Ecotourism Australia Partnership

Big Red Group and Ecotourism Australia pave pathway to sustainable tourism

The peak body of eco and sustainable tourism, Ecotourism Australia, and Australia and New Zealand’s largest experience network, Big Red Group, have entered a strategic partnership to amplify and support a pathway to sustainability for experience operators.

Big Red Group, which includes experience platforms Adrenaline, Experience Oz, and RedBalloon, is committed to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism operators across their 14,000+ experiences to help travellers choose authentic operators with a commitment to sustainability.

Operators on the platforms will be able to showcase their sustainable approach by starting their journey with their Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard result as well as their ECO or Sustainable Tourism Certification.

Chief Sustainability Officer at Big Red Group, Ms Jemma Fastnedge, said, “We are moving toward a travel industry where sustainable tourism is no longer a nice-to-have but an essential component of running a successful operation.

“As the largest marketplace of experiences across Australia and New Zealand, we recognise our responsibility to incorporate sustainability into our ethos and encourage tourism experience providers to do the same.

“Our partnership with Ecotourism Australia will help make sustainability information more accessible so businesses can responsibly share their sustainability achievements and travellers can book and spend according to their values,” she said.

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive, Ms Elissa Keenan said, “To see industry leader Big Red Group seek opportunities to build sustainability capacity through our program is incredible. Their support to showcase operators who are making a difference and ensuring their customers can see those sustainability credentials, is a significant commitment and a true demonstration of one of Australia’s largest tourism organisations to ‘walk the talk’ on sustainability.

“Sustainability is no longer a theme or a trend, it is a critical part of any business. The expectations of travellers are rapidly changing – they want to choose an experience committed to minimising environmental impact, supporting culture and community, and that they may even spend more to ensure an authentic, sustainable and responsible travel experience.

“We also know that more and more visitors are actively looking for authentic experiences backed by credible brands, particularly those holding a valid, credible and current certification or can clearly demonstrate the actions they are taking to improve in this space. Travellers want to be able to easily identify operators who will deliver the experience they are expecting.

“As Big Red Group’s supply chain makes strides to incorporate sustainability practices based on their comprehensive Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard report, we look forward to seeing them progress toward achieving global best practice sustainability certification through our ECO and Sustainable Tourism Certification programs,” Ms Keenan said.

The Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard, launched in late 2022, is a pre-certification tool allowing businesses to see where they are at on their sustainability journey by measuring their practices against the four pillars of sustainability: sustainable management, environmental impacts, socio-economic impacts, and cultural impacts.

Businesses on the Big Red Group’s platforms that have completed the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard will have the option to display an icon on their listing indicating they have a score of 50% or more.

For businesses that progress to achieving global best practice sustainability standards through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO and Sustainable Tourism Certification programs, they will soon have the opportunity to display their certification on their listing.

The Sustainable Tourism Certification program, launched in late 2022, meets international best practice for sustainability, and the standard is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). This new certification is for non-nature-based businesses to be recognised at global standard as ECO Certified operators (for nature-based operators) are and is part of Ecotourism Australia’s priority to make starting a journey to sustainability more accessible across the entire industry.

Media Contacts: Big Red Group:

brochuresDM Partnership

Big Red Group partners with brochuresDM to expand Local Agent footprint in Victoria

Big Red Group, has entered a strategic partnership with Tourism brochure distributor, brochuresDM, appointing them as a Local Agent master distributor in Victoria.   Through the partnership, Big Red Group’s ‘Local Agent’ platform will have access to brochuresDM’s 250+ brochure board locations in popular visitor sites such as hotels, motels, information centres, and caravan parks throughout Victoria. This partnership will add to Local Agent’s existing footprint of 40+ locations in Victoria and enable tourists and travellers to seamlessly book experiences through the hotel concierge, reception, or tour desk.  The partnership supports a shared objective to aid local tourism and the growth of experience partners within Victoria, providing them high value and effective distribution. Powered by Local Agent’s technology platform, tourists will now have access to hundreds of experiences through the end-to-end booking service.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“Through this partnership with brochuresDM and expansion of Local Agent’s footprint, we’re excited to be supporting the Victorian experience partner community and increase the visibility and bookability of the great experiences on offer. Across the market, we’re seeing travellers and tourists demand a more seamless experience, and technology solutions are a key part of this.”

