Australia has a lively and varied regional tourism industry. From scenic rural drives to trendy winery day trips, we love to encourage people to see more of the country than just its capital cities. There’s no denying, however, that bustling capitals like Melbourne and Sydney are often the first port of call for international and interstate visitors. The challenge for regional tourist attractions is to market themselves as uniquely appealing while playing up their proximity to capital cities.
One way for regional tourist destinations to create a link with their closest capital city is with smart online marketing. New Top-Level Domains (TLDs), like .melbourne and .sydney, open up a world of opportunities for regional destinations to ensure they’re on the map when prospective tourists are planning their travel itinerary.
Marketing by association
Many regional tourist attractions are already using their nearest capital as a marketing tool. If you’re offering a rewarding tourism experience ‘just a short drive’ from Melbourne, or ‘easily accessed by train’ from Sydney, why not make that a selling point? Making a link with the capital on your website can be genuinely helpful for tourists who are keen to plan travel times and distances. From a marketing perspective, it’s also good SEO strategy to include mentions of the nearest capital as part of a keyword plan for your site when you’re looking to lure visitors from the city.
Lachlan Wells, senior digital marketing strategist with SEO company, Optimising, says that “.melbourne or .sydney are perfect for a hotel, convention centre or other tourism business where the city is integral to its marketing.”
Good advertising is also about trust, however, so it’s important that regional destinations don’t confuse visitors by linking to the capital if it’s not relevant. There’s no point “pretending to be Melbourne-based”, says Mr Wells.
But for many tourist attractions already claiming a close association with the capital, newly available TLDs could be a productive addition to their marketing arsenal. Along with tourists, it’s a great way to remind locals that you’re only a day trip away, and to follow the trends set by other city-based major attractions like the Melbourne Festival (www.festival.melbourne), Luna Park Sydney (www.lunapark.sydney) and Sydney Bridge Climb (www.bridgeclimb.sydney).
According to Mr Wells, another way to utilise the new TLDs is as part of a branding strategy. A unique domain is “easy to remember and good for association with your product”, he says. It’s easy to see this in action when you look at some of the tourist attractions already using the new TLDs, like www.biketours.melbourne.
From a business management point of view, registering a unique domain is also about protecting your brand. You may already own www.janesbakery.com, but you may choose to snap up www.janesbakery.sydney to preserve the integrity of your name.
Mr Wells points out that businesses should not attempt to create duplicate websites based on the new TLDs, as this may attract Google penalties, but it is possible to redirect new domains to existing sites. New businesses, of course, can get ahead of the competition by establishing their websites using the new domains or creating new, geo-targeted landing pages or microsites that complement your existing website.
The new TLDs have also opened up a huge range of domain names and keywords that were registered under .com long ago, which provides opportunities for regional tourist attractions to own their niche. You may find www.countrywinery.com is already in use, but www.countrywinery.sydney is still up for grabs.
Many tourists make holiday plans based on staying in a particular city. Once they arrive, they may be surprised to find that some of the most exciting and stimulating activities are actually outside the city limits. And we’ve all heard the one about city dwellers not appreciating the tourist attractions ‘in their own backyards’.
Ensure your regional tourist destination is ‘on the map’ with locals and visitors alike by using your nearest capital city across your online marketing.