Best Job achieved our objectives – and then some

Last week, Mumbrella readers voted the Best Job in the World project Australia’s social media campaign of the year. In this guest posting, Tourism Queensland boss Anthony Hayes explains the objectives and achievments behind the campaign

I got hit by a Sydney taxi a couple of months ago, so lately I’ve had some bonus free time to read Mumbrella on a very regular basis. It seems to me there has been quite a bit of chat on the site about the campaign and whether or not it achieved its objectives for Tourism Queensland. I have to admit, I have found it a little confusing at times to read comments suggesting that we have not achieved some of our objectives – particularly when most people are probably not aware of what our objectives actually were.

So let me tell you.

What were we trying to achieve?

The Best Job in the World was specifically designed to introduce the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef to the world. We felt there was almost zero awareness of our islands in the international market place. People certainly know about the reef, but we felt there was a brilliant opportunity to introduce the world to our island experiences.

Prior to 2008, marketing activity promoting the 600+ islands was fragmented between four different tourism regions, each of which had its own separate marketing plan and branding. We needed to fix this.

So we set about implementing a three-stage strategy to raise awareness of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef as a ’new’ Queensland experience in its own right.

Stage One was to introduce the islands to the international travel trade. The aim was to encourage international wholesalers to include Queensland island product in their brochures via trade training, famils, roadshows and web-based marketing. For the first time, we worked with regional tourism organisations and local operators to coordinate marketing activity for the ‘Islands of the Reef’ as a whole. This first stage was successfully implemented over 2008 and we were very happy with the support the wholesalers provided us in terms of new brochure space.

Stage Two was to tell the consumers of the world about our islands via a ‘big idea’… hence the birth of Best Job in the World.

Mumbrella readers, probably more than anyone else, would understand that today’s consumers are placing increasing importance on first-hand reports from other travellers, particularly via online reviews. This is the way of the future, and we identified online interaction as a key part of our consumer communication strategy. The consumer campaign needed to be PR-based, with a large emphasis on digital interaction. And that’s exactly what our brilliant agency, Sapient Nitro, came up with.

So the primary goal was to raise consumer awareness of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef in Tourism Queensland’s key international markets. $400 million in estimated media coverage and 8.6 million web visitors later….tick!

Secondary objectives were:

– Drive website visitation. Tick.

– Position the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef as highly aspirational. Tick.

– Provide an opportunity for our international offices to engage local partners and trade in tactical/retail activity. Tick.

– Use media and social networking to promote the campaign and increase awareness of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland. Tick.

Stage Three of the strategy, which we are now actively pursuing, is to turn the new level of consumer interest into increased visitor numbers and visitor expenditure. We are now working very closely with a variety of wholesale, retail and airline partners to convert the new level of interest into new visitors. It is still early days in terms of our long-term sales strategy, but we are seeing some very positive signs in terms of our market share of visitor expenditure versus the other states of Australia. Even though the international tourism market remains extraordinarily difficult, our market share from key source markets is on the rise.

So, did we achieve what we wanted?

Yes we did. Today the whole world knows that Queensland has some of the most beautiful islands imaginable. The world knows that the reef can be explored not only as a day trip from the mainland, but as an exceptional island experience.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard the fabulous facts and figures about the Best Job campaign’s publicity, website visitation and social media engagement. Suffice to say that the public engagement has blown us away.

The Best Job in the World succeeded in securing unprecedented international travel trade interest. The campaign has opened many doors internationally for Queensland. We are seeing the Great Barrier Reef brochured and packaged by many influential travel agencies, in many cases for the very first time, and that is what ultimately leads to sales.

Conversion of the new level of awareness into travel bookings is a long-term proposition. Travel, particularly long haul travel, is more complex than switching to a new brand of toothpaste. It involves a lot of considerations, and it can take years for consumers who express preference for a destination to convert that preference into action. But we’re onto it!

Our international offices have been getting some fantastic results from the series of tactical campaigns we’ve been running off the back of Best Job. And there is more to come before we finish with the concept.

In the domestic market we’ve just begun the ‘Hey, Hey This is Queensland’ sales campaign using four of our Best Job candidates. Feedback from participating tourism partners indicates we are getting a great response, with some seeing spikes in campaign referrals of up to 250 percent.

So yes, we will of course continue to listen to feedback regarding our campaign…but I have to tell you, we remain pretty happy with the outcomes to date and I am delighted to report we have more than exceeded all of our initial goals.


  • Anthony Hayes, is the CEO of Tourism Queensland

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