As owners of the 5 STAR 'Riverview Rise Retreats' located on the Murray River in Mannum, some 80km from Adelaide in South Australia, we have noted a number of specific trends in the Luxury Tourism market since the GFC. Your observations may be similar to ours but if not, please let me know so together we can hopefully help grow the industry in hard times.
Over the past year we have noted:
1.. Bookings from the USA have just about died. Our own in house predictions of the Oprah Winfrey campaign by Tourism Australia being an absolute flop came in on target. A lot of money spent on attracting the lower socioeconomic demographic who have no money and at best travel to Disneyland and alike.
2.. Bookings from Europe including the UK also understandably diminished due to our high $ HOWEVER, those that did book were far more discerning. They were very specific in what they wanted & why they wanted it - they ALL booked directly online though one of our targeted websites and not though travel agencies.
3.. The Domestic Market bookings have fluctuated in accordance to the level of scare mongering about our economy by the media/press. It is evident that the Gillard Government's policy management has frightened people from spending. The negative Abbott Liberal campaign has only helped to fuel the negativism in Australian touring public hence assisting Gillard in slowing the tourism sector.
4..Marketing Tourism in this NEW economy is vastly different to what it was some 5 years ago.
- No longer is it adequate to have a web presence with pretty pics of rooms& views that people cannot really have.
- You can no longer depend on the mass booking sites as there are so many of them fighting for the same piece of turf that their effect-ability is now diluted.
- Bookings through State Tourism bodies all fed thought the ATDW | Australian Tourism Data Warehouse are hopeless at best. The organization is hell bent on preserving the status-quot of keeping all players on a level playing field allowing NO flexibility for marketing prowess, individuality - here we are all equal with the only differentiation being our specific geographic location.
- The 'New Age' traveler now lives online. They are very specific in what they want, they understand that it is better dealing Direct with the provider but most importantly they are not prepared to accept second best. Their choices have grown exponentially so if we want to attract them, we need to motivate them. - we need to understand that What we attract our customers with isn't necessarily what we sell to them or what we make your money on!
Finally, it is crucial to have first page visibility on Google Search and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for key words such as " secluded mountain retreats" or in our case "Romantic getaways South Australia" ARE the keys to the hearts of out prospective booking public.
To get all this right is a whole new ball game. It may require different websites to attract different portions of the market. It requires some understanding of neuro-linguistic psychology. It requires an investment in TIME to work ON your business outside of the usual time of working IN your business.
To illustrate the above I have provided links to 3 of our 6 websites for your perusal, you will see that they all communicate a totally different market hence explaining the fundamentals behind the growth of our business 'Riverview Rise Retreats'