Big Red Group’s ‘Experience Oz’ joins forces with Virgin Australia

Multi-year partnership offering millions of Australian travellers more choice, value and ease has been announced this week.

Big Red Group’s domestic travel brand, Experience Oz, and Virgin Australia have commenced a multi-year partnership giving millions of Australians better value, choice and more access to popular travel experiences when booking at  

Experience Oz, one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest tour and attractions marketplaces, covers upwards of 50 regions and supports over 3,000 experience operators, ranging from cruises, tours, activities and more. The new partnership aims to boost both domestic tourism and the experience economy by providing ease and additional benefits when booking travel and packaged experiences at

Amidst the high cost of living, fun-filled holidays for Australians will be more possible, with Experience Oz’s 4,000+ adventures available for Velocity members to book now using Points to pay for all or part of the booking with Points + Pay. Velocity members will now also have thousands of additional ways to earn Points. 

To celebrate the new partnership, any experience booking made at before 11:59pm AEST 27th November 2023, will go in the running to win their dream holiday with two Virgin Australia domestic return flights and a $1,000 Experience Oz voucher*. Plus, until midnight 27th November members will earn triple Points (9 Velocity Points) as part of a limited time promotion^.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer, David Emerson said partnering with one of the country’s largest experience marketplaces will give Virgin Australia guests and Velocity members more value and choice. 

“We are excited to be partnering with Experience Oz, marking a wonderful addition to the Virgin Australia family – one that will make the next family holiday more possible for millions of Australians,” said Mr Emerson. 

“From today, the partnership will give our 11.5 million Velocity members thousands of additional ways to earn and redeem Points at a time when value and getting more from your dollar has never been so important.   

“We are also proud to be supporting the experience economy and thousands of operators across the country by making it easier and more convenient for our guests to book a flight and experience all on our website,” he said. 

Big Red Group co-Founder and CEO, David Anderson said the partnership will continue to power the company’s mission of shifting the way people experience life. 

“We know that Australians will continue to prioritise travel, both for personal experience and to support the recovering industry,” Anderson said. 

“But with the cost of living crisis becoming more acute, identifying ways to increase the value of experiences, and to ensure travellers have the chance to make memories on trips that might be closer to home, is key. 

“Enabling Aussies to both earn and redeem Velocity Points when booking experiences is a key way we’re looking at creating more value for consumers. 

“We’re proud to partner with Virgin Australia to continue to support our 3,000 operator businesses, and to help Aussies continue to connect.”

With Big Red Group leading the growth of the experience economy locally, its partnership with Virgin Australia is the first of many to come for Experience Oz.

El Niño Summer

Big Red Group data reveals the impact of hot weather across the tourism and experience industry

With the BOM confirming that El Niño is underway, Aussies are planning to make the most of the warmer weather this summer.

But what does this mean for holidaymakers and the nation’s tourism and experience industry as we enter peak season?

Data from Big Red Group’s consumer brands, Adrenaline, RedBalloon, and Experience Oz, shines a light on the mixed fortunes of experience operators across the nation during the last El Niño event, with domestic tourism in NSW taking a significant hit, whilst QLD, WA, and TAS grew year-on-year.

The 2019-2020 summer season hit NSW particularly hard due to ongoing bushfires, with outdoor experiences down 27% across the board. 

Meanwhile, warm and dry states where there weren’t severe bushfires, including QLD, WA, and TAS, grew by +13%, +35% and +73% on average respectively. 

In fact, the warmer and drier weather drove Aussies en masse to the great outdoors, with cruises, water activities, and outdoor experiences seeing a +47% increase in bookings on average.

According to Big Red Group co-founder and CEO, David Anderson, while bushfires are an apparent cause for concern, the warmer and drier weather could actually have a positive effect on domestic tourism this year. 

“When the weather is warmer and drier people want to go out and experience, and the contrary is true. 

“When it’s wetter and colder there’s a direct correlation with weather-related refunds and people making last-minute decisions not to attend or in fact being denied the opportunity to do things because they’re unseasonal.

“The weather does have a really big impact on decision-making in planning and in the moment.”

Mr Anderson also predicts Aussies will look to do activities earlier and later in the day to avoid the hottest part of the day.

“If I was out trying to do things I would look for activities in the early morning and late afternoon and take advantage of those cooler conditions.

