Current Product Offering

Summary

 

Over 300 products in five different categories were reviewed online. The focus was on products and experiences aimed at the leisure market not for the education sector or niche special interest groups such as geologist or paleontologists.

 

In undertaking the product audit, we turned to the most common source of information for people planning a trip; the Internet, including through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. We searched for the type of products and experiences that deliver on the themes of the Wonder of Gondwana concept. However, this approach isn’t necessarily comprehensive as there will be experiences that didn’t show up in our online search. Take a look at the global trends on technology to find out why being online is essential in today’s world.

 

There are four primary observations from the comprehensive product audit:
 

  • Finding relevant and detailed information is a problem in itself
     

  • The majority of products presented themselves poorly
     

  • Very few, if any, products are marketing collaboratively. As a result, there are hundreds of individual products with small budgets and poor visitor visibility that are likely to go largely unnoticed by visitors
     

  • Most products offered very little that could be considered truly remarkable. There were of course some notable exceptions such as the Australian Dinosaur Trail in Queensland, but they were the exception to the rule. 

 

The audit only captured the findings from the Google search that were displayed on page one of each search result, clicking on each result and recording the information provided. In total, 380 products were identified through this process. Many of the search results did not display any product information, as in a location of the product, a tour to enjoy, or an experience to be had. For many of the search results, it was generally a Government website, a state tourism organisation, or general business website (for example, The Australian Institute of Geoscientists) providing information only about the category searched, or a list of potential places to visit, but no clickable links to a dedicated website for any of these locations or sites.

 

Through the audit process, it was clear that from a visitor’s perspective the process of researching and pre-planning or organising to have an experience in the sector was relatively difficult. This is because many of the websites are not user-friendly, nor are they focused on showcasing visitor experiences. There was no tourism offering in this category displayed on the first page when undertaking a Google search. Any tourism products and experiences encountered were only done so through a series of clicks from other websites, and even then, often the information found was very limited.

 

This presents two opportunities for the project that need to be considered and developed:

 

  • The first is the opportunity to market a collective experience rather than just a variety of individual experiences. Doing this will deliver greater ‘bang for our buck’, greater visitor appeal and much greater visitor visibility. This initiative is definitely a case where, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. We will have much greater success together as one collective experience than we will as individual experiences, operating independently.

 

  • The second is the opportunity to develop a distinctive and competitive positioning. The vast majority of the 87 products audited under the history and heritage category in stage 1 were products that focus on post European settlement. There is a significant positioning opportunity around a platform of Ancient Australia. It’s a territory that is relevant to the majority of products and experiences we are looking to develop and promote. For example, Age of Fishes, Opals at Lightning Ridge, Wellington and Jenolan Caves, Sapphires and Opals, the night sky and Aboriginal culture. It’s a positioning that is appealing to our audience. It’s also a territory that no one appears to be playing in; at least not overtly. And that makes it a territory we can own.

Review Methodology

 

  • Total number of products reviewed: 380
     

  • Method of review: Google search review only
     

  • Categories reviewed included all elements of geotourism;

  1.  Historical and heritage tourism

  2.  Fossil tourism

  3.  Fossicking, gems and minerals

  4. Aboriginal stories and experience


NB. Night Skies tourism (astro-tourism) was reviewed as a separate project.
 

The review was conducted in 3 stages:

 

Stage 1
 

A general overview of what products/experiences are listed from a Google search of the above categories in:
 

  • New South Wales
     

  • Queensland
     

  • Victoria
     

  • South Australia
     

  • Western Australia
     

  • Tasmania

 
 

Stage 2
 

A more detailed analysis on the top product/experience from each state. Information considered was:
 

  • type of product;
     

  • current markets visiting;
     

  • operating times and days;
     

  • cost of experience;
     

  • distinctive feature;
     

  • perspective of interpretation provided;
     

  • current retail offer;
     

  • provision of food and beverage;
     

  • infrastructure and facilities;
     

  • constraints to being attractive, competitive and sustainable;
     

  • potential improvements or new related product;
     

  • current marketing /booking system; and
     

  • reviews by third parties (TripAdvisor and Google).

 
 

Stage 3
 

We looked at ten of the leading products from around Australia and looked at their online marketing assets in a little more detail.

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