New report uncovers how to get more Aussies spending on domestic travel

A shot of a young caucasian man in Sydney looking at the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

With international travel now estimates to be off the table until at least mid-2022, agents and travel marketers alike are asking the same question: what is the most effective way to get Aussies to book domestic holidays?

Urban List, in partnership with Nature and The Lab, have put together a research report that delves into how the travel trade can convince Australians to see their own backyard differently.

The report, Urban Insights, revealed that only one in three Australians plan to spend the same amount of time and money travelling domestically as they would if they were headed abroad.

The survey respondents were asked questions about effective travel marketing and uncovered three main points to keep in mind when advertising to, or just speaking to, Aussies about domestic travel.

Dream vs duty

Since the massive bushfires of early 2020 and the devastating border closures that resulted from the global pandemic, it’s only natural that Aussies would want to contribute to local tourism recovery.

However, the report suggests that the “warm glow” of doing your bit for the economy is not a strong motivator for Aussies to spend what they would normally put aside for international jaunts on a domestic trip.

Those surveyed were more receptive to tourism ads that focused on inspiration and wanderlust than to ads encouraging Aussies to support the local industry.

Eighty per cent said Tourism Western Australia’s ‘Wander out Yonder’ campaign made them want to visit the destination, compared with just 45 per cent who said Tourism Australia’s ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign made them want to travel domestically.

Seen vs unseen

It is fair to assume Australian’s are familiar with our most famous landmarks and iconic wildlife. While images of the Harbour Bridge and frolicking kangaroos is effective for attracting loads of international visitors, they may seem too familiar to invoke wanderlust in an Aussie.

The report also points out that travel these days is less about hotspots and more about the path less travelled.

The report analysed a sample of more than 100,000 social media posts to capture the difference between what the industry is posting to attract travellers versus what travellers are posting when they explore Australia.

Image source: The Urban List

“While the industry is leaning heavily on wide-angle landscapes and cuddly fauna, consumers are getting much more specific about the culture and experience,” the report said.

Comparative vs unique

This is where many travel marketers are shooting themselves in the foot: by comparing Australian experiences and landscapes to those you can find overseas.

According to the report, while this method can be done well, it usually leaves travellers with the bitter taste of remembering that they cant have the “real thing” and will have to “settle” on an Australian version.

Leaning into Australia’s unique and distinctive landscapes, culture and heritage frames domestic travel as a new and exciting experience rather than second best.

Susannah George, CEO and founder of Urban List, said: “Together, we need to override the inertia – moving Australians to overcome our decades-old cultural cringe, to unpack a deeply entrenched second-best psyche and undo preconceived notions that what’s going on ‘over there’ is more culturally enriching and worthy of our precious resources: time and money,”  George said.

“And to do that we need to convince Australians that our destinations aren’t just places. They are cultural experiences every bit worthy of their investment; experiences that are at their very best in this moment –uncrowded, safe, restorative and inspiring.”


Featured image source: iStock/SolStock

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