“Amazing nature tours, early morning kayaking, there are lots of things that are nicer to do in the early morning or at dusk as opposed to in the middle of the day.

“Notwithstanding any active threats to safety, I’d be out there exploring and taking advantage of the fine weather, experiencing and enjoying life.”

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Big Red Group Sponsors Tourist Attractions and Major Tourist Attractions at the 2023 South Australian Tourism Awards

This year we were excited to sponsor two categories at the South Australian Tourism Awards on Friday the 3rd of November 2023.

Matthew Dommenz our SA Market Manager and Andrew Hutchinson our GM Supply and Memberships donned their best to represent Big Red Group on the night in presenting the awards for Tourist Attractions and Major Tourist Attractions.

Celebrating some of South Australia’s best tourism operators – many of whom use Adrenaline, RedBalloon, and Experience Oz platforms – we were especially pleased to support these two categories at the ceremony.

A big congratulations to;

🏆 Major Tourist Attractions: Monarto Safari Park and Zoos South Australia (Winner), Adelaide Oval (Silver)

🏆 Tourist Attractions: d’Arenberg (Winner), Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society Inc. (Silver)

Thank you to the Tourism Industry Council South Australia for hosting the awards ceremony and congratulations again to all of the winners and nominees!

Tiquets and Headout Partnership

Big Red Group adds Tiquets and Headout as distribution partners

According to recent Macquarie Research, households globally are looking to invest more in travel and leisure, so experience suppliers are innovating their platforms to make the customer booking experience efficient.

Big Red Group has announced its partnerships with both Tiqets and Headout as part of an initiative to provide more global customers with Australian experiences and content.

Founded in Amsterdam, Tiqets is an online booking platform for museums and attractions that connects travellers worldwide with more ways to experience culture. Meanwhile, Headout provides an online platform for locals and tourists globally to discover and book tours, excursions, day trips and get last-minute tickets to major tourist attractions, museums, shows and events. B

Big Red Group is known to be an ANZ specialist on a global basis, so the two platforms have partnered with the organisation to gain more traction in the market. They will also be implementing BRG’s application programming interface (API) to integrate ANZ experience content across their own platforms.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“Launching these partners means we’re able to grow our distribution and amplify Australian content to a global audience. We’re excited to bring our experience operator community more customers who want to experience Australian life when they visit.”

Ecotourism Australia Partnership

Big Red Group and Ecotourism Australia pave pathway to sustainable tourism

The peak body of eco and sustainable tourism, Ecotourism Australia, and Australia and New Zealand’s largest experience network, Big Red Group, have entered a strategic partnership to amplify and support a pathway to sustainability for experience operators.

Big Red Group, which includes experience platforms Adrenaline, Experience Oz, and RedBalloon, is committed to promoting sustainable and responsible tourism operators across their 14,000+ experiences to help travellers choose authentic operators with a commitment to sustainability.

Operators on the platforms will be able to showcase their sustainable approach by starting their journey with their Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard result as well as their ECO or Sustainable Tourism Certification.

Chief Sustainability Officer at Big Red Group, Ms Jemma Fastnedge, said, “We are moving toward a travel industry where sustainable tourism is no longer a nice-to-have but an essential component of running a successful operation.

“As the largest marketplace of experiences across Australia and New Zealand, we recognise our responsibility to incorporate sustainability into our ethos and encourage tourism experience providers to do the same.

“Our partnership with Ecotourism Australia will help make sustainability information more accessible so businesses can responsibly share their sustainability achievements and travellers can book and spend according to their values,” she said.

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive, Ms Elissa Keenan said, “To see industry leader Big Red Group seek opportunities to build sustainability capacity through our program is incredible. Their support to showcase operators who are making a difference and ensuring their customers can see those sustainability credentials, is a significant commitment and a true demonstration of one of Australia’s largest tourism organisations to ‘walk the talk’ on sustainability.

“Sustainability is no longer a theme or a trend, it is a critical part of any business. The expectations of travellers are rapidly changing – they want to choose an experience committed to minimising environmental impact, supporting culture and community, and that they may even spend more to ensure an authentic, sustainable and responsible travel experience.

