Kirk Demeter started selling Australia as a destination to Americans 22 years ago and he hasn’t stopped since with Down Under Answers. Demeter was recently a panelist at the Tourism Australia Summit held at the Beverly Hills Hotel last week as part of the G’day USA roadshow. The topic of the conversation: Changing Trends in Travel Research Planning and Booking. Demeter appeared alongside heavy hitters from Google, Orbitz and TripAdvisor, as well as moderator Clayton Reid, president and CEO of MMGY Global. Demeter was strikingly composed, articulate and down-to-earth. His take of the travel industry is one that includes getting his hands dirty booking trips, selling the destination and finding out exactly what his customers want.
“It helps us to know what Tourism Australia is doing,” said Demeter after the panel ended. “There is still huge strength in travel agents.” Down Under Answers has grown, and Demeter said it is predicated on the business provided by travel agents. “It’s our bread and butter,” said Demeter. Business is up 27 percent compared to last year, and Demeter attributes that substantially to travel agents.
“We cater to them,” said Demeter. “And we do a good job.” Down Under Answers offers premiere education to agents about the destination of Australia with webinars and FAM trips. “We have top-notch staff; we offer a top-notch experience,” said Demeter.
With the intense focus on food presented by Tourism Australia’s sexy debut of the Restaurant Australia marketing program and guest chef Curtis Stone, Demeter is wholeheartedly on board. “It’s another opportunity to market to the customer,” said Demeter. “It should be a reason to visit.” Food and wine has long been a specialty of Australia and yet it is surprisingly not a culinary destination for the average tourist. Once people visit Australia, they understand that food and wine are a key part of experiencing the country. “Tourism Australia is doing a good job,” said Demeter.
Demeter has been a key player in the marketing and sales of the upcoming MLB opening games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the LA Dodgers to take place March 22-23, 2014 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Down Under Answers is offering an experience that includes tickets to both games, unique tours around Sydney, airfare and hotel, as well as many amenities. Details are available at: http://www.duatravel.com/vacations/vacation/ballpark. They’ve sold 400 packages thus far and are considering adding more, according to Demeter. Destination NSW is a major partner in organizing the games. To read more about the upcoming historic games – opening games have only been played outside of the U.S. six times and this is the first time since 1914 that a MLB game has been played in Sydney – go to my last blog: Australia Tourism Summit, Destination NSW Score Homerun With Diamondbacks