This tutorial will show you how a well-crafted ATDW listing can attract more customers. In this tutorial we will explain:
- What ATDW is
- Benefits of an ATDW listing
- Your first step in getting an ATDW listing
- How to write an effective ATDW listing description
- How to make your listing stand out with photos
- How good video imagery can say more than words and a photo
- The highly beneficial relationship between your listing, Tourism Australia, your local State or Territory Tourism Organisation (STO) and their marketing campaigns.
We salute your expertise. We admire your interest in improving your online marketing. Nobody knows your business better than you. Nobody else has your passion. These are your strengths, so with that in mind, let’s get started.
What is ATDW?
Launched in 2001 as a joint initiative of Tourism Australia and all Australian State and Territory Government Tourism Organisations, the ATDW’s ultimate function is to support the Australian Tourism industry with digital marketing to help extend your exposure and attract more business online.
ATDW stores and then publishes your tourism information to State, Territory and Regional Tourism Websites and other travel related websites and smartphone apps.
If your product or service falls into any of the following categories: accommodation, attraction, events, tour, transport, hire operators, restaurant or general service – then the ATDW is your ‘must have’ partner to increase your digital distribution and online marketing exposure.
Benefits of an ATDW listing
An ATDW listing has many benefits for tourism operators. These include:
- the ease of listing once, and the listing will appear on multiple websites
- the significant amount of exposure your listing will gain from appearing on a highly reputable State or Territory Tourism Organisation website that attracts well over a million visitors each year
- the opportunity for most database categories to also appear on Tourism Australia’s website www.australia.com
- the savings you’ll make and can therefore use in other areas of your business because ATDW listings are either free or only cost a small annual fee
- a system that is user friendly and will prompt you to answer the necessary questions and provide your potential new customers with the information they want to see
- the ability to update your information quickly and without additional cost
- quality control by your State or Territory Tourism Organisation so you know your listing is at a national standard.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to find out whether or not your business is already listed on the ATDW. It’s possible that either your State or Territory Tourism Organisation or someone else in your business may have previously registered and entered a listing. It’s good to check that you’re not duplicating their effort. You can look up ATDW products at http://atdw.com.au/products/
If you can’t find a listing for your business or event, check your eligibility and register with your State or Territory Tourism Organisation. You will find their contact details on this page http://atdw.com.au/howtolistorupdate/. More information on the ATDW and benefits of listing on the ATDW can be found here http://atdw.com.au/tourismoperators/.
We recommend that before you start, you carefully consider this:
A professional, well written description, great photos and video are the most important components of your ATDW listing. Even if these are the only areas that you focus on, success can still be yours!
Tip – Create an ATDW listing folder – it can be a manila folder or a folder on your computer. Add the notes you just created about finding your listing.
How to write an effective ATDW description that may help in attracting more customers
Your description should engage the consumer, captivate them and make them want to experience your product and ultimately book!
In this section we will look at:
- how to differentiate between features and benefits
- the importance of including benefits in your listing
- including your unique selling proposition in your description
- why you should have your most important information in the first one or two sentences of your listing
- why short sentences are better for online promotion
- how to write within the maximum word limit
- information not to include in your description
- how to show your potential customers that you’re offering an authentic experience
- the importance of accuracy and currency.
- If customers are looking through a list of tourism products, you need to give them a reason to stop their search at you. Writing up a list of the features or facilities that you offer won’t do it. The key is to focus on the benefits you can offer your customers. Not sure what the difference is? Take a look at the following table:
|floor to ceiling windows||you can enjoy the incredible views of the landscape (or waterfront or city)|
|tour with commentary||you can hear all about the area from a local who’s lived there all their life|
|free high speed wifi||you can access your social media, emails, internet search or loved ones easily at no extra charge, which then means you have more money to spend on other things while you’re away|
|close to main attractions||you won’t need spend your day fighting traffic|
|cot available||you can travel lighter|
|award winning building||you can also access great architecture while you’re here|
|interpretive signs||you can learn at your own pace without needing a guide|
- Effective promotional messages all contain the following elements; Where, What, Who, How and Why. The listing description is your chance to tell your customers a little of the WHAT and a lot of the WHY. The WHY are your benefits; the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor. If you haven’t done it already, write up your benefits. Knowing and promoting your benefits will help you attract more customers.
