In October, I discussed the impending Oprah trip to Australia and what it would mean to Australian tourism. I wrote then, and still believe, that while it obviously will be great for generating buzz and is a PR person’s dream come true, I don’t think it will have a measurable impact on tourism in Australia.
Well, Oprah is finally in Australia with 300 of her luckiest fans enjoying all that the country has to offer. While the itinerary is mostly a secret, suffice it to say that everyone is having a great time. (by the way, my Oprah-holding-koala prediction was 100% accurate)
I was going to let the whole trip pass without commenting again, until I read an article in the Cairns Post which quoted the owners of an Eco Lodge who said Oprah’s visit to their property would have financial impacts for decades. Decades?
While I find it extremely dubious to assert coverage on the Oprah show will benefit a business for twenty years, the oddball statement made me think about the real repercussions of the Oprah trip.
As I said in my earlier article, I do not think Australia will enjoy an appreciable, significant increase in tourism thanks to the Oprah show. Simply put, they’re just not targeting the right audience. In order to increase American tourism, one needs to pursue and target those travelers who are already considering a long haul trip. Money, especially for families, is not the only concern – distance is. But if you can convince travelers who are already considering long haul travel to visit, then you will have succeeded.
But that is not to say that Australian companies and properties highlighted on the Oprah show won’t enjoy economic benefits, they most certainly will. Australia is a long trip and truthfully, the average American does not know many people who have visited the continent. That means that they are dependent on reviews, online, in books and on TV for advice on where to stay and what to do. This is the real genius of the Oprah trip, it brings into America’s living rooms the answer to what is there to do in Australia besides the obvious.
I especially love that, it would appear, the Oprah show is highlighting sustainable and experiential travel, both of which are Australian specialties. It is these companies who will receive massive bookings from those ALREADY planning to visit. That is where one will see the biggest impact from the Oprah show and my hats off to the operators for finagling a spot.
So while Oprah may not cause a tourism revolution in Australia, she will help Americans better plan their trips there and make those few companies lucky enough to be featured more successful than they could have ever dreamed.