Travellers can now tap into their trusted network of Facebook friends for inspiration and ideas to plan and make the most of a holiday in Australia thanks to a new app launched this week by Tourism Australia on its Facebook page.
The new ‘Discover Australia Through Your Friends’ app - the first of its kind in the world - merges the best of Google Maps and Facebook technology to create a unique travel planning tool to not only help choose where in Australia to go, but also provide inspiration and advice from friends who may already have been there.
The app provides users with a location-specific snapshot of where all of their Facebook friends have previously ‘checked in’, photos they may have ‘tagged’ and also any comments they may have posted about their travel experiences whilst there.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy believes that the new app will be welcomed both by travellers and the Australian tourism industry.
“We know from research that more and more travellers are turning to their social media networks for inspiration to help them plan and get the best out of their holidays," Mr McEvoy said.
“Tourism Australia has been a global leader in the digital space for over a decade and this innovative social media tool will make word of mouth from your trusted network of Facebook friends even more powerful,” he said.
The launch of the new app follows new research findings, released by Tourism Australia earlier this month, demonstrating the growing impact of social media on the way Australians travel around their own country.
A survey of over 1,000 Facebook users nationwide revealed up to 73 per cent admit to proactively checking the social media networks of their friends whilst they are on holiday, including visiting their friends’ Facebook pages, checking news feeds, photos, reading status updates or directly conversing about the trip on Facebook.
20 per cent of those surveyed also admitted they have been prompted to book a domestic holiday as a result of viewing these Facebook updates, often inspired by photos and check-ins.
“Facebook remains a key plank in Tourism Australia’s social media strategy to promote the country’s tourism credentials at home and abroad through the power of advocacy,” Mr McEvoy said.
Tourism Australia Executive General Manager Consumer Marketing, Nick Baker, who has led the national tourism agency’s innovative digital and social media approach, said Tourism Australia’s Facebook page now enjoyed over three million advocates.
“The wisdom that is generated has been crucial in Tourism Australia’s advocacy strategy. But this tool provides direct advice from your friends, which is much better,” Mr Baker said.
“We know from research that more and more travellers are turning to their social media networks for inspiration to help them plan and get the best out of their holidays," he said.
“Tourism Australia’s new Facebook app recognises this insight and provides a simple to use involving your closest and most trusted friends to help connect with and share great ideas to plan and make the most of your trip".
“The new Discover Australia Through Your Friends app is also a great tool for the industry – allowing us to simultaneously showcase these postings as fantastic examples of things for visitors to do nearby, whilst spending time exploring our great country.”
It also includes many recommended attractions and experiences previously uploaded by Australians and travellers to Australia as part of Tourism Australia’s There’s nothing like Australia campaign and featured online at its popular www.australia.com site.