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:

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 celebrates Auscontact award win

Two Auscontact Association national awards taken home by Big Red Group’s customer experience team

Big Red Group is thrilled to announce that our very own Customer Experience team has taken out the 2022 National Auscontact Association Awards for the Change, Innovation, and Improvements category last Friday.

At a national level, our Customer Experience team was recognised for its depth of talent that had delivered a huge plan of work with a flawless execution, and had achieved record breaking results across its client services and employee engagement. A special mention to the Big Red Group Senior Leadership Team for its continual support and commitment to delivering on quality customer experience.

Taking Partnership to New Heights

Hot Air Ballooning Experience Set to Soar

Big Red Group has seen interest in flying experiences surge, with a 45.9% increase from 2019 to 2022, with key categories like Hot Air Ballooning, Helicopter Rides and Skydiving increasing in popularity. After pandemic fuelled lockdowns and disruptions, people are ready to explore and tick off their bucket-list style experiences.

Picture This Ballooning has been a long-standing supply partner of Big Red Group, working in partnership with its Adrenaline brand for more than 13 years. The company is renowned for its wonderful ballooning experiences, operating in several picturesque locations across Victoria and New South Wales.

Like many businesses in the experience sector, Picture This Ballooning faced operational and commercial challenges for much of 2020/2021, which has made expanding its fleet and catering for additional demand a significant issue. Current demand has begun to outweigh capacity, creating waitlists of up to 3 weeks.

Seeing the growth potential of Picture This Ballooning and keen to support its long-term partners more deeply, Big Red Group is proud to announce the commissioning of a 10-passenger hot air balloon which will add significant capacity to Melbourne-based availability and shorten waiting times during peak periods. As part of the arrangement, Big Red Group will brand the balloon, gaining valuable exposure as it orbits Melbourne’s CBD for 100+ days annually, for many years to come.

This is not the first ballooning foray over Melbourne for Big Red Group. Between 2011 and 2019, Picture This Ballooning operated an Adrenaline hot air balloon which flew over the city and suburbs of Melbourne, occasionally transporting the aircraft interstate for film shoots and publicity, leading to a substantial uplift in sales over a long period – interrupted only by the pandemic.

Picture This Ballooning General Manager, Ryan Bromage emphasises the strong relationship they have with Big Red Group; “Now well into the second decade of our supply partnership with Big Red Group, we are delighted at this initiative which exemplifies the mutual support that is the essence of our commercial collaboration.”

Bromage continues, “Big Red Group understands the once in a generation impact of the pandemic and this new aircraft which is planned to come online later this year will be a powerful demonstration of the alliance.”

As summarised by Stephen Blake, Big Red Group’s Head of Supply, “This agreement showcases both the power and practicalities of partnership, and how dual business objectives can be achieved and customer experiences enhanced. It really is a win-win. Ryan and the Picture This Ballooning team offer Big Red Group customer service that is second to none. Their professional, innovative and resilient business ethic makes Picture This Ballooning the perfect partner.”

Amid the current economic landscape, and with full tourism industry recovery anticipated to take several years, deeper partnerships of this nature provide a viable way forward for many suppliers, and an avenue that Big Red Group will continue to invest in.

Experience Oz and DCM unite

Better together, businesses to reignite North Queensland tourism

Australian owned and operated businesses recognise strength in joining together to reignite tourism sector

Sydney, 3 February 2022 – Australian owned and operated businesses Big Red Group, the parent company of Experience Oz, and Destination Cairns Marketing (DCM) have agreed to terms on a new joint venture set to benefit tourism operators and aid industry recovery in North Queensland.

The partnership will leverage Big Red Group’s state of the art technology, scale and marketing capabilities as the largest experience marketplace in Australia and New Zealand, combining with DCM’s 30+ years of local knowledge, deep industry relationships and strong ties with businesses within the region.

As North Queensland continues to face challenging trading conditions, with international inbound travel not anticipated to return to pre COVID-19 volumes within the foreseeable future, the joint venture comes at an opportune time as it seeks to leverage the reach of Big Red Group’s audience to increase domestic volumes within the area.

Under the agreement, Big Red Group’s leading domestic holiday brand Experience Oz, with more than 15 years’ experience in the region, will generate demand via branded tour desks underpinned by a significant marketing investment. Its B2B platform, Experience Oz Local Agent will supply the technology to support activity bookings across the 130+ hotels currently working with DCM, providing more advanced capabilities such as in-room activity booking via QR codes and lobby booking kiosks.

It’s a win-win partnership set to drive much needed growth across the sector, with hotels, guests, tour and experience providers all set to benefit under the landmark partnership. Operations will be vastly streamlined, while hotel guests will have access to a more extensive range of experiences across the region, with tour and activity suppliers currently listed with Experience Oz to be introduced into the hotels.

Since acquiring Experience Oz and Experience Oz Local Agent in late 2021, Big Red Group has begun to invest significantly in scaling the brands, as done successfully with other brands in its portfolio such as RedBalloon and Adrenaline. As Big Red Group grows Experience Oz into a household name, it is anticipated that consumer uptake on Experience Oz offerings at hotel concierge desks will also increase.

David Anderson, CEO of Big Red Group comments:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have forged this agreement with DCM, a well-known and highly respected family owned and operated business which has embedded itself within the North Queensland tourism sector since 1986. We know how tough it has been for the tourism industry as a whole, with Cairns and surrounds being particularly hard hit.”

Anderson continues, “Despite Experience Oz and DCM having been respectful, if fierce competitors in the past, we recognise that we are better together, pooling our resources and expertise which will ultimately deliver much better outcomes for all stakeholders. We have established a fantastic working rapport with DCM owners Denis Donaghy, Sam and Greg Ferguson, and have every confidence in their capabilities to execute this on the ground.”

DCM will continue to champion and grow local tourism, while working closely with Regional Tourism bodies and Cairns based Experience Oz representatives. Meanwhile, Big Red Group continues to proactively strengthen relationships with State and Federal Government, committed to centrally representing more than 2500 experience suppliers that it partners with, ensuring they have a voice at the table.

Sam Ferguson, General Manager Commercial for DCM comments:

“This is an incredibly exciting partnership which will bring a significant boost of momentum and generate new demand for the area. We are a team of locals, who have always prided ourselves on delivering exceptional outcomes to our partners. Big Red Group has an impeccable record in building trusted brands and long-term mutually beneficial partnerships. We are looking forward to working collaboratively to bring this new venture to life, and aim to play a key role in driving tourism recovery within the region.”

Sam Ferguson has been appointed CEO of the joint venture which will come into effect on April 1st, and he will continue to lead day-to-day operations for DCM.