Litchfield National Park is actually a more popular National Park with territorian locals than Kakadu – why? You can visit all it’s sites in one day, you can swim without fear of crocodiles, and you don’t have to pay fees to get in. of particular note are it’s swimming holes and waterfalls.
The Grove Hill Hotel is a real outback boozer 16 km’s off the main road. Every month the publicans Stan and Mary put on a free bbq.
Had a great night, met some interesting locals, enjoyed the pre 1970′s music Stan was playing…and even had a dance.
Katherine’s major tourist attraction is the Katherine Gorge which consists of 13 natural gorges carved through sandstone by the Katherine River.
We interviewed a French Helicopter Pilot, William Massart, who takes joy flights over the gorge.
Wycliffe Well Roadhouse is known as Australia’s premier U.F.O. sightings location. Numerous people have reported seeing strange lights in the sky while staying a Wycliffe.
I interviewed Lew Farkas, owner of the roadhouse about the U.F.O. sightings.
In Alice Springs we enjoyed trying crocodile, kangaroo, camel and emu at Overlander Steakhouse and let our hair down at Bojangles Saloon
Situated 117 km’s West of Alice Springs. Wallace Rock Hole is an Aranda Aboriginal community which runs Aboriginal Culture Rockart tours which cover such things as bush medicine, bush tucker, the history of the Aranda people and visits to ancient rock art sites
We interviewed Benjamin, a local guide about his community.
In Coober Pedy we interviewed Jenny Gough from the Old Timers Mine
Jenny is a long term resident of Coober Pedy and in the video talks about how a stoke of good luck resulted in finding and funding the Old Timers Mine.
In Adelaide we interviewed Anna Pak Poy from nomads world – Australia’s finest chain of backpacking hostels
Anna helped organise our accommodation for the trip. She was born and bred in Adelaide and has such a passion for the place, we couldn’t go past interviewing her.
Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory is a great base Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory is a great base from which to explore the Top End’s many attractions. While in Darwin make sure you visit museum and it’s fascinating Cyclone Tracey exhibition (Darwin was demolished by a cyclone in 1974) , catch a movie at the open air deck chair cinema, feed the fish at aquascene, have a feed at the wharf precinct and check out one of the many fantastic markets.
Darwin has a unique population mix with 75% of people aged under 25 years. It is also very multicultural, having over fifty different nationalities living harmoniously together. To capture the face of darwin, I interviewed Bow Chooiam a 17 year old first generation Thai girl who I met working at her parents stall at the Parap markets. Click on the pic to the left to hear her story.
Between Darwin and Kakadon’t is the Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge Catch a barramundi, take a cruise and see a croc in the Mary River, watch a great Aborigine culture show, or just take it easy. Well worth checking out
100 kms east of Katherine, Manyallaluk is an Aboriginal owned and operated tourism business. Visitors can do tours where they learn various aspects of Aboriginal Culture. The emphasis is on having fun and getting involved in the activities.
The first thing that I noticed about Manyallaluk is how happy everyone is who is lives out there.The guides love their work and really enjoy passing on their bush knowledge to the ‘white fellas’.
A true cultural experience and one I advise every visitor to Australia, and every Aussie, should experience. A beautiful gem of a place
I interviewed Peter Bolgi about his job as a guide.
Mataranka has some great natural springs where you can swim safely without becoming a crocodiles dinner. We stayed at the Territory Manor where they feed tame leaping barramundi twice a day.
Out here in the outback, pubs and petrol stops are the hub of the universe. It is not unusual to travel 300 km between fuel stations. Renner Springs is one such stop, slap bang in the middle of nowhere. It is sustained by a natural spring. All fruit, vegetables and meat come from Adelaide 2,206 km south and petrol supplies are freighted 836 km from Darwin. I interviewed Jasmine, a bar maid at Renner for the last two years. What sort of woman lives in such an isolated location?
Thirty minutes drive from Mt. Isa, West Leichardt station is a 310,000 acre cattle station. Up here there are two seasons, the dry and the wet. Currently it is the end of the dry season, a time of maintenance and repair. It’s also a time of waiting…waiting for the first rains to hit. The land is harsh and dry, having gone up to 40 weeks without rain. I interviewed station owner Ron Croft about life in the outback.
Ron has his dams stocked with a variety of fish including Barramundi and Sooty Grunter. We had a go with the rods and caught two Sooty Grunters with the first two casts.
Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria, is renown for it’s great sport fishing. It is currently the build up to the wet season with temperatures soar above 40 degrees, with humidity around 75%. You really have to be here to understand how draining this sort of climate can be. People tend to get a bit stir crazy this time of year, waiting for the first rains of the wet to fall. And when the wet does hit, Karumba can be cut off from the rest of the world for up to 12 weeks due to flood waters cutting road access. During these times food drops are made by helicopter for stranded Karumba residents
Local police officer Jason Jesse is a keen fisherman who took us out on his boat to catch some barramundi, Australia’s premier native sports fish.
The Undara lava tubes were formed one hundred and ninety thousand years ago when a volcanic eruption spewed lava along creeks and riverbeds to form the lava tubes left today.
I interviewed Savannah Guide Val Speedie. Savannah guides is a network of professional tour guides with an in-depth collective knowledge of the natural and cultural assets of the tropical savannahs of northern Australia. Val has been a guide at Undara for the last ten years and has a vast knowledge of the area. Click on pic to the left to see her video.
We tried doing some night driving to beat the intense day time heat. Not a good idea in the outback, the roads were thick with kamakazi kangaroos and roaming cattle. During a 150 km journey the carnage toll was three kangaroos and one unidentified flying bird. Without a roo bar we would have been in for some serious damage to the car. In the end we only lost a headlight.
Only one hours drive from Cairns, the tablelands feature some magnificant waterfalls, crater lakes and rainforest. We also dropped into the Crystal Caves at Atherton which feature a great collection of crystals and fossils from around the world.
Join Australian filmmaker Mark Shea as he continues traveling up the East Coast of Australia meeting local people and exploring their hometowns.
In this episode he meets -
*a Socialite Publisher on the Gold Coast,
*a Magician in Noosa,
*a visit to the World’s Largest Sand Island,
*an Irish Backpacker at Airlie Beach,
*the unique wildlife of Magnetic Island,
*Great Barrier Reef diving at Cairns
*living off the land at Cape Tribulation
Join Australian filmmaker Mark Shea as he travels the East Coast of Australia meeting local people and exploring their hometowns. The whole half hour program, visiting locations from Melbourne to Nimbin.
*Musician Wendy Rule in Melbourne,
*Paddle Steamers in Echuca,
*an Aboriginal Sacred Site called Mumbulla Mountain,
*the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra,
*a performing Drag Queen in Sydney,
*a Beachcombing Artist in Byron Bay,
*a Forest Dwelling Hippy in Nimbin
I’m happy to announce, the little battler in the South, the island State of Tasmania, has come up trumps in the latest round to Tourism Video Marketing. My home state, Victoria, on the other hand, still won’t listen to industry advice, and continues to churn out expensive, irrelevant video campaigns that quickly disappear into the murky depths of the vast ocean of online video.
Tasmania Tourism has a marketing budget of $10.2 million compared to Tourism Victoria’s hefty $73.8 million. Despite this, or maybe because of it, Tasmania Tourism’s latest video campaign has been extremely cost effective, in fact, it only cost $5,000!
Tourism Tasmania sniffed the air, pardon the pun, and realised there is vast audience out there, who can make their own films, often better, and more cost effectively than would be the case if they employed a traditional ad agency.
The above film by Andrew Quaile won Tourism Tasmania’s 2012 Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival ‘Essence of Tasmania’ Competition. It takes one of Tasmania’s unique selling points, clean air, and markets it in a clever, engaging, humorous way.
“What about the foreign market, those who can’t speak english,” I hear you ask, “Wouldn’t it be better to do a campaign that doesn’t involve language?”
Well, in case you haven’t noticed, Australia is now one of the most expensive holiday destinations in the world! And, while the Australian economy is booming, many other countries, no longer even have economies! (a good chance to highlight some Australian comedy to the rest of the world)
So the great thing about the Tasmanian campaign is that it doesn’t forget the domestic market, it captures our quirky, self-depreciating humour and understands that for a vast majority of the world, Australia is just too damn expensive! So best to market to those who can afford it, other Australians!
