By Martin Kelly

TOURISM Australia can’t take a trick with its online marketing. First there was the viral component of “Where The Bloody Hell Are You?” which attracted a lot of hits but not enough bookings, according to critics.

However, at least that campaign got a lot of publicity. The long-awaited relaunch of Tourism Australia’s flagship site, Australia.com, received virtually no mainstream coverage following its launch at ATEC last week.

Except in the Gold Coast Bulletin, which editorialised against Tourism Australia for the using an image which showed the sun ‘setting’ over a Gold Coast beach, a physical impossibility.

Tourism Minister Fran Bailey immediately blamed Events Queensland for the blunder, which for some reason is still appearing several days after the issue was first raised.

So, what of the site? It’s different, that’s for sure, but ultimately quite shallow, simply acting as a gateway to the state and territory sites. Even the solitary Web 2.0 feature, Bluelist Australia, is housed on the Lonely Planet site.

The look and feel of the splash page is dominated by a large map of Australia, provided by Google, which quickly directs consumers back to the relevant regional site.

Google is also providing the site search capability and sponsored links limited to operators listed on Tourism Australia’s online network. At present there is very little advertising.

In summary, the new Australia.com is good at redirecting visitors to the state and territory sites, but not much more. Many would have expected greater depth from a website that took more than 12 months to develop.

TravelTrends.biz
June 5, 2007

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