brochuresDM Director, Martin Kelly, comments:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Big Red Group on the Experience Oz Local Agent platform in Victoria. It’s especially exciting to join up with an Australian company that are a proven leader in the sector. We look forward to sharing this ‘easy to use’ platform with the local accommodation sector, to help enhance the Visitor Experience, and provide a convenient channel to connect them with all the great adventures that Victoria has to offer.”

Tourism and Events Queensland Partnership

Experience OZ partners with Tourism and Events Queensland

Big Red Group’s leading tourism brand Experience Oz has partnered with Tourism and Events Queensland to win over the “Been there, done that’s”, in their first co-marketing campaign.

Tapping into Tourism and Events Queensland’s wider campaign of ‘Queensland is Calling‘, Experience Oz was perfectly positioned to help target one of their key audiences, the ‘Been there, done that’s‘, those who felt they had seen everything QLD had to offer.

Running from 1 March until 6 April, the campaign concept focuses on ‘Experiencing Queensland like it’s the first time‘, using our diverse range of experiences to showcase how much Queensland truly has to offer. Alongside owned assets, paid media will be running across Search, Social, YouTube and Native, as well as being supported via Local Agent (our B2B) channel; in hotel screens across QLD, and within the Experience Oz Experience Centre in Surfers Paradise.

Big Red Group Transformation

Big Red Group taps Cognizant to Transform the Digital Experience Marketplace

Big Red Group, has engaged global IT services company, Cognizant, to transform its digital platforms in support of its national and international growth ambitions. This follows the rapid acquisition of multiple businesses in the travel and experiences sector over the last five years. Cognizant will provide consulting, technology, operations, program and management services.
As part of the five-year digital transformation project, Cognizant will provide consulting, technology, operations, programming and management services as Big Red Group seeks to drive conversion uplift, improve the customer and supplier end-to-end experience as well as provide a scalable platform for their global growth ambitions.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“In the current volatile economy, finding a partner that has the scale to weather the storm with you, with a breadth of services and capabilities to help you rapidly optimise cost to serve is critical. To find a partner that will then invest alongside you, take risk on their ability to partner and transform, to explore new opportunities on an innovative commercial basis, and to jointly commit to ESG outcomes that aligns with your purpose – priceless. Cognizant demonstrated all of these and we’re excited to start off the year alongside them.”

Cognizant Head of Consulting ANZ, George Evans comments:

“Our expertise in the retail and travel industry is a great example of how our partnership with BRG can help it scale as an Australian business, globally. Combine this with Cognizant’s strong digital and technology capabilities, this is the beginning of a partnership founded on great chemistry and cultural alignment. The team at Cognizant looking forward to working with BRG over the coming years and help the online marketplace achieve its growth objectives.”

Partnership with Everything Travel Group

Big Red Group partners with Everything Travel Group

The experience leaders join forces to power the New Zealand tourism industry recovery

Big Red Group, has formed a strategic partnership with Everything Travel Group’s New Zealand original and premier online tour agent, Everything New Zealand.

As part of the new venture, Big Red Group will supply its world-leading travel technology, enabling Everything Travel Group to scale its direct B2B markets in New Zealand, powered by the ‘Local Agent’ concierge booking platform from February 1, 2023.

The goal of this new partnership is to bring together technology, scale and resources, combined with an established and locally run New Zealand company that has a long-term deep understanding of the tourism landscape. It will combine strong relationships and a desire to support the tourism industry by making bookings easy, more efficient and of great value to supply partners across a variety of channels.

