Project on Channel 10. It was featured on Tourism Australia’s Facebook page where it had a phenomenal 32 million views, 350,000 likes/reactions and 92,000 comments. The park’s book now button click through rate increased 77 per cent on the day the video was published, and they gained 14,000 new followers on Facebook as a result.
Butterfly taking over Willow’s photo-shoot - Symbio Wildlife Park
The Best Overall social media post category was awarded to Symbio Wildlife Park, for their outrageously adorable video of a butterfly photobombing Willow the koala joey’s photoshoot. Willow spotted the butterfly and decided to take a closer look, but the insect had other ideas and decided to perch itself on her nose! The resulting footage shows Willow looking rather bewildered as she tries to get a better look at the creature which had taken up residency on her nose. The video immediately went viral and had over 38 million combined views on Symbio and UNILAD’s social media channels, plus an additional 2.3 million views and over 74,000 likes/reactions on Tourism Australia’s Facebook page. Global media coverage ensued, from Fox News, BBC Worldwide, Good Morning America and CNN. Kevin Fallon from Symbio confirmed that following the video, visitation at the park increased 66 per cent from any previous October, and 35 per cent over any other month in the park’s 45 year history – “smashing all visitation and financial records.” Overall, the park has seen a 96 per cent increase in visitation since 2014-15, which Kevin attributes primarily to their success on social media.
Tourism Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer and judging panellist, Lisa Ronson, said the outstanding quality of entries demonstrated how enthusiastically and effectively Australia was embracing social media as a tourism marketing tool.
“What has struck me most strongly about this competition, is not just the amazing quality of the photos and videos submissions, but the great stories that lay behind each of these postings and, importantly, the impressive results that have been delivered for all of these operators,” she said.
The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo said the competition illustrated how important social media was in marketing Australia as a tourism destination and how adept the industry had become at utilising digital and social media to attract international visitors.
“Today’s travel consumers increasingly use digital and social media channels to plan, book and share their holiday experiences. And the ‘word of mouth’ recommendations of family and friends are still very influential when it comes to people’s decision making in regard to travel.
“With these recommendations being amplified and shared across digital and social media, our tourism businesses are able to become part of worldwide conversations amongst travellers about where to go and what to do.
“Digital and social media channels are key to Tourism Australia’s global marketing and its channels provide the Australian tourism industry with platforms they can leverage to promote their products directly to the world’s travel consumers,” Minister Ciobo said.
“I congratulate the Margaret River Discovery Co, The Australian Reptile Park and Symbio Wildlife Park, and I look forward to seeing them taking their places at this important celebration of the Australia-USA relationship,” he said.
Tourism Australia’s award-winning social media profiles are powered by over 3,000 submissions daily from Australians and tourism operators from across the country.
This summer the social team are continuing their search for user-generated content that best aligns with Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia and Aquatic & Coastal campaigns as well as its Nature and Wildlife focus. To submit your content for consideration please post to Tourism Australia’s Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/seeaustralia or #SeeAustralia or tag @Australia on Instagram.