DMO Stories

Callum Mack, Industry Partnerships Executive at Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, will be joining us on Friday 30th November for DTTT Global in Helsinki.

Callum will be talking about how ATDW manage effective content distribution through a national platform, coordianting over 40,000 listings. He will be sharing the learnings, challenges and overall value for the country as a whole. Here is a preview of what you can expect at Global

Please introduce yourself and explain a little bit about your role at ATDW. - What is your background? How long have you been with ATDW?

I began working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (Heron Island) for Voyages Hotel and Resorts before transferring to Ayers Rock Resort.  I then moved into operational management roles for Accor Hotels in Brisbane. I secured a position at ATDW at the beginning of 2015 as Industry Partnerships Executive focusing on working with governmental organisations and the management of their digital content.

The ATDW is Australia’s National Tourism Database of 40,000 listings, divided into 11 categories.  State Government owned and funded, we collect, quality assure, store and then distribute Australia’s digital travel information to over 250 distributors to use on their consumer websites and apps.

For our tourism operators who are listed in the database, we offer cost-effective, digital distribution and significant online exposure and Online distributors are presented with easy access to accurate, up-to-date, consumer-relevant tourism content.

ATDW has been going strong since 2001 and continuing to grow, how did it all start?

In 2001 the power brokers of tourism in Australia (Tourism Australia and all eight Australian States and Territories) banded together and had the foresight to see that digital was the future and data management was critical to their future success. Taking advantage of economies of scale, they started small and over time many of millions of dollars have been invested (and some mistakes made) for us to reach the exciting stage we are now at.

What has been the biggest challenge for ATDW?

Keeping up with evolving changes in technology and maintaining the global front-running position in Tourism data management with the evolution of the Googles and Facebooks of this world.

What sets our platform apart is that the data is quality assured by human beings who know the market the product resides in. We must constantly review our strategy and planning to ensure that we remain relevant and continue to add enormous value to every market in which we operate.

What have been the biggest successes so far? 

The successful collaboration of all eight Australian states resulting in a Single National Platform which has transformed the business – this modern technology system has made it easy for operators and distributors alike with us achieving record numbers of both audiences now using the platform.

What would you say are some of the most common challenges DMOs and tourism operators face in the current climate?  

DMO’s are under pressure to add value and support the needs of the industry, from the small B&B owner through to the large multinational tour operator. They are often torn between being a marketing organisation versus a commercial entity endeavouring to monetise their relationship with the industry.

Tourism Operators vary greatly in regard to their budgets and resources – the common theme however is that they want digital distribution to be easy, but they are time poor. They also have an inherent fear of digital marketing, too many buzz words and black magic for them to keep up with – also many question the high commissions having to be paid to OTAs.

In light of the previous question, what are the biggest opportunities DMOs and tourism operators can benefit from by partnering with ATDW, and partnerships in general

In a nutshell, the hard work designing and building this system has been done - the system works and adds true value to the industry. The most critical point is that whilst it adds value to the smallest operator it still provides real value to the top end of town.  As we licence the system globally we will establish a community relationship between all users to share ideas and co-invest in industry leading developments.

In regard to any both parties need to have clear understanding of what each other parties expect from the relationship – a win for each partner is critical to its ongoing success.

How does ATDW successfully coordinate so many listings, distributors and partners? What is the key to the success of ATDW? 

We have clear rules and guidelines – we don’t waiver from these, so it makes it easy for everyone.  We have also narrowed and refocused our company’s operations to the core of running the platform – we have outsourced everything that we could.

We are mainly focused on making things easy, we are confident about our relevance and extremely excited about our future.

ATDW is a great example of a destination coming together to collectively maximise its tourism industry as much as possible -  would you say this has had a substantial impact on the number of visitors Australia attracts?

There is no doubt that ATDW plays a critical part in the behind the scenes success of the Australian Tourism industry. We are not `the` reason Australia enjoys such success attracting tourists, but we are an integral part of `that` reason.

What advice would you give for destinations looking to potentially do the same?

Don’t be too proud to enter a licencing agreement with ATDW and get a system that works with a clear and transparent cost model. In the history of ATDW most projects have cost at least twice the amount of the original estimate.

What will attendees be able to take away from your talk? Why should they attend

ATDW is moving into the global licencing of a world first product in digital tourism. Here is an opportunity for DMOs to take advantage of the hard work which has already been done.  We are essentially providing the tourism leaders an opportunity to recreate their local tourism industry.  Why would they not leap at the chance to leave a legacy that they will be positively remembered for?

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