Specifically, the new technology and Big Red Group’s ‘Local Agent’ platform will allow Everything New Zealand to offer the ability for resellers such as accommodation properties, airlines, rent-a-car companies and tourism bodies to deliver easy experience booking solutions for their customers, whilst providing high value and effective distribution for supply partners.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“We’re thrilled for Everything Travel Group to leverage our Local Agent platform, supporting New Zealand supply partners, and the broader travel and experience economy recovery. Across Australia and New Zealand, we’re seeing a renewed focus on providing a seamless customer experience, and technology solutions are a key part of this.”

Everything New Zealand General Manager and Director, Matt Morgan, comments:

“We have been talking to Big Red Group for over 12 months and are very excited to have found a partner that is in line with our local values and desire to transform both the online travel space and technology solutions in the experiences sector from right here within New Zealand. This is a critical time for New Zealand’s tourism recovery, and we look forward to being part of driving the rebound with world-leading technology solutions.”

As tourism rebounds from the impacts of Covid19, having world-leading technology and travel solutions that help New Zealand companies efficiently sell and process experiences is an important part of owning the experience category.

Big Red Group joins the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GTSC)

Driving a Sustainable Experience Economy

Big Red Group is committed to uniting a very diverse industry around sustainability. With more than 140 different types of businesses represented on its platforms. From shark diving to cultural tours, theme parks to supercar driving, and hot air balloons to glamping. Understanding the full impact of these experiences from a climate, biodiversity, social and cultural perspective is top of the agenda and certainly a fast-emerging customer expectation.

In partnership with Eco-Tourism Australia and Tourism Australia. Big Red Group will encourage its Experience Partners to participate in the Strive for Sustainability Scorecard developed by Eco Tourism Australia and based on the GSTC Industry Criteria and undertake the newly introduced Sustainability Certification. These will set the basis for how customers interact and engage with Sustainable Experiences. Providing badges, signposting and information to make an informed choice.

In addition, Big Red Group has several exciting projects underway/planned as part of its Sustainability Agenda covering accessibility and inclusion in the experience industry and Destination Stewardship particularly around the Great Barrier Reef where it sends a significant number of travellers.

Jemma Fastnedge, Chief Sustainability Officer commented, “being part of the GTSC provides us with ongoing connection to a global framework and network of professionals who are looking to solve the same problems. We are really motivated to be part of it and to learn, share and work together to ensure the industry we all love stays protected and respected for our future generations to enjoy”.

GSTC Welcomes Big Red Group

“We are very pleased to welcome Big Red Group to the GSTC and applaud their commitment to sustainability in the experience marketplace,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

Experience Oz Magazine Launch

Experience Oz relaunches its namesake magazine ready for summer peak trade

In partnership with Hardie Grant Media, the latest edition of Experience Oz in-destination magazine has been redesigned, giving both international visitors and locals an insight into all things adventure happening across the region, tips from locals and a calendar of events from Destination Gold Coast.

On the revamped mag Jacqui Wright, Memberships Director said, “The magazine provides a great opportunity to be directly in front of an engaged and targeted audience. With our industry having faced several challenging years recently, we are committed more than ever to maximising the opportunity for Australian businesses in the Experience economy to gain more interest through our Local Agent network for 2023.”

The bi-annual-publication of the Experience Oz magazine is out now in your local lobbies and cafes across the Gold Coast. Download a copy here >

Experience Oz magazine launch

Partnership with CamperMate

TripTech elects Experience Oz as its experience booking partner for the CamperMate platform

In the lead up to summer, the partnership will see Experience Oz tap into the highly engaged CamperMate user base, which has increased 36% this year.

Travel technology company TripTech has appointed leading domestic holiday experience provider, Experience Oz as its exclusive market provider for the group across the ANZ region.

Part of Big Red Group, Experience Oz will be the experience provider for the popular CamperMate app and the newly released, expanding Experience Oz’s current base and service offerings with a direct link into the caravan, camping and road trip sector.

