A Digital Perspective: Chris Chambers, Director of Digital Marketing, Tourism Queenland

I don't believe this was taken in Queensland

Chris and the Digital Marketing team are responsible for promoting Queensland’s tourism products and destinations to a global audience via digital platforms.  And guess what, he wants what we want: the awesomeness of Men In Black microchipping.  I don’t believe his photo was taken in Queensland.

Where the fuck are the flying cars already? That was promised decades again. But seriously, here are some experienced views on the industry today. Like my previous interviewees, Chris points out the need to get back to basics.  This is important: you might have the greatest service or product, but if you’re website is unusable, unfindable, or misaligned — goodbye business.

Best digital memory of 2008?

Best non-Tourism Queensland specific memory of 2008 was the iPhone’s arrival in Australia. Having just one device to carry around and make calls and send text messages & tweets, take photos which could be quickly shared with mates, colleagues and family, as well as store and listen to music and download all types of applications too is magnificent!

Best Tourism Queensland specific memory of 2008 was the planning and preparation for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef “Best Job in the World” campaign (www.islandreefjob.com). This was such a complex piece of work which involved a large number of people right across our organisation. From a digital perspective, we needed to develop a website which would go through several distinct phases, build that site in 6 different languages, include content that included a requirement for a site visitor to submit a video and a media plan including global search marketing and online advertising activity. We felt this activity pushed the boundaries of what had been done in tourism marketing and had to learn some tough lessons along the way.  For those involved though, despite the challenges and the mistakes we made along the way, this has been an incredibly rewarding project to have worked on.

What’s the best lesson the industry could learn?

Get the basics right and focus on doing the things important to your business first. It’s easy to find people who who profess to know the answers, but to some degree what is best for each business can be different for each business. Each facet of the digital environment has different values to different organisations and has different returns for each business. Every company does not have to have to be on facebook or MySpace, not every company will see value in twitter, mobile website development or mobile advertising or user generated content. Take on board the feedback of people who you believe understand your business, which might include colleagues, your brand agency, a digital agency or someone knowledgeable or specialises in social media and know that the idea you may run with could come from any one of those groups and not necessarily be their area of expertise. Assess the pro’s ad cons of the ideas, the investment required (both financial and people) and put into action what you believe is best for your business. You’ll learn quickly what’s best for your business and be sure to put the learnings into action in future activity.

What’s emerging for 2009?

Consumers accessing information while mobile is quickly becoming apparent as a great opportunity in the tourism sector. Booking lead time is decreasing and visitors are more likely to do large amounts of research in advance of their holiday and book tours and attractions and seek out special offers while in the destination. Providing tools which give you an opportunity to capture that opportunity will put your business in a stronger position that your competitors.

What will be big in 2013?

Businesses will be far more engaged in digital activity for conversion. In the tourism sector small to medium enterprises in 2009, in the main, do not provide the level of online booking which consumer are looking for. By 2013 there will have been a significant shift away from the email enquiry booking form to online, real-time inventory management which will give SME’s greater access to the sale of their room or seat.

Someone will have worked out how to properly measure video placements.

Broader than the tourism industry we’ll be able to buy off ebay implantable microchips which will allow us to access the cloud through simply thinking about a piece of information and view that information on a “men-in-black” sunglass style device.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.