- Once you’ve identified your benefits, ask yourself which ones are unique to your business. That special difference is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s important to include your USP towards the beginning of your listing so potential customers can immediately differentiate you from your competitors.
- If you’re still not sure about your USP, get some inspiration by asking a contented guest or looking at your positive reviews on Tripadvisor (www.tripadvisor.com.au). Go and experience what your competition offers. At the very least, check out their website or their Trip Advisor review and look for what you offer that others don’t. Some examples might be; home-made biscuits and fresh flowers, commentaries in multiple languages or specialist guides.
- For more information on Unique Selling Propositions, check out www.business.qld.gov.au/business/running/marketing/advertising/create-selling-proposition
TIP: add your USP information to your ATDW listing folder and save it for later.
- In today’s busy world people want access to the most important information ‘now’. Your first sentence should mention your business or event name to help with search engine optimisation. It also needs to include your unique selling proposition. Include your other benefits at the very top of your listing so they don’t get missed by someone too busy to read to the bottom.
- Short sentences are the easiest and quickest to read online. It’s that simple. Make sure you only include one key message/benefit per sentence. Limit your sentences to 10 words or less. You’ll improve your online promotion by giving your customers quick access to your best points.
- The description section you’ll use for your ATDW listing has a maximum word limit. Whatever the limit, the formula is simple. If your limit is 100 words, then you have 10 sentences of 10 words; 150 words means 15 sentences etc.
- If you still have word count left after promoting your own benefits, mentioning great food and wine experiences or tourism businesses nearby adds another benefit. This information can also improve your customers’ experience in the area.
- Do not include the Where, How or Who to contact in your listing description. The database has other places for that information.
- NOTE: If you put times, dates, costs, contact details, or hypertext (including URLs) into your description, it will be rejected during Quality Assurance. You’ll need to rewrite it.
- Don’t use acronyms or abbreviations in your listing. Most people won’t know what you mean.
- Avoid italics, bolds, ampersands (&) and special characters whenever possible. They can detrimentally affect the way your listing appears on some websites.
- Write as you talk. Use your personal voice and try to express your personality: “Are you interested in relaxing and unwinding? These beds are so comfortable you’ll want to sleep in.Try their great food and enjoy not having to cook.” Your personal voice adds authenticity to your business and to your listing. Just remember that your ATDW listing is appearing on someone else’s website.Instead of saying ‘our’ or ‘my’ or using phrases like ‘we will’ as you might on your own website, you’ll need to write ‘their’ or simply ‘the’. For example “Swim away any tension in their/the sparkling pool”.
- The need for authenticity was supported by the introduction of the Google Hummingbird algorithm in late 2013. An algorithm is a ‘recipe’ to rank websites based on different factors. Hummingbird uses semantics (the analysis of the relationship between words) to rank results and prioritise pages. Semantics focuses on crafting content to answer the specific questions your target market may have. Listing your benefits will help answer these questions up front.
- Keep your ATDW listing up to date. Nothing annoys a customer more than discovering outdated information. Remember, your one update goes to all the websites where your listing appears.
- Enter events as early as possible so customers can plan ahead and include you in their visit.
- Write your description in a word document before you copy and paste it into ATDW. This will help pick up any accidental spelling and grammar mistakes, which means that your listing is likely to be approved faster.
Here’s an example of a great description of one of ATDW’s restaurant listings, Steakhouse 66.
Tip – Get a friend (or someone outside the business) to look over the description. Sometimes you can be too close to the project to view it objectively.
Now that we’ve discussed the words, let’s look at the pictures.
How to make your listing stand out with photos
A picture says a thousand words. Photos are an effective way to add more detail to your listing. In this section we’ll look at:
- Why photos are so important in generating interest
- Steps to taking and choosing good quality photos for your listing
- The purpose of Alt Text and why it’s important
Why photos are so important in generating interest online
Human beings are visual creatures. Photos enable us to dream. We imagine ourselves in the photo or video; seeing ourselves taking that break or having that experience. Photos should ideally include people so your audience can relate. They don’t need to be staged, it’s more important that they’re authentic.
Let’s look at how to get some great shots that will add meaning to your listing.