The partnership extends across TripTech’s white label partner apps, including; Visitor Centre’s for Australia and Tourism Holding Limited, the premier global tourism company app for RV rental. This marks an exciting time for the CamperMate community with the launch of the CamperMate ‘Take Back Summer’ Campaign with inspirational summer tips and Experience Oz prizes up for grabs.

With over 300,000 downloads and 3+ million user search sessions alone in 2022, CamperMate is an in-demand app and website for road trippers and outdoor enthusiasts. The platform helps independent travellers plan and book pre-trip and in-trip experiences, with timely deals and tips on the best camping and road trip options through its platform.

Big Red Group Chief Marketing Officer Paul Connell, comments:

“Our partnership with Campermate will help us to continue on our mission to shift the way people experience life and to ensure that people don’t just visit Australia, but they truly experience it.”

“Whether on a 4WD road trip or camping adventure, Experience Oz helps make your holiday extraordinary. With over 3,000 soul-stirring, unforgettable tours and experiences, it gives travellers the chance to experience more for less.

“It’s also testament to the level at which our digital transformation now enables us to serve experiences through partners and a broader ecosystem, as well as bringing our experience partners customers through our B2C brands.”

Campermate Chief Operating Officer Matt Johnson, comments:

“CamperMate is more than just a travel app or a booking site, it is a growing community of travel enthusiasts who want to partake in and share their experiences. “Partnering with Big Red Group gives us the depth of experience options our users desire to be able to seek inspiration, plan and book both pre and in-trip getaways.”

Big Red Group celebrates Auscontact award win

Two Auscontact Association national awards taken home by Big Red Group’s customer experience team

Big Red Group is thrilled to announce that our very own Customer Experience team has taken out the 2022 National Auscontact Association Awards for the Change, Innovation, and Improvements category last Friday.

At a national level, our Customer Experience team was recognised for its depth of talent that had delivered a huge plan of work with a flawless execution, and had achieved record breaking results across its client services and employee engagement. A special mention to the Big Red Group Senior Leadership Team for its continual support and commitment to delivering on quality customer experience.

North Queensland hotels ready to reap partnership benefits

Destination Cairns Marketing joint venture comes to life

Cairns, 1 April 2022 – Big Red Group’s Experience Oz, and Destination Cairns Marketing (DCM) are ready to give the green light today on market execution of its recently formed joint venture (JV).

After months of planning and integration work, following on from announcing agreed terms in February, DCM is ready to roll out the new Local Agent fueled platform to its 130+ hotel partners.

While deployment will be progressive and managed around peak trade of school holidays, hotels in the region are set to benefit over coming months from the more advanced technology.

Under the JV, Big Red Group’s leading domestic holiday brand Experience Oz will generate demand via branded tour desks, while its B2B platform, Experience Oz Local Agent will supply the technology to support activity bookings. Technology enhancements include in-room activity booking via QR codes and lobby booking kiosks.

Matt Cavalier, Chief Growth Officer at Big Red Group who has been heading up the integration work comments:

The focus for the integration has been ensuring our partners and customers continue to experience great service and that the transition to the Experience Oz Local Agent platform is seamless while at the same time providing more experiences in the region and an enhanced booking platform. Training and engagement have been paramount to achieve this, and as partners cut over, they will continue to receive ongoing support from our face-to-face team in Cairns as well as our support team in the Gold Coast 7 days a week.

Sam Ferguson, CEO of the Joint Venture and General Manager Commercial for DCM comments:

“After months in the making, we are excited to launch and bring much needed demand to the region. We have been working so well with Big Red Group’s integration team, streamlining processes and systems to prepare for today’s launch. Conscious that there are high volumes of hotel guests at the moment with school holiday traffic in the area, we will take a slow and steady approach to minimise disruption.”

It is envisaged that the JV will generate significant new demand for the area, and provide a more expansive range of experiences for hotel guests to explore, with a substantial marketing investment planned.