Established in July 2016, Visit Victoria is the primary tourism and events government agency for the state government of Victoria. They drive destination marketing for both domestic and international visitors, along with acquiring and funding Victoria’s diverse and world-class calendar of major events.
We sat down with Chief Digital Officer, Chris Rundle to discuss the company’s recent MarTech journey. Chris said, “the last couple of years have been a challenging time for the tourism industry and our job has never been more important - we’ve been doing everything we can think of to support them, including implementing digitally-led solutions”. COVID-19 completely changed their roadmap and reshaped the way they worked as an organisation as recovery for Victoria’s tourism industry operators became the driving focus.
As of September 2022, Visit Victoria has officially rolled out their new Customer Data Platform (CDP), Tealium, and looks to the future with a clear, prioritised, and strong ambition to accelerate tourism in Victoria.
There’s two parts to this success story. The first is about creating a three-year digital technology roadmap by looking at the current state and future state. The second looks at how Visit Victoria worked with Tealium and The Lumery to build out their data capabilities in a privacy-first manner.
We’ll delve into both, where it all started, the challenges overcome, and Rundle’s sage advice for any businesses that find themselves in a similar position.
Part One: Tourism recovery mode activated; creating Visit Victoria’s three-year Roadmap (The Technology Blueprint)
Visit Victoria’s core mission is to bring visitors to Melbourne and Victoria. However, due to the pandemic the state experienced a temporary loss of 90% of visitation. This meant a significant amount of work would be required in the recovery phase to drive their main objective. They quickly recognised that their current MarTech ecosystem was not easily scalable and had areas of opportunity that could be used to support Victoria’s tourism recovery.
They were looking for a partner to help them prioritise the future of their marketing technology, to ensure they could future-proof, and support business cases for funding across digital areas of their business.
Enter: The Technology Blueprint.
Chris explained that having separate business entities coming together when Visit Victoria was established presented challenges across the tech stack and led to data silos.
“I think that was really the genesis of our Technology Blueprint. We needed to audit where we sat today and look at the future of how we could drive success through our digital and data capabilities,” Chris said.
The Lumery conducted a series of workshops and 1-1 interviews to map out every piece of tech, and how they use it in the current state.
“Across our teams, we worked with The Lumery to audit the existing MarTech activities, systems, and processes that were underway. Our objective was to create a view of the current landscape and blueprint that we could then look to build on in the following components of the project,” Chris said.
Following the current state, a series of ‘future state’ workshops were conducted to stress test ideas, uncover blockers and issues, and discuss the investment required to get to their ideal future state.
These workshops worked towards forming a three-year roadmap—an extended view of the key priorities, platforms, and opportunities for Visit Victoria.
“Getting to this point was certainly enabled by the work that we did with The Lumery’s advisory team. The blueprint has crystalised and made it very clear in our minds what our immediate priorities should be.”
This camaraderie and deep-rooted knowledge of Visit Victoria’s corporate strategy found The Lumery in a co-pilot seat for their CDP implementation.
The momentum continued.
Part Two: Embedding Visit Victoria’s Customer Data Platform (CDP)
In early 2020, Visit Victoria identified that the demise of third-party cookies would present challenges to their future marketing endeavours. Their key use cases involved diverse topics: GDPR compliance for overseas markets, data-driven media efficiencies, and event streaming for marketing activation. These speak directly to the value proposition of a CDP.
They decided on Tealium’s AudienceStream but knew early on that they would need a partner with extensive knowledge of the platform to support the implementation.
“The Lumery validated and extended our thinking around how Tealium could be used and how the platform could be maximised,” Chris said.
“Like all MarTech platforms, you're not always using all the features and capabilities. The Lumery’s in-depth expertise has helped us navigate this, whilst guiding our team through the entire implementation. From our point of view, having never rolled out a CDP, augmenting our team with The Lumery has been invaluable,” Chris said.
Visit Victoria went live with their CDP in September 2022.
“Working with Tealium and The Lumery has helped us work through the complexity and technical challenges of rolling out a CDP. We see value in continuing the ongoing work with The Lumery to better leverage Tealium and maximise our investment in the platform,” Chris said.
Chris said the key thing they’ve learned is the need to be aware of your whole environment and how a CDP fits in with the rest of your tech stack.
“Early on you should try and do as big an assessment as possible on how that tech integration is going to work within what exists in your business. You will never know all the problems that may arise straight away, but we’ve found it to be important to be broad in assessment in the early days.”
What’s next for Visit Victoria?
In short: Chris said they are just getting started.
“Digital transformations are the projects that never end. In our case it’s true. There’s a lot of ongoing work that’s come out of the blueprint we’ve worked on with The Lumery. As I said earlier, it’s helped firm up our priority projects,” he said.
Here are some of these focus areas at a glance:
- Visit Victoria will continue building out the CDP and working on their first-party data strategy— using the data insights they have been able to leverage from The Technology Blueprint
- Data visualisation— looking at how more of their team can access, view, and engage with the data and insights. They plan to use Business Intelligence (BI) tools to help them build on their existing BI capabilities as well
- Consolidate and simplify CRM technology— understanding how they can better use the technology at an enterprise level
- Marketing automation—how they can better meet customer journeys and use automation to reach more visitors who are considering Melbourne for the first time, repeat visits, and the tourism industry in general
With clarity on the priorities and tourism making a return, much focus has been placed on simplification and consolidation.
For other businesses that may find themselves in a similar situation, Chris believes consolidating existing infrastructure over bringing on more tech is the way forward.
“It’s also important that you look at best-in-class providers as well. I think that was a big learning with the CDP project. Technology is really the enabler for what we do. You can't expect to implement new technologies and then sit back and wait for it to happen,” Chris said.
When rolling out new solutions, Visit Victoria has consciously worked on ensuring there is sufficient training, the people are ready, and the right processes sit around it. In Chris’s opinion, this is “just as important as the actual technology you’ve chosen.”
“The Lumery has been a trusted partner for us. Our values align well. We're passionate about what we do and passionate about travel, but we're also big on collaboration and communication. In my opinion, that’s something The Lumery work strongly with. They are an extension of our team.”
Are you currently tackling your own MarTech challenges? Get in touch with The Lumery to have a chat.