Steps for taking and choosing good quality photos for your listing
Step 1. Get a good camera
These days, digital cameras are inexpensive and they often do all the work for you. You can take heaps of shots and experiment without wasting film and developing costs. This YouTube video offers advice on how to select a good digital camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LuPAy09ocU
If you don’t want to buy a new camera, the latest smart phones can also take photos and videos with remarkable quality. Just make sure your phone camera settings are correct for the highest possible resolution.
Step 2. Decide which shots will mean the most to potential customers
While you can take hundreds of photos to experiment with your digital camera, for this exercise you’ll save time if you decide on the types of photos you want to take first.
Try taking yourself on a “photographic holiday”. Find a business or event like yours. Look online or in magazines for photos that inspire you and put them into a folder. Write down why those photos inspired you. What kind of story do those photos evoke?
Now think of photos that will inspire people in the same way about your business or event. Think about the shots like someone who doesn’t know what you’re offering.
When you take photos, make sure they’re ones that will add extra meaning to your listing. You want your photos to highlight your unique selling proposition and show something you didn’t have enough words to describe.
Step 3. How to show your location at its best
Your photos must accurately reflect your business. Honesty will result in better reviews, which will result in more customers. A location shot should engage, inspire, motivate, invite and show off your strong points without giving false impressions. Think about using different camera angles. Take a selection of photos at the most appealing time of day (e.g. sunrise); just keep in mind that if your business isn’t open at night, a twilight shot may not be appropriate. >
Think about views, but make sure you’re captioning views appropriately e.g. “view from the top of the nearby hill”, or “Dining room view from units 1-4”.
Step 4. Show a variety of photos
Consider showing photos:
- with people (remember your target markets)
- without people
- that are close ups
- with wide angle panoramas
- of different room types (for accommodation)
- of different meals (for restaurants)
- of inside shots
- of outside shots
- with different vehicles or destinations (for hire and tours)
Other points to note:
- the ATDW has a limit on the number of photos so choose 4 – 6 that best reflect your business.
- your tourism organisation might have restrictions on size and orientation so check their requirements before you start
- photos must be in jpeg format
- minimum image dimensions are:2048 x 1536 pixels
- The size cannot be bigger than 10MB
- Landscape pictures only are accepted
- No logos or text on images will be accepted
- This required image size can easily be captured on many smartphones and inexpensive digital cameras.
- The ATDW-Online system will indicate if your photos do not meet the minimum requirements and ask you to replace these. A convenient photo uploading tool is available to help crop your images to the correct dimensions. See this video for a demonstration: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbj3NcVY6vA&feature=youtu.be )
Tip: The Wix blog has a great post “7 Photography Tips for Shooting Interiors Like a Pro”. http://www.wix.com/blog/2013/11/interior-photography-tips/ See the example shot below.
Digital Camera World has “10 quick action photography tips” for shooting action shots: www.digitalcameraworld.com/2010/10/20/10-quick-action-photography-tips
Step 5. Include experiential and emotional photos for greater appeal
It’s great to have shots of people experiencing your business or event. Some customers will see themselves in those photos. Other times they’ll want to picture themselves in a people-free space.
Traditionally, eastern markets like Asia tend to respond more to shots with people, whereas Western audiences prefer big open spaces.
Step 6. Keeping your photos current and real
Staged, over produced shots look unreal and don’t appeal. Consider using or taking shots like the one above, with real people.
Keep in mind that changing fashions and hairstyles can date a photo.
Changing technology can also date a photo. When did you last have analogue TVs in your rooms? Update your photos when you update your facilities.
Turn off the date stamp on your camera before you start. If you need to remember when photos were taken, then create a folder for that year or season and store them accordingly.
IMPORTANT: If you’re using any people in your promotional photos (even in the background) you’ll need those people to sign a release form. The release form should be designed to permit you to use the person in your photos which will be used for commercial purposes.
Step 7. The importance of high resolution photos
Many people will see your listing on a tablet, smartphone or iPad. It will look much better on these devices if you’ve used high resolution photos. Your photos will often appear next to those of your competitors. Ensure they’re high resolution and promoting you in the best way possible. Today the ATDW automatically adjusts your photos to ensure they load quickly as part of your ATDW listing, regardless of size.
