Profile: Marketing without a budget

Jane with ScopeWhen Jane Morgan joined the Cosmos Centre four years ago, she had the task of reaching an international market with no budget.

Her target was self-drive tourists from the UK, Ireland and northern Europe, who often travel during the traditional low season. Now, these visitors, along with New Zealanders, make up 5% of their total visitor numbers and interest is growing. How did she do it?

With a tour ticket price at $20, she knew that wholesalers and ITOs wouldn’t look at the product, so she worked closely with Tourism Queensland (TQ), the Outback Queensland Tourism Authority (OQTA), and Britz Maui’s Make Tracks magazine.

The Cosmos Centre is part of the Queensland Heritage Trails Network, which has its own site, guide book and marketing initiatives.

These strategies, together with online search, are bringing the majority of the Centre’s visitors. Strategically placed brochures in other regional towns – produced as part of their domestic marketing – also help to attract self-drive tourists, including overseas visitors.

Jane’s next step is to get wholesalers and ITOs interested in a new package she is developing.

“Because of our ticket price we are developing a package called Stars, Spas & Station Stays, encouraging visitors to experience our unique outback experiences,” said Jane. “Once these packages are developed, they can be pre-sold and their ticket price will be attractive to international wholesalers and inbound operators.

“We still have no budget, so our main push remains the TQ and OQTA websites and their attendance at international trade shows.”

Another possible option for the Centre is to set up a blog to attract an audience interested in astronomy, both in Australia and overseas.