At the start of 2020, Journey Beyond was on a significant growth trajectory driven by cross-sell among the group’s 13 experiential travel brands – encompassing Australia’s iconic luxury rail brands, cruises in several states, dining, reef-side ‘glamping’ and more.  

“Someone who’s travelling from Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific can start their journey on Journey Beyond Cruise Sydney, for example,” Tom Miller, Journey Beyond’s Group Manager, Digital Marketing, Design and Innovation told us. “Then they can cross the country on the Indian Pacific, and visit Rottnest Island on the other side.”   
 


Any mention of Rottnest Island is an excuse to see a photo of a Quokka.

 

The 13 Journey Beyond brands had previously used various software and systems, so in 2019 the Journey Beyond team had undertaken the significant task of bringing all of the businesses – and their collective two million-plus guests – together in Salesforce. One system meant a single source of truth on customer data and powered cross-sell opportunities like the one Tom charted above, from Sydney to Quokkas. 

Of course, 2020 has hit the travel and tourism industry hard. We caught up with Tom to find out about Journey Beyond’s course to recovery – he shares the story here.

Using data to create the future

Having customer data in one place has acted as a springboard for our recovery. 

Initially, we suspended operations in response to government-enforced restrictions, and then our operating environment was changing by the day, if not by the hour. We needed to respond on an operational and guest level to the numerous restrictions that were imposed – from square meterage and capacity limitations to border closures. 

It was a nerve-wracking experience, and quite a sad one because it’s not just the Journey Beyond businesses that were being affected, but all of the third parties that we work with, too. 

All our focus was on the future – communicating with our guests with the ultimate aim of still providing a premium customer experience.

Our customer data was vital to being able to successfully communicate changes, with the intention of keeping guests informed of what their options were going forward.

We were able to analyse drop-offs in the data, and send measured information at the right time. We had to be fleet of foot, but were very conscious of not overloading people with too much information – just the right amount to keep them up to date on how we were responding and on their options.

Enabling business pivots

Having a source of truth data-wise helped us pivot one of our relatively new brands, Eureka 89. The fine-dining restaurant on the 89th floor of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower wasn’t able to welcome guests, but offered make-at-home cocktails and heat-at-home meals. 



Eureka 89 is right on top of the Eureka Tower – the tall building on the left.

 

As well as marketing this new offering to Eureka 89’s previous guests, we were able to use the Victorian portion of the rail database to reach a new audience – rather than looking at the business in isolation we could take advantage of the fact it’s part of the Journey Beyond group.

We could do this to support several of our brands – for example, luxury safari camp Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef was marketed to the Western Australian portion of the database, opening up new opportunities for both Journey Beyond and our guests. 



Sure we’re getting gratuitous now, but we miss travel – this lovely turtle was photographed at Ningaloo Reef near Sal Salis.

Reopening safely

Our focus on communication has been critical throughout changes to domestic travel regulation. Not only are we tracking and working with the government restrictions, but we’re facing the reality that people’s desire to travel will, in all likelihood, have been impacted too. 

To reopen safely, we need to establish and maintain our guests’ absolute trust. 

We’ve launched a new brand called Journey Safe to empower our businesses to enhance already-vigorous health and safety procedures. 

Under this brand, we’re communicating with and training each of the businesses about health and safety requirements for reopening. We’re taking a company-wide approach, but recognising that each business has its nuances based on locations, activities and more.

Our business is built on outstanding guest advocacy, and we can do that now by helping people be safe and feel safe on our experiences.

A lasting positive impact

Overall, the COVID-19 experience has fast-tracked a lot of data work across the group and has enabled each business to learn how to dissect and understand the data better – this will stand the broader business in great stead. 

It’s shifted our mindset to owning our data, understanding our data and leveraging it.


Businesses that were able to pivot quickly offer great insight into the processes, tools and cultures that breed innovation and build resilience. We’ve collected those lessons and insights in How 12 organisations in Australia and New Zealand built trust and resilience.