“We also know that more and more visitors are actively looking for authentic experiences backed by credible brands, particularly those holding a valid, credible and current certification or can clearly demonstrate the actions they are taking to improve in this space. Travellers want to be able to easily identify operators who will deliver the experience they are expecting.

“As Big Red Group’s supply chain makes strides to incorporate sustainability practices based on their comprehensive Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard report, we look forward to seeing them progress toward achieving global best practice sustainability certification through our ECO and Sustainable Tourism Certification programs,” Ms Keenan said.

The Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard, launched in late 2022, is a pre-certification tool allowing businesses to see where they are at on their sustainability journey by measuring their practices against the four pillars of sustainability: sustainable management, environmental impacts, socio-economic impacts, and cultural impacts.

Businesses on the Big Red Group’s platforms that have completed the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard will have the option to display an icon on their listing indicating they have a score of 50% or more.

For businesses that progress to achieving global best practice sustainability standards through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO and Sustainable Tourism Certification programs, they will soon have the opportunity to display their certification on their listing.

The Sustainable Tourism Certification program, launched in late 2022, meets international best practice for sustainability, and the standard is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). This new certification is for non-nature-based businesses to be recognised at global standard as ECO Certified operators (for nature-based operators) are and is part of Ecotourism Australia’s priority to make starting a journey to sustainability more accessible across the entire industry.

Media Contacts: Big Red Group:

brochuresDM Partnership

Big Red Group partners with brochuresDM to expand Local Agent footprint in Victoria

Big Red Group, has entered a strategic partnership with Tourism brochure distributor, brochuresDM, appointing them as a Local Agent master distributor in Victoria.   Through the partnership, Big Red Group’s ‘Local Agent’ platform will have access to brochuresDM’s 250+ brochure board locations in popular visitor sites such as hotels, motels, information centres, and caravan parks throughout Victoria. This partnership will add to Local Agent’s existing footprint of 40+ locations in Victoria and enable tourists and travellers to seamlessly book experiences through the hotel concierge, reception, or tour desk.  The partnership supports a shared objective to aid local tourism and the growth of experience partners within Victoria, providing them high value and effective distribution. Powered by Local Agent’s technology platform, tourists will now have access to hundreds of experiences through the end-to-end booking service.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“Through this partnership with brochuresDM and expansion of Local Agent’s footprint, we’re excited to be supporting the Victorian experience partner community and increase the visibility and bookability of the great experiences on offer. Across the market, we’re seeing travellers and tourists demand a more seamless experience, and technology solutions are a key part of this.”

brochuresDM Director, Martin Kelly, comments:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Big Red Group on the Experience Oz Local Agent platform in Victoria. It’s especially exciting to join up with an Australian company that are a proven leader in the sector. We look forward to sharing this ‘easy to use’ platform with the local accommodation sector, to help enhance the Visitor Experience, and provide a convenient channel to connect them with all the great adventures that Victoria has to offer.”

Tourism and Events Queensland Partnership

Experience OZ partners with Tourism and Events Queensland

Big Red Group’s leading tourism brand Experience Oz has partnered with Tourism and Events Queensland to win over the “Been there, done that’s”, in their first co-marketing campaign.

Tapping into Tourism and Events Queensland’s wider campaign of ‘Queensland is Calling‘, Experience Oz was perfectly positioned to help target one of their key audiences, the ‘Been there, done that’s‘, those who felt they had seen everything QLD had to offer.

Running from 1 March until 6 April, the campaign concept focuses on ‘Experiencing Queensland like it’s the first time‘, using our diverse range of experiences to showcase how much Queensland truly has to offer. Alongside owned assets, paid media will be running across Search, Social, YouTube and Native, as well as being supported via Local Agent (our B2B) channel; in hotel screens across QLD, and within the Experience Oz Experience Centre in Surfers Paradise.

Big Red Group Transformation

Big Red Group taps Cognizant to Transform the Digital Experience Marketplace

Big Red Group, has engaged global IT services company, Cognizant, to transform its digital platforms in support of its national and international growth ambitions. This follows the rapid acquisition of multiple businesses in the travel and experiences sector over the last five years. Cognizant will provide consulting, technology, operations, program and management services.
As part of the five-year digital transformation project, Cognizant will provide consulting, technology, operations, programming and management services as Big Red Group seeks to drive conversion uplift, improve the customer and supplier end-to-end experience as well as provide a scalable platform for their global growth ambitions.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“In the current volatile economy, finding a partner that has the scale to weather the storm with you, with a breadth of services and capabilities to help you rapidly optimise cost to serve is critical. To find a partner that will then invest alongside you, take risk on their ability to partner and transform, to explore new opportunities on an innovative commercial basis, and to jointly commit to ESG outcomes that aligns with your purpose – priceless. Cognizant demonstrated all of these and we’re excited to start off the year alongside them.”

