Big data will help Australian tourism thrive5 min read

Our location-based analytics platform is ready to help 

The key ski resorts of NSW experienced massive snowfalls in early June, an optimistic sign of what was tipped to be a bumper season, following a challenging 18 months. 

But great snow is no inoculation against necessary public health orders designed to prevent large areas of people from leaving their homes.

Just a couple of weeks later, ski resorts have been turning people away from what would usually be their best period, the July school holidays. 

The latest Sydney lockdown, just like its Melbourne counterpart a few weeks earlier and other snap lockdowns across the country, are a reminder of the flexibility required in any efforts to support the Australian tourism sector’s recovery, and to reimagine the visitor economy in the years to come. 

There is no single silver bullet solution to this recovery. And any efforts moving forward must consider further sudden and unforeseen events that see bookings and visits to particular areas suddenly pulled and halted, whether it be due to health orders, major weather events or something else. This recovery also represents a reset opportunity; a chance to use a disruptive event for good and introduce new models to meet sustainability tourism goals and better respect and support traditional owners.

We believe clear, location-based insights across visitation, expenditure and sentiment is the first step to providing the tourism sector the support it needs for managing an unpredictable and bumpy recovery ahead.

These same insights will also enable the next steps for reimaging the entire visitor economy, particularly to position Australia’s tourism sector for an influx of international travellers once borders reopen. 

Our location-based analytics platform, Hemisphere, is specifically designed to provide these insights. It leverages our experience in sustainable adventure travel, as well as deep knowledge in data analytics and disruptive technology gained from 25 years of experience working across cutting edge data solutions. Hemisphere has been developed in collaboration with Austrade after winning the prestigious Government Business Research Innovation Initiative. We’re now providing simple-to-access insights determining where and what Australians are visiting, what they are spending on, how they are responding to planned events, as well as how lockdowns and natural disasters are impacting different regions.

These insights have never been more important, given the dramatic shift and reliance the tourism sector now has on the domestic market, and how Australians are now so quickly adjusting their plans in response to disruptions like border closures and stay at home orders. 

This data will support the recovery of tourism, highlighting better opportunities for sustainability as the industry resets, while also identifying the risks associated with mass movements. 

We can quickly see inbound and outbound visitor numbers, down to fine-grained geographical regions. We can see the trends in these movements, using them to determine the ROI of various marketing campaigns as well as for operators to forecast and plan for future events. We can compare how, say, a sudden lockdown in Sydney, impacts visitor levels in Thredbo. 

At this time, when major movement disruptions are happening regularly, we can also gain insights into how Australians are adjusting their plans, how they’re rebooking holidays and moving and exploring within their own state and regions.

We can identify which areas are receiving high levels of foot traffic, and therefore where additional supporting mechanisms may be required to ensure safety and make the most of opportunities from such an uptick in visitor numbers. 

We can also identify which areas may be under pressure, including from potential biosecurity risks (such as from the increase of caravan-based travel moving across multiple states) as well as from intense visits to protected and heritage areas. Having partnered with Leave No Trace, in addition to indigenous tourism operators and land and sea managers, we can provide essential information regarding the impact of high visitation numbers, which will be critical to supporting sustainable tourism. We can assess how Indigenous tourism operators can leverage the currently growing interest in Indigenous sites and experiences from the domestic tourism market.

Importantly, as states and cities throw significant resources and ideas at growing their night-time economies, we can provide near immediate analytics and data on the success of planned events.

Beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis, as our borders start to reopen and we welcome international tourists, business travellers and overseas students again, we will immediately be able to assess how these significant shifts impact foot traffic and local economies. 

International travellers spent $31 billion in 2019. Through data insights, we can learn from the pivot to domestic tourism that we’ve had over these past 18 months to best position tourism operators and the entire sector for an influx of international travel once borders reopen. It’s an opportunity to push luxury experiences and eco-friendly travelling to this market, notably to position Australia as a great destination for the “high end holiday market”.  We’re proud to have created the Hemisphere location-based analytics platform in Australia, and to now see it serving to support the tourism sector at this critical time. We’re proud to be supporting efforts to help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including those addressing climate, consumption and conservation. We’re proud to be offering open, accessible and privacy compliant data that will help enable a reset of Australian tourism that will be good for all stakeholders across government, private enterprise small businesses and communities.

To find out more on how we are supporting the tourism industry navigate in the COVID-19 era with access to data please get in touch.

Photo by: Destination NSW