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Remote Control Tourists Entice Visitors to Australia

  |  October 18, 2013   |  Comments

Tourism Victoria wants to allow potential Melbourne, Australia visitors to “try before they buy” with its remote control Tourist initiative, in which four “tourists” followed online suggestions to explore the city.

remote-control-touristIn order to inspire visits to Melbourne, Tourism Victoria, the Victorian government's lead tourism agency in Australia, launched a remote control tourist, an initiative that allowed visitors to explore the city virtually by directing four people throughout it.

These adventures were captured and streamed online in real time. The content will live on in additional website promotional efforts.

From October 9 to 13, two remote control tourists were "the ears, eyes and even taste buds of everyday people," offering a first-person perspective of Melbourne, Tourism Victoria says.

The remote control tourist was live for eight hours each day over the course of the promotion.

A team of four remote control tourists rotated throughout, with two available on the ground at any one time.

The remote control tourists underwent a thorough selection process, and were picked "because of their engaging personalities and extensive knowledge and love of Melbourne," says Tourism Victoria chief executive Leigh Harry.

The contraptions were connected to the world via helmet-mounted cameras, microphones, GPS and "some clever mobile live streaming technology," Tourism Victoria says. Their doings were suggested by the public on the remote control tourist website using Twitter or Facebook. Consumers could also participate by reading and sharing information about Melbourne products and experiences and by exploring detailed location maps, stats and images, Harry adds.

Requests filtered to a central command center where they were compiled, assessed and fed out to the remote control tourists. Every user's request appeared in a stream.

The remote control tourists undertook requests that took them on the most interesting adventures, Harry says.

In addition, the campaign's mobile experience allowed users to watch footage as it was seen by the remote control tourists.

According to the site, more than 8,700 requests were generated over the course of the campaign, along with 321 check-ins.

"When holiday time is so precious, destination decisions are even more important. With Melbourne remote control tourist, travelers have the opportunity to try before they buy, getting a real time, real look at some of Melbourne's hidden gems, attractions, culinary experiences and meeting friendly locals in the ever-evolving, surprising city," Harry says. "The ultimate goal is that users interacting with the site will be inspired, amused and intrigued enough to want to see the city in first person."

The idea was inspired by Tourism Victoria's Play Melbourne television and multimedia campaign. Aimed at the domestic Australian and New Zealand markets, it has been running since 2011 and highlights the "playful and intriguing aspects" of Melbourne, Tourism Victoria says.

"Their experiences [were] broadcast via live video streaming, enabling viewers to experience Melbourne virtually, from a first-hand perspective. The initiative [was] designed to encourage the audience to engage with Melbourne in a new way during the course of the campaign, to discover new finds, insights and destinations and delve a little deeper into all that the city has to offer," Harry says.

Following the live activation period, Harry says continued promotion will focus on generating ongoing engagement via video and image content developed through the initiative. This will include a promotion requiring consumers to engage with the remote control tourist website to find hidden icons to win prizes, including trips to Melbourne, Harry says.

Advertising will also focus on generating further promotion of Melbourne and driving additonal engagement with Tourism Victoria's websites, Harry adds.

Daily highlights are available on YouTube.

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Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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