Cognizant Head of Consulting ANZ, George Evans comments:

“Our expertise in the retail and travel industry is a great example of how our partnership with BRG can help it scale as an Australian business, globally. Combine this with Cognizant’s strong digital and technology capabilities, this is the beginning of a partnership founded on great chemistry and cultural alignment. The team at Cognizant looking forward to working with BRG over the coming years and help the online marketplace achieve its growth objectives.”

Partnership with Everything Travel Group

Big Red Group partners with Everything Travel Group

The experience leaders join forces to power the New Zealand tourism industry recovery

Big Red Group, has formed a strategic partnership with Everything Travel Group’s New Zealand original and premier online tour agent, Everything New Zealand.

As part of the new venture, Big Red Group will supply its world-leading travel technology, enabling Everything Travel Group to scale its direct B2B markets in New Zealand, powered by the ‘Local Agent’ concierge booking platform from February 1, 2023.

The goal of this new partnership is to bring together technology, scale and resources, combined with an established and locally run New Zealand company that has a long-term deep understanding of the tourism landscape. It will combine strong relationships and a desire to support the tourism industry by making bookings easy, more efficient and of great value to supply partners across a variety of channels.

Specifically, the new technology and Big Red Group’s ‘Local Agent’ platform will allow Everything New Zealand to offer the ability for resellers such as accommodation properties, airlines, rent-a-car companies and tourism bodies to deliver easy experience booking solutions for their customers, whilst providing high value and effective distribution for supply partners.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“We’re thrilled for Everything Travel Group to leverage our Local Agent platform, supporting New Zealand supply partners, and the broader travel and experience economy recovery. Across Australia and New Zealand, we’re seeing a renewed focus on providing a seamless customer experience, and technology solutions are a key part of this.”

Everything New Zealand General Manager and Director, Matt Morgan, comments:

“We have been talking to Big Red Group for over 12 months and are very excited to have found a partner that is in line with our local values and desire to transform both the online travel space and technology solutions in the experiences sector from right here within New Zealand. This is a critical time for New Zealand’s tourism recovery, and we look forward to being part of driving the rebound with world-leading technology solutions.”

As tourism rebounds from the impacts of Covid19, having world-leading technology and travel solutions that help New Zealand companies efficiently sell and process experiences is an important part of owning the experience category.

Big Red Group joins the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GTSC)

Driving a Sustainable Experience Economy

Big Red Group is committed to uniting a very diverse industry around sustainability. With more than 140 different types of businesses represented on its platforms. From shark diving to cultural tours, theme parks to supercar driving, and hot air balloons to glamping. Understanding the full impact of these experiences from a climate, biodiversity, social and cultural perspective is top of the agenda and certainly a fast-emerging customer expectation.

In partnership with Eco-Tourism Australia and Tourism Australia. Big Red Group will encourage its Experience Partners to participate in the Strive for Sustainability Scorecard developed by Eco Tourism Australia and based on the GSTC Industry Criteria and undertake the newly introduced Sustainability Certification. These will set the basis for how customers interact and engage with Sustainable Experiences. Providing badges, signposting and information to make an informed choice.

In addition, Big Red Group has several exciting projects underway/planned as part of its Sustainability Agenda covering accessibility and inclusion in the experience industry and Destination Stewardship particularly around the Great Barrier Reef where it sends a significant number of travellers.

Jemma Fastnedge, Chief Sustainability Officer commented, “being part of the GTSC provides us with ongoing connection to a global framework and network of professionals who are looking to solve the same problems. We are really motivated to be part of it and to learn, share and work together to ensure the industry we all love stays protected and respected for our future generations to enjoy”.

GSTC Welcomes Big Red Group

“We are very pleased to welcome Big Red Group to the GSTC and applaud their commitment to sustainability in the experience marketplace,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.