Sydney Opera House Tourism Marketing only launched in late 90s

Tourism Conversations
Tourism Conversations
Sydney Opera House Tourism Marketing only launched in late 90s
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Carmel Beattie is a Destination Marketer who agreed with the Opera House in 1998 when they said “We think we can make some money from tourism.”

This story reflects the professionalism required in tourism marketing.

Recorded September 2021

Interviewer is Veronica Hope of Australian Voice Tourism Marketing

Carmel Beattie – Quotes

“You don’t discount quality, and you certainly don’t discount an iconic building”. Carmel Beattie

Opera House staff thought that if all 5 theatres at the time weren’t open, they’d discount from $12 to $7.

The Opera House used to think poorly of tourism “Because tourism is not the arts, darling.”

(For full scale tourism marketing of a major operation) “You need five experts… (specialists in tourism marketing e.g. bookings), …and one person sitting over the top.”

Show/ Business notes

  1. Tourism is actually a vehicle for the arts to be seen by a wider audience, not any sort of competitor.

2. Nine-month consultancy turned into 6 -10 full time jobs. Took the original contract to define those roles within then created the full time positions.

3. The talent that it takes to coordinate a large event – ID Events (still running) produced revenue for the Sydney Theature Company, Sydney Symphony, beamed in Olivia Newton John and John Travolta to do a duet – all for an insurance company!

4. Opera House saw themselves as a great performing art centres and saw Tourism as slightly dirty.

5. Only had one product – 1 tour

6. In 1998, only had one tourism-based revenue-generating product, a 1 hour tour for $12 that was discounted to $7 if one of 5 theatres was closed.

7. Sydney Olympics 2000

8. Product wholesalers tour dinner show packages – This is Tourism Council of WA’s explanation of tourism product distribution (including wholesalers)

9. Performance partners’ of the house – Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company etc. – developed positive relationships with the House.

10. Performance Partners previously considered the Sydney Opera House a ‘hall for hire’.

11. This podcast is an argument for how most significant regional attractions – e.g. Cairns Performing Arts Centre need a Tourism Manager. Not a marketing manager, not a precinct manager, a tourism manager.

12. Fireworks on Sydney Harbour could be organised for a private event, so it goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Sydney Harbour is a working port.

13. Sir Frank Moore

14. Writing a plan is one thing, having another person see it through properly is important. Stayed for Olympics (the House was olympic venue) and to see stuff through.

15. $2m in revenue cleared for forecourt hire alone (which includes bump in and bump out)

16. Conversion rates were previously very low, formal systems for events let you make real money

17. Carmel Beattie became the media manager – there hadn’t been anyone to talk to about the attractions of the house

18. In the process of marketing the house, Carmel Beattie came to understand that the world sees the opera house as a symbol of the Australian way of life. Well that was the spin the inquiring media had on it at least 😉

19. Sydney Opera House Annual Report 2019 

20. “Anniversary coming up” is a common thread in tourism successes.

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