Tourism Down Under ready for take off once borders reopen - GTI
GTI is a leading marketing agency for the tourism and leisure sector and delivers integrated solutions to support its clients’ growth, purpose and development goals.
The agency has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in New Zealand. OTT's representation agencies are helping to further engage clients and businesses through our network of country websites. The agencies will drive clients’ social media campaigns and produce dedicated blogs and newsletters for the countries or regions they represent. In previous months, we’ve met Get it Across in Germany and Break the Ice Media in New York.
This week, we talk to GTI Group Account Director Anne Lee (middle, back row). Read on to find out more about the new requirements of “pent up” travellers who are keen to get exploring again after the lockdowns of 2020 and why clarity around social distancing and safety measures will be key to gaining customer confidence.
Anne, in your own words, tell us a bit about your agency...
Anne: GTI is an award-winning PR, social and marketing agency with offices in Australia (Sydney and Melbourne) and New Zealand (Auckland). It specialises in travel and tourism representation and its current suite of clients includes LATAM Airlines, Vanuatu Tourism Office, New Caledonia Tourism, Element Melbourne Richmond, New York State, YTL Hotels, Globus Family of Brands, Park City and OTT (Online Travel Training). It was named Travel PR Agency of the Year at the 2020 Mumbrella Travel Marketing Awards, with recent accolades including Breakthrough Destination of the Year for Vanuatu Tourism Office at the 2020 Mumbrella Travel Marketing Awards (Finalist), Marketing Campaign of the Year for New Caledonia Tourism at the 2019 Travel Awards (Winner) and Marketing Campaign of the Year for Visit Seattle at the 2019 Travel Awards (Finalist).
How long have you been working in travel?
Anne: GTI has been providing communication and marketing services in Australia & New Zealand for 14 years. Established by managing director, Sarah Anderson, in 2006, our team consists of tourism industry specialists recognised for expertise and constant innovation in consumer marketing, public relations, trade, social media and digital marketing. We are well-regarded and renowned for working in innovative ways which have been recognised in the industry recently. We were awarded “Travel PR Agency of the Year” at the 2020 Mumbrella Travel Marketing Awards and winner of the Marketing Campaign of the Year at the 2019 Australian Travel Awards. OTT is in good hands with the main account team, Anne Lee and Jessica Luxton, having a combined tourism communications experience spanning 25 years both in Australia and internationally.
What trends are you seeing in your markets right now?
Anne: Research indicates Australians are keen to travel as soon as possible to COVID-safe countries and pent up demand is likely to see strong booking levels once borders open. Key trends indicated are consumers increasingly looking for uncrowded areas and places that offer the outdoors and open spaces with social distancing being key. Younger customers (aged 18-40) are also a key demographic target as research is showing that they will be the first to travel again. Consumers also need to be clear on the safety and cleanliness protocols and therefore brand trust will be a top purchase driver.
How important is the role of the travel agents within your country?
Anne: It’s anticipated that with store closures and redundancies, as well as the closure of high-profile brands such as STA Travel, there will be fewer travel agents post-crisis. However in counter-balance, it’s expected that with COVID-19 redrawing airline routes, destination preference and travel habits, Australian travellers will rely on agents even more to advise which destinations are COVID-safe, offer appealing travel experiences and give consumers peace of mind when putting down deposits and payments for travel.
Can you describe the importance of training travel agents within your country?
Anne: Online training is increasingly becoming a must-have for any destination, airline, tourism operator and tourism product in Australia. Even at this current time of flux with the global COVID-19 crisis, tourism companies are looking to engage with their agents and community more than ever and train in their destinations and travel product so that they have information readily available to encourage future travel plans once the craziness of COVID-19 has dissipated.
How do you think technology is changing the way people learn about and book travel?
Anne: The fast pace nature of technology updates creates an immediate need of readily available, up-to-date information online. Ensuring that you have an up-to-date and user-friendly online presence is vital in the current climate.
What you are most looking forward to while working with OTT?
Anne: It is really exciting to be able to offer the industry a platform with so many different courses with interesting and different destinations and travel product in one place. We are looking forward to growing OTT in this market to become a leader for training and learning in the industry.
Can you recommended a destination within the country/markets you represent and a brief description why?
Anne: We represent so many amazing and inspiring destinations and travel product it is very hard to name one! All of our destinations and clients we can recommend for varied and different reasons, so don’t make me choose! Holidaying at home is key right now in Australia and then for when boarders open, we have fantastic clients with our close neighbours in the South Pacific and in the longer haul markets such as Japan, Singapore and the US.
Where would you most like to visit… anywhere in the world?
Anne: For myself personally, I am really interested in exploring more of Africa in the future and taking my daughter on safari when she is older. She has taken an interest in David Attenborough documentaries and nothing beats seeing animals in their natural habitat!