Which brings me to Tourism Victoria’s latest campaign. A tired old music video format featuring the Great Ocean Road. Anyone ever heard of it, the Great Ocean Road? Of course you’ve heard of it, and seen numerous images of it’s great scenery, as you will see again, in the expensive production below ( I would estimate this production would cost at least five times more than the Tourism Tasmania video)
So which video, after a week online has engaged the audience? Well let’s look at the figures;
Views: Tasmania – 3885 views, Victoria – 171 views,
Likes: Tasmania – 26 likes, Victoria – 4 likes
Comments: Tasmania – 2 comments, Victoria – 0 comments.
Clearly the Tasmanian campaign is engaging the audience better. But please Tourism Tasmania, stop moderating the comments, open it up, the good and the bad, social media is about transparency, you have to be open to criticism. And with Youtube’s new algorithm, engagement, such as number of comments is important in how a video ranks in search.
And I can ensure you, 6 months from now, Tourism Victoria’s latest campaign will still be floundering, as did this confusing ‘music video’ by visit NSW. Six months, 77 views! Absolute waste of government funding. And what is message, Australia has magic mushrooms?
This is an example of Australian tourism marketing, but is relevant to any tourism body wishing to use video in their marketing arsenal. The important lesson; it doesn’t matter how much money you have at your disposal, this won’t guarantee success. What is of importance is that you understand your demographic and give them content that engages them.
Tasmania, with the lowest marketing budget of any state in Australia has given us a great example of how to make use of the changing media landscape. Travel Bloggers, Travel Vloggers, any tourist, can now have an influence on how your destination is viewed in the social media landscape. Tourism bodies have to understand this and accept this. In a crowded marketplace where everyone wants a piece of the global US$1,850 billion tourism industry, any publicity is good publicity. Spread your budget and engage your audience.
So how does a tourism region produce a video that rises above the 48 hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute, and harness some of the 3 billion eyeballs watching each day?
Australian travel video producer Mark Shea outlines how to run a successful online video campaign using Australian Tourism and Travel examples
There has recently been some negative press in Australia with regard to how Government Tourism bodies spend the $500 million allocated to them, to market the country.
As someone who has been involved in youtube and online video since their formation, and experienced some viral video success, I would like to inform tourism organisations and business, how best to use youtube as a marketing tool.
I closely follow video tourism campaigns from around the world and more often than not, see big budget productions sink to the bottomless pit of the youtube sea.
So how does a tourism region produce a video that rises above the 48 hours of video uploaded to youtube every minute, and harness some of the 3 billion eyeballs watching each day?
“And – dear lord – have you seen the ads? The ‘come to Australia’ ads. OH. MY. GOD. They give me visions of entering the Australian Tourist Board Marketing Department to find a room filled with baboons wistfully daubing the walls with their own faeces.”Graham David Hughes, Adventurer/Filmmaker who set a brand new Guinness World Record™ by visiting 133 countries in one year without ever leaving the ground.
Both the business owner and l watched the Port Douglas marketing video produced by the local official tourism organisation. About a minute in, we both lost interest, moving on to something else.
The video looks great, with every shot looking like it came out of a tourist brochure. BUT, if people want beautiful beaches, rainforest etc, they have 100′s of locations like Port Douglas to choose from. AND, with the current price of the Aussie dollar, places that are much cheaper!
Producing a tourism promo that is nothing more than a music video, fails to recognise the important historical formation of youtube as a cultural phenomenon.
Youtube started as a vlogging platform, with people using whatever camera they could get their hands on to upload video. Viewers accepted the degraded video images in this egalitarian new world.
The message became more important than a film school education. For the first time anyone could be a filmmaker and find an audience.
Vlogging changed the media landscape. Viewers now expect honest appraisals and opinions.
A traditional television ad simply does not work on youtube, and if you don’t capture the attention of your audience, by engaging them, they simply click on to the next piece of entertainment.
Jean-Paul Toonen of T36 Media informed me of a study by the University of Leuven (Belgium) that found many marketeers traditionally make the mistake of only using video as a medium of evidence. They believe that if they show the local qualities of a region, it’s superior scenery and sunny beaches, then the viewers will be convinced. But this footage only proves the existence of these hotspots. And not the effect of relaxation, happiness and entertainment. The audience is only convinced by honest testimonials and authentic interviews, in combination with action in the picturesque local environment.
The research lead to the production of a highly successful campaign based on testimonials about living in the Limburg province. Jean-Paul Toonen informs, “Each film focused on one inhabitant from this region and shows their life (work & private) in active shots and scenes. This person is interviewed and tells us about their quality of life.”
