South Australian Tourism Commission drives tourism by using personalisation to connect with travelers.
Adelaide, South Australia
Sydney, New South Wales
Increase in records that include customer preferences
Drive more tourism and economic growth in South Australia
Move customers through the holiday lifecycle to pass more leads to local businesses
Make more use of first-party data to deliver insights and personalised experiences
26% lift in leads driven to booking sites through cross-channel Wildlife campaign
962% increase in records that include customer preferences by empowering customers to control interactions
76% increase in click-through rates and 69% increase in open rates with personalised email messaging
24 hours saved for every email created by taking advantage of branded templates
From the white sandy beaches of Kangaroo Island to the world-class wine cellars surrounding Adelaide, South Australia boasts a diverse range of activities and destinations made for any type of traveler. It’s why the State Government named tourism as one of the primary growth sectors for the region’s economy, with a commitment to grow the industry to $12.8 billion by 2030.
For nearly three decades, the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has focused on marketing and awareness initiatives aimed at attracting domestic and international visitors to South Australia. When Edward Brooks first joined the SATC, he was excited to bring his digital marketing experience in the finance sector to such a vibrant, exciting goal.
“One of the biggest differences from working in finance is that the SATC doesn’t sell its own products,” says Brooks, now senior manager of digital marketing at the SATC. “Our objective is to generate leads for up to 9,000 tourism businesses through our website. We get people excited about travel, show them experiences that might inspire them, and drive leads and referrals to South Australian tourism businesses and industry partners that benefit the local economy.”
The SATC currently generates more than three million leads a year via its consumer facing website southaustralia.com, with key drivers of leads including paid media, as well as non-paid channels such as organic search and email newsletters. Digital marketers target visitors looking into five core interests: Natural Therapy, Accessible Provenance, Wildlife in the Wild, Events, and Boutique Capital, which covers people specifically interested in visiting Adelaide, the multi-cultural capital of South Australia. The SATC also aims to nurture leads through three major stages of preparing for a holiday: Feel, Think, and Do.
The digital marketing team wanted to pass on more leads and get more travelers excited about visiting South Australia. This would mean gathering more first-party data and building upon it to create personalised experiences for the fifteen segments – the three stages for each of the five key interest groups. Working with Adobe Experience Cloud and expert partners Isobar and Helium, the SATC now has the enterprise marketing platform it needs to gain insights into visitors and encourage more travelers to visit South Australia.
Senior Manager Digital Marketing, South Australian Tourism Commission
Data and analytics are the core to digital marketing success at the SATC. With many web browsers sunsetting third-party cookies, marketers need to dig deeper into all available first-party data, insights, and behaviors to understand who customers are, what they want, and how campaigns nurture those leads. Adobe Analytics is used widely across the SATC to deliver those insights.
“Adobe Analytics has gone a long way to helping us democratise data across the organisation,” says Brooks. “About 20% of our staff regularly use Analytics Workspace for reporting, campaign performance, business stats, and better understanding how we’re connecting with customers.”
Adobe Audience Manager takes the data to the next level by building audiences around what individuals are interested in and where they are in the holiday planning journey. The SATC marketers identified hundreds of different signals to identify where people are in their decision-making processes. For instance, someone watching videos on landing pages is probably looking for inspiration so is classified as being in the Feel stage. If they start reading guides or digging deeper into specific regions, they’re likely entering the planning stage of their trip so are classified as being in the Think stage.
Audience Manager feeds audience data into Adobe Advertising Cloud, Adobe Campaign, and Adobe Target to personalise experiences and messaging across paid media, emails, and on-site content.
“Adobe Advertising Cloud Search and DSP helped us really improve lead generation,” says Brooks. “As the algorithms got more information, they kept getting more efficient. We started focusing more on testing and optimising messaging across our website and email newsletters. The result has been very strong returns that have helped us boost direct leads to local tourism operators.”
