Melbourne Convention Bureau

During the 2016/17 fiscal year, an estimated 2.6 million international visitors and 8.7 million domestic visitors spent time in Melbourne. These results are thanks in part to the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), an entity that helps conference and event organisers attract delegates by promoting local leisure activities in the city and surrounds.

For years, MCB relied on the ‘Melbourne Widget’—a modal window embedded within conference websites that displayed video, imagery, and other Melbourne-centric content. Rather than drumming up interest in visiting and exploring the city, the widget’s clunky structure and unresponsive design deterred prospects from diving in and learning more about the many activities and attractions our beautiful city has to offer.

Keen to build up Melbourne’s profile as a conference and event hotspot, MCB engaged us to reimagine the way Melbourne was presented to delegates. We knew the new and improved experience had to be as immersive and vibrant as the city it showcased, which meant it was time to send the widget on its way.

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A small site with big goals

Through discussions with MCB and other key stakeholders, we agreed that a sleek, content-rich microsite was the best approach. This branded piece of digital real-estate had to deliver a simple yet striking visitation experience, seamlessly ingesting and publishing third-party event and operator data about food, drink, festivals, and more.

After years of working in travel and tourism (check our work here, here, and here), we’ve learned delegate boosting requires a considered strategy and marketing program that promotes a destination’s desirability, visitability, and public perception. Executed correctly, delegates are more likely to pay a visit, invite their family members along, and consider extending their trip pre- or post-conference.

Laneway cafes, live music, and world-class sport make Melbourne an exciting place to work and play; not surprisingly, the microsite design had to reflect this same energy, focusing on discovery and exploration.

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Streamlining a solution

The ideal visitability experience includes a mix of location and destination specific content, and a blend of editorial and curated articles and recommendations.

MCB wanted to showcase a broad range of activities, experiences, dining options, and tours on offer in and around Melbourne. However, the team lacked capacity to create unique content for each. Therefore, we integrated MCB’s visitability site with the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW), a national repository of tourism and related service listings. This integration massively reduces time and resources necessary to create and curate content, streamlines content marketing efforts, and keeps the website fresh and interesting.

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High-quality photography is also critical, transporting the viewer to a location and eliciting a “must-see” response. The site layout prominently features high-resolution, colourful imagery that showcases a strategic assortment of Melbourne musts and lesser known local gems. A bold, diagonal motif carries a high-energy visual language throughout the design.

Because the finished product is geared specifically to conference delegates and their family members or travel companions, MCB’s visitability site is not crawled by search engines. However, we did set the team up with a sophisticated technology platform to allow them to simultaneously capture and explore customer data insights, giving the ability to shape future content or features.


2018 Distinction Winner at the AIVA Communicator Awards

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