So try and work out what differentiates your region from every where else. And find people who can express these key points with intelligence, humor and conviction.
Local Celebrities are Nobodies on Youtube.
Youtube has it’s own star system, based on a channel’s subscriber base and number of video views.
Each channel caters for a particular demographic. Age, sex, country of origin, can all be monitored via youtube’s ‘insight’ statistics.
Unfortunately tourism bodies don’t seem to understand that a local celebrity, such as a retired local league footballer, has no credibility on youtube. The campaign below would have been better off finding an urban family representing their main demographic and feature them exploring the landscape.
Let me give you a recent example. ‘Visit NSW’ recently employed Matilda Brown to produce a number of music videos masquerading as tourism promos.
Who you may ask is Matilda Brown?
Well, Matilda is the daughter of actor Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward. And this fact was promoted as a big marketing plus for the campaign.
If you live in Australia, and are over a certain age, you have probably heard of Bryan and Rachel. But for the rest of the world and youtube community Matilda, despite having studied filmmaking, is a nobody.
This campaign is the antithesis of what youtube represents, a place where anyone can become a star, regardless of their background!
I think the message in the video below is, ‘Don’t eat the mushrooms!’
Lonely Planet, now owned by the BBC, had the foresight to understand their monolithic faceless persona, and went about seducing someone from within the youtube star system, to represent their demographic.
They sent Natalie Tran, Australia’s most successful youtuber, around the world to produce short and sweet location videos that increased their subscriber base from 15,000 to over 40,000, and led to over 3 million more video views. So much do Lonely Planet rely on Natalie to grow their channel, they even use her name in their title keywording!
So if Lonely Planet understands how youtube works, one may ask, why can’t Australian Tourism Bodies?
I think half the problem is there seems to be no accountability for failure. Tourism bodies also don’t seem to understand how cost effective online video can be, basing their budgets on more expensive television advertising models.
In some instances, as with Tourism Victoria, a job is not put out for tender, unless it’s budget is over $150,000.
So for their recent Villages of Victoria ‘music video’ campaign, the video producers were not chosen based on online video success or pricing, but on some more mysterious selection process.
After nearly a year online, most of these videos have only garnered a few hundred views. Each video cost a whopping $10,000, three times industry pricing for a 2 minute online video.
Youtube is owned by Google, so when videos underperform like with the ‘villages’ campaign, they don’t get found on Google.
The Falls Creek video, for example, has currently only had 255 views after 12 months online. Tourism Operators have every right to question Tourism Victoria, when amateurs with cheap handy cams, manage to produce videos that perform better in keyword search! The video below doesn’t even make the first page of search for the term ‘falls creek’.
Make it real
Youtube is a very different beast from the high budget world of television advertising. The audience decides what rises to the top and spending big on a large film crew, may not always be necessary.
Most of the successful channels on youtube are produced by multi-skilled individuals who perform all aspects of production themselves. Viewers smell hubris and advertising a mile away and have grown use to videos that look different from television and films!
The short online video format is a challenging artform and anyone hired to produce your online campaign should already have a strong track record in this arena and preferably bring their own audience.
My experience has found personable truthful appraisals using real people work! Story line is more important than bokeh! And if you do produce expensive films that look amazing but don’t outline the key points that differentiate your region from everywhere else, don’t be surprised when they sink down the plughole of online obscurity.
One of worst and most wasteful examples of tourism video marketing is the $7.3 million ‘Daylesford, Lead a double life’ campaign. For those who know nothing about Daylesford, the video paints a confusing picture, tripping between today and yesteryear, and not really telling the viewer anything about the area!
Oh yes, it’s all very artistic, but with a very average views to dollars spent ratio, it’s a rolled gold failure! So far it has cost the taxpayer roughly $600 per video view, which may well be a youtube record!
More than just a video
Youtube has become a very competitive arena, with both professionals and amateurs vying for global views. Uploading a video is only half the battle.
Keywords, social media promotion, community participation; all these marketing tools require time and patience. Ensure some of your budget is allocated to making sure your video gets found.
So to sum up;
*define the key points that differentiate your region from other regions,
*find someone locally, or from the youtube star system, to communicate these key points, and
*produce a short, entertaining, informative, story-based video that is keyword optimised, and syndicated across various social media channels.