Macassan Beach, Credit Mark Fitzpatrick and Tourism Northern Territory

East Arnhem Land

Destination Marketing Plan 2025 and Social Media Management

Project Scope

East Arnhem Land (EAL) is a remote Northern Territory destination with an emerging visitor economy, delivering a growing number of authentic and immersive experiences with the region’s Yolŋu and Anindilyakwa people.

The region’s natural beauty, stunning beaches, remoteness, 4WD adventures, fishing, events and cultural experiences are the key drivers of visitation.

The majority of visitors to EAL are domestic. However, with growing appeal for Australia’s First Nation’s experiences, the region has a significant opportunity to attract more visitors for these experiences.

EAL’s visitor economy stakeholders recently invested in the development of an East Arnhem Land Destination Management Plan (EAL DMP), which has provided a clear road map for stakeholders to collaborate and grow a sustainable visitor economy over the next 10 years.

With the development of the EAL DMP, the region's DMP custodians, Developing East Arnhem Land, were seeking support to develop a responsible and pragmatic Destination Marketing Plan that provided clear actions to address the challenges and opportunities of the DMP focus areas of Demand Driving, Off Peak Visitation, Events, Industry Attraction, Product Distribution, Permits and Visitor Servicing.  

The Objectives

The overarching goal for the Plan was to increase tourism visitation in shoulder season and also help address the many challenges of visiting the region (permits/distance/cost/remoteness) that were identified in the DMP.

To achieve this Goal, we identified a number of objectives that the Plan would support, including:

  • Visitor and Markets - identification on the high value visitor markets with best alignment to the region's experience strengths.
  • Marketing Optimisation – Identify clear actions to improve and address gaps in the destination’s marketing initiatives
  • Brand Storytelling – Identify the right stories to share on EAL's owned brand assets (website, social media and eDM) to ensure success in always on marketing activities.
  • Events – Identify of actions to drive demand for events across all actions, including owned and earned media.
  • Visitor Servicing and Communication Framework – Confirm how to best communicate to visitors when and where they expect it.  This included the development of a practical communication framework to increase awareness of the permit system and address perceived barriers for potential visitors.
  • Industry Activation – Identification of how local tourism experiences can leverage and activate relevant marketing opportunities.
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^ East Arnhem Land Marketing Plan 2025  - Co-created Vision + Mission and Guiding Principles

The Process

Destination Marketing Review

To develop a relevant and reliable Plan, it was essential to undertake a comprehensive review of current demand driving activities.

Consultation with the industry, government, trade partners and community was an essential part of developing a robust and valid benchmark of the current state of play in the region, and was collected through online workshops and individual meetings with  key stakeholders.

This gave us a birds eye view of the state of play, which then helped to identify where the major opportunities were for the Region.

Brand, Visitor Experience and Visitor Alignment Planning

Understanding the experiences that comprised East Arnhem Land's visitor economy was essential to identify gaps and opportunities for growth as it relates to the needs of the region’s current and future high yielding Visitor Personas, Niche Interest and Industry Sector travellers.

Consumer Research

To help identify the visitors who have the best alignment to the region (respectful behaviour, time/budget, alignment to the region's experience strengths) and to understand what language and stories would motivate them to add East Arnhem Land to their to bucket list, we worked closely with McGregor Tan Research to develop Qualitative Consumer Research Project which provided key insights for the identification of the high value visitors for the region and key marketing and brand messaging.

Plan Development, Delivery and Adoption

We then combined the Consumer insights with our collective knowledge and expertise to develop the Marketing Plan, which included an aligned Vision, Mission, Strategic Priority, Customers and a detailed Action Plan.

To help ensure the Plan remains an agile and flexible roadmap that can respond to the ever changing landscape, we developed the following scaffolded implementation resources:

  • Brand Positioning Framework - which articulated the key messages and language around the destination’s experience strengths.
  • Visitor Personas and Persona Storytelling Map - a working scaffold of storytelling ideas to guide the communication of the right stories of the region to attract the region's identified high value visitors and niche markets.
  • Visitor Servicing Map - a working framework for all stakeholders talking the region's visitors, to help ensure all visitors are informed, prepared, respectful and responsible guests of East Arnhem Land.

The Plan was endorsed and presented to industry in late 2022 via an online industry webinar, with implementation commencing immediately.

Social Media Management

Throughout September and October 2022, we also supported DEAL to activate the new Plan through Social Media Management and Mentoring.

This enabled the new Plan to be brought to life on the region's Facebook and Instagram pages, combined with mentoring with DEAL staff to enable them to continue to implement best practice destination social media from late 2022.

In just two months, incredible organic social media results were seen (read below in results). We've also published a separate case study for this piece of work if you'd like to read more detail of the strategy, implementation and outcomes >

EAL Priority Areas And Actions

^ Marketing Plan Industry Workshop October 2022 Slides

Results

Since the Plan was finalised and implementation was undertaken.

Some of the key outcomes already underway:

  • Alignment of Social Media to the new strategy (with our support for the first couple of months) included some amazing results:
    • On Facebook
      • Fanbase increased by nearly 20%
      • Reach increased by over 630%
      • Reactions increased by over 573%
      • Comments increased by almost 589%
      • Shares increased by over 485%
      • Engagements increased by over 308%
      • 5 of the top 10 most engaging, and 7 of the top 10 highest reaching Facebook posts of the last 12 months were posted within the two-month period.
    • On Instagram
      • Followers increased by over 4%
      • Reach increased by over 239%
      • Likes increased by over 152%
      • Comments increased by 415%
      • Saves increased by almost 397%
      • Profile visits increased by almost 86%
      • 8 of the top 10 most engaging and 3 of the top 10 highest reaching Instagram posts of the last 12 months were posted within the two-month period.
    • Social Media Traffic to Website
      • Social media referrals (sessions) to the East Arnhem Land website increased by 751.33%.
      • The share of social media referrals (users) almost tripled.
      • Facebook traffic increased by 782%
      • Instagram traffic increased by 127%
  • Updates and optimisation of the region's destination website to attract and convert more visitor enquiry.

Throughout the process, the team at Tourism eSchool was professional, responsive, and always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that the plan met the specific needs and expectations of the region.

Developing East Arnhem Limited commissioned Tourism eSchool to deliver a three-year Destination Marketing Strategy on behalf of the East Arnhem tourism industry. Tourism eSchool effectively captured the unique characteristics and significance of the area and developed a comprehensive plan that showcases the beauty and diversity of East Arnhem Land. Throughout the process, the team at Tourism eSchool was professional, responsive, and always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that the plan met the specific needs and expectations of the region. Thank you to Rebecca, Paige, and Brooke for your hard work and expertise in creating this strategy; it is clearly reflected in the final product.
Ryley Heap, Tourism Development Officer, Developing East Arnhem Limited