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Products: ISYS:web.asp/ISYS:sdk
Organization: Tourism Australia
Benefit: Improved search relevance and access to new multi-lingual data
Industry: Government/Tourism
Site: Java-based public website
Implemented by: Intology

Tourism Australia's consumer website is the information platform for the organization responsible for Australia's international and domestic tourism marketing activities. The site, which offers a wealth of information about Australian destinations and tourist facilities, receives an average of 130,000 page views per day, and is published in over 60 tailored language/country combinations.

The website also acts as a key promotional channel for approximately 20,000 tourism-based businesses contained in the Australian Tourism Database Warehouse ( Hotels, tourist attractions, transportation providers and many more contribute to the databases, thus ensuring their details are available for prospective visitors. The Java-based site also contains an extensive range of multi-lingual HTML content published via an Interwoven content management system.

Tourism Australia was seeking to improve the basic search functionality on the site, to expand to include key data sources previously excluded in the original search function, and to improve relevance to the queries entered. Tourism Australia decided to invest in a new, customized search engine, and conducted a comprehensive vendor evaluation and selection process.

Evaluation criteria included both product and vendor capabilities. ISYS integration partner Intology, based in Canberra, Australia, bid for the project, and won with its proposed solution incorporating ISYS:sdk and ISYS:web.asp.

Graham Middleton, Acting Director, Marketing Operations at Tourism Australia, explains: "Search is a vital piece of functionality for the site because we have so many stakeholders, including those who rely on the site for information to plan their trip as well as businesses whose products are featured on the site. We needed to invest in both technology and implementation expertise in order to get the right outcome."

The ISYS and Intology combination was selected because it best met Tourism Australia's criteria. Key components of the solution included support for the various structured and unstructured content included in the site, multi-language support including double-byte Asian characters, as well as the ability to categorize information into relevant content groups. The categorization feature enables visitors to search only within selected groups such as accommodation, attractions, tours, events and motivational articles or protected content areas for registered international media. For example, visitors can now search for "Wagga Wagga" in the accommodation category, enabling them to find a place to stay in Wagga Wagga.

An important requirement for Tourism Australia was for the solution to incorporate a robust algorithm for relevancy. With so many businesses depending on the website for promotion to potential visitors, it was critical that the search engine ensure that relevant content be found and displayed when users entered a query. The project team carefully tested the relevancy algorithms of the different contenders, using test cases to check that particular queries returned the expected results. The ISYS solution demonstrated its ability to deliver on this key requirement.

An interesting feature of is the analytics that provide a breakdown of the searches being conducted by visitors to the site. Using these analytics, Tourism Australia Content Managers can better understand the information being sought by visitors, and they have already used these results to fine-tune the content offered on the site.

"Having the search analytics available has allowed us to refine our content strategy to better meet user needs from different markets around the world," says Middleton, "now we can determine more accurately the type of content people are seeking by looking at the popularity of different key words. We can then use this information to make certain content more or less prominent on the site."



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