Because Audience Manager feeds into all channels, the SATC can develop cross-channel campaigns based on the same data to reinforce consistent messaging and reach travelers more effectively. Isobar worked with the SATC to develop a highly successful campaign aimed at travelers interested in exploring Wildlife adventures in South Australia.
The campaign starts when someone visits the Wildlife page on the website. Adobe Analytics identifies the visitor as someone interested in wildlife adventures and entering the “Feel” stage of interest. Adobe Audience Manager uses this data to place the individual in the appropriate segment and feeds this information into Adobe Advertising Cloud, which puts wildlife ads in front of the customer. When the visitor returns to the website, Adobe Target uses segment information from Adobe Audience Manager to serve up banners and other calls to action that direct the customer towards other types of inspirational content, such as blogs discussing top winter wildlife encounters.
Each time the customer interacts with a link, ad, or article, Adobe Audience Manager records this information and slowly moves the customer down the funnel. In the “Think” stage, Adobe Advertising Cloud might use messaging related to thinking about and planning a trip and Adobe Target might direct customers to pages covering specific locations or accommodation options. Finally, in the “Do” stage, messaging will encourage customers to book a trip through one of the South Australian tourism operators or key industry partners featured on southaustralia.com.
The wildlife campaign drove a 17% increase in on-site engagement and a 26% uplift in the number of leads going to South Australian tourism operators and is now being used as a template for integrated campaigns across the other core interest groups.
“We’ve seen some great returns from using Adobe Audience Manager segments to drive advertisements and on-site activities,” says Brooks. “We get a lot of valuable insights into how interests change, even just state to state.”
Senior Manager Digital Marketing, South Australian Tourism Commission
Emails and newsletters are critical ways of reaching customers, particularly in the modern age where data privacy is a big topic of conversation. People who sign up for emails are actively opting into conversations with the SATC. The SATC worked closely with partner Helium to get more from its emails with Adobe Campaign.
Helium created email templates, workflows, and tests to better reach visitors with emails tailored to their specific interests. By taking advantage of the automation and templates within Adobe Campaign, marketers save 24 hours for every email that they create as part of an overall campaign, allowing marketers to send 110% more emails every month and focus on more personalised messaging.
The SATC used one of its biggest campaigns, the Great State Voucher campaign, to connect with people through personalised emails. The voucher program encouraged people to visit both city and regional hotels and increase occupancy rates as the state opened up to local travel after pandemic lockdowns. Not only did the program inject around $65 million into the local economy, but it also encouraged a huge number of people to sign up for the newsletter, increasing the subscriber base by 292%.
After signing up for the SATC newsletter, people are automatically enrolled in the welcome campaign. A welcome email invites people to visit a digital preference center and select their location and topics of interest. Location information was particularly helpful during the global pandemic when lockdowns and travel restrictions varied from state to state. By empowering customers to manage their own data, the SATC increased the number of records with customer preferences by 962%.
After registering their preference, customers receive a series of personalised emails that move them through the three stages of the travel journey. “Feel” emails encourage customers to read articles and watch videos on the website. Customers who interact with the “Feel” emails then start receiving “Think” emails, which direct them to more specific itineraries and travel guides. Customers who continue to interact with emails and web content are then sent “Do” emails that direct them to the thousands of hotels, restaurants, tour guides, and other companies associated with the SATC.
“The personalised emails resonated strongly with customers, increasing click-through rates by 76% and open rates by 69%,” says Brooks. “We’re seeing great returns, and once people are a part of our newsletter, we can promote more events and specials to keep them coming back to South Australia.”
Brooks believes that the key to success in digital marketing will be focusing on smaller, highly engaged audiences. “Looking at our email newsletters, they’re built around true informed consent based just on information that people give us,” says Brooks. “We’re not guessing what their interests are; we know because they told us. We want to build on that and find even more valuable messages and content that will resonate with customers. Adobe Experience Cloud gives us the enterprise applications we need to find more value for customers across all channels.”