Discover Your Own Backyard

There's no place like home

Each year, millions of visitors travel from around the world to visit Melbourne. And who can blame them? Between the quaint boutiques, bustling laneways and, of course, great coffee, it’s no wonder Melbourne is a top tourist destination that has held the coveted title of ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ for more than half a decade.

The fine folks at Destination Melbourne—the city’s leading tourism body—work hard behind the scenes to showcase the city’s countless charms and maximise visitation to the Greater Melbourne area. In their roster of award-winning marketing programs and publications is the Melbourne Official Visitor Guide, Melbourne Now program, and Discover Your Own Backyard (DYOB), an initiative aimed at encouraging Melburnians and their guests to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of home.

The visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market is a major contributor to Melbourne’s economy, worth upwards of $3.0 billion. DYOB taps into this market by working collaboratively with councils to educate hosts and, ultimately, influence visitor behaviour. Despite a strong start when the campaign site launched in 2014, the team recognised the DYOB website no longer delivered on this goal: it neither made a compelling case for hosts and prospective visitors nor did it satisfy the needs of Melbourne councils and individual travel and tourism operators.

As a preferred digital partner of Destination Melbourne, they knew we could deliver a digital transformation project every bit as fun, smart, and vibrant as the city itself.

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Redesigning the user experience

Our goal with this project was to better showcase the range of food, drink, attractions, and events going on in Melbourne, bringing to life the diverse offerings of local councils and travel and tourism operators for locals and their VFRs.

The new DYOB website had to meet the needs of different user groups and strike an appropriate balance between highlighting popular tourist attractions and previewing lesser-known events and activities.

To achieve all this, we knew better navigability was mission critical: improving users’ ability to find information of interest meant strengthening DYOB’s reputation as a go-to resource for all things Melbourne. Furthermore, with so much to shout about, image-led listings allowed us to inspire and excite without overwhelming.

Through user research and prototype testing, we arrived at a UX design with exploration and discovery at its core. Users can now choose between searching events across the whole of Greater Melbourne, using a flyout menu to focus on a specific suburb or region, or using a map to gain a greater knowledge of how the suburbs are interconnected.  

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What to see, what to do

The complexity of this project came from the sheer volume of content needed on the site, and the detail and features necessary to deliver. With dozens of suburbs, a search solution that would protect against cognitive overload was essential.

The new DYOB platform uses Melbourne’s precincts as hubs of location-specific content, grouping local attractions and areas of interest. To help users along, we developed a comprehensive search interface that pairs geographical filters with defined interest categories.

We also made sure to implement a number of “precinct marketing” best practices: in addition to individual listings pages, we also introduced a Stories section for Destination Melbourne to publish content- and image-rich articles.

Third-party integrations with Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) and Zomato—two of the most trusted listing services in the country—streamlined the process of finding out what’s on in Melbourne and reduced content entry requirements for Destination Melbourne staff, allowing them to import pre-populated content from either platform.

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A smart, strategic solution

For DYOB to remain competitive against similar services and individual travel and tourism operator sites, we knew top-of-the-line content and search functionalities were essential. We complemented these efforts with advanced tracking and SEO to improve DYOB’s visibility against relevant search terms. For example, there is opportunity within DYOB’s ‘Stories’ section to utilise keyword optimisation and smart URLs to drive traffic and gain traction.

We also paired the site launch with a four-month ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’ search engine marketing campaign to drive traffic to the DYOB homepage (via Google AdWords) and to designated suburb pages (via Facebook and Instagram paid activity). This campaign captured in-market users keying in informational searches (“Best live music venues Melbourne,” for example) and locals within Melbourne’s 14 city councils.

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Turning Melburnians into knowledgeable hosts

Melbourne is a world-class city with a vast array of exciting attractions that keep visitor numbers rising, but tourists and locals view the city through a very different lens. The new DYOB site aims to close this gap and turn locals into outstanding hosts, enabling them (re)discover their own backyard along the way.  

With a simple browse, users can instantly discover hyper-local, relevant content to spark ideas for activities, events, shopping and more. The site harnesses that exciting feeling of travelling to a new place for the first time, helping locals see the city of Melbourne through fresh eyes.

Discover your own Backyard is fuelled by wanderlust-inducing content that showcases the offerings of different councils and operators. The site feels like a travel blog – it's fun, intuitive and easy to navigate. With such a great tool at their fingertips, it’s now easy for Melburnians to share a sense of pride and excitement for their city with visitors far from home.

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