The ATDW accepts four images per product although different STOs may allow more images. Each image that you load through the MyATDW interface is automatically resized and saved into the various varieties that other distributors and the ATDW require.
The purpose of Alt text and why it’s important
Alt text or Alternate text is there for visually impaired people. Screen reading technology will read out the alt text you enter. Alt text should give a brief but accurate description of the photo for people who have low or no vision.
Why video is important in your listing
Now that you’ve created a compelling description and photos, you’re already in a position to attract more customers. The third step to success is a video.
Video is a triple treat: people can hear what’s going on, see body language and view experiences all at the same time.
Video is one of the most popular content items on the web. You don’t need lots of resources to create an authentic video that will provide your customers with more information and add value to your listing.
Even if you don’t have a video on your own website yet, it’s easy to get one onto your ATDW listing.
A current smartphone makes it easy to shoot video. You can upload a video from your phone to a YouTube channel. Once your video is on your YouTube channel, you can add the link to your ATDW listing. You can also embed the video into your own website.
If you’re not confident about creating a short video, professional video producers can do it for you for around AU$500 (as at April 2014).
In this section we’ll look at:
- what an authentic video includes
- what you should record
- tips for success
- where to find more information
An authentic video will make your business appeal to more customers and should:
- tell your story truthfully
- be an enjoyable and positive experience
You could record any or all of the following:
- guests enjoying your experience
- local scenery or views from your property
- the ambience of the restaurant
- the highlight of the tour or a testimonial from a happy guest
Tips for great video production
- keep video length to 120 seconds, otherwise people will lose interest
- aim to focus one third of the video on your offering and two thirds on the other reasons to visit your region, including food – people want good food when they’re away from home!
- check the YouTube help pages to find out information relating to file length etc. before you commence creating your video
- ensure that the background environment is free from background noise
- have camera or phone close the participant to ensure good sound quality
- feature people using your product in the video
- keep the product as large as possible on the screen
- don’t rush panning shots
- get an objective view of your video before you put it on YouTube – if your video is too long or not great quality,we’d recommend you use a video professional to help with editing
- don’t add captions or subtitles as these may not be allowed by all video hosts
The relationship between your listing, Tourism Australia, your State or Territory Tourism Organisation and their campaigns.
Tourism Australia and your State Tourism Organisation regularly run major campaigns to attract more visitors. For updates on how to get involved, you’re encouraged to subscribe to Tourism Australia’s weekly Essentials e-newsletter http://www.tourism.australia.com/subscribe.
Have you heard about Tourism Australia’s “Restaurant Australia” campaign?
In response to the growing demand globally for food and wine as part of the travel experience, Tourism Australia will be evolving its “There’s nothing like Australia” global consumer marketing campaign to put the spotlight on Australia’s finest array of produce served in the most stunning locations in the world.- Tourism Australia
This is a multi-million dollar campaign designed to highlight the amazing food and wine offerings Australia has. See the Restaurant Australia website for more information – http://restaurant.australia.com>
Even though your business or event may not be featured, the campaign will bring visitors to the region and they may visit you. If your listing promotes regional food and wine, you’re offering visitors another reason to come to you and supporting the international message.
As Tourism Australia develops each phase of the “There’s nothing like Australia”campaign, it will keep industry updated on opportunities to share in the spotlight on to Australia’s food and wine experiences.
In summary, here are the steps to achieve an effective ATDW listing that showcases your business and can maximise your opportunities:
- Check that you’re listed on the ATDW database by visiting your State or Territory Tourism Organisation’s consumer website or searching ATDW’s database here – http://atdw.com.au/products/
- Contact your State or Territory Tourism Organisation if you can’t find a listing. See here for details http://atdw.com.au/howtolistorupdate/
- Write an engaging business description that highlights the benefits and can be quickly read because it uses short sentences
- Collect compelling photos and video footage for your listing
- Set a review period to regularly review your description and photos, and schedule these reviews in your diary
- If something changes in your business, change your listing
- Remember to “cross promote” other businesses in your region and/or major campaigns in your copy
- STOs reserve the right to reject changes that you have made in your MyATDW. Ask for an explanation and advice on how to improve your listing
And our final tip … keep everything related to your ATDW listing in one place and note down your username and password.
Good luck! Remember, your State or Territory Tourism Organisation is there to help!