Visitor Information Centre

Evolving the Visitor Information Centre offering

How can Visitor Information Centres evolve to meet customer expectations?. In this blog post Ali Uren from Kiikstart explains how.

Over the past four years Kiikstart has spent time in both SA and Tasmania working with Visitor Information Centres (VICs) to review their current product and service offerings in order to increase revenue.

While information in terms of brochures and websites will still exist within future VIC’s, there are new ways to communicate the region’s unique offerings that build WOW experiences and have economic benefit.

Examples of how participating Visitor Information Centres became more innovative included:

  • Working closely with local artisans and producers to create VIC exclusive product across various price points. One VIC in regional SA worked with a local glass blower to create unique pieces to celebrate key regional events such as the Rose and Balloon festival.
  • Another in a premier wine growing region worked with a local business to create accessories from local wine barrels. These items include bottle holders, bottle openers and cheese boards.

These VIC exclusive gifts (not souvenirs) have led to increased sales as each one is handmade, quality, limited in terms of numbers and unique to that region.
Other visitor information centres were proactive and worked closely with regional suppliers to create new product offerings across areas such as:

  • Greeting Card
  • Glassware
  • Paintings
  • Scarves, textiles and accessories
  • Jewellery
  • Home fragrance including candles and oils
  • Chocolate, Coffee, Jams and Chutneys

The retail space has been re-designed to make it easier for guests to navigate and to clearly make sense of the different regional offerings through more impactful signage.

In turn staff and volunteers have more product to sell and have created a space and processes where upselling and link selling is a much easier, more hands on process.
While these products are only available via the VIC at present they do offer a postage service to make it easier for tourists to purchase, and are considering an online store in the near future.

As a result of being proactive the VIC was able to source local artisans and producers to be part of an ongoing 12 month Meet the Maker event. These events allow tourists to interact with the people behind the product or service and create a sense of excitement within the VIC space.

Creating a more interactive experience between producer/supplier, staff and tourist has been key in driving additional foot traffic to the VIC.

The Meet the Maker initiative has allowed complementary businesses to partner on key seasonal events which generated additional revenue, exposure to new markets and opportunity.

These events have now evolved into seasonal markets where producers, suppliers and artisans set up shop each week – outside during the more pleasant months.

The Visitor Information Centre has created a market that targets not only the traditional tourists but the local residents and visiting family and friends. In turn this has created additional revenue streams for the VIC and the participating businesses across the entire year – not just the high visitation times.

The next Kiikstart blog will be highlighting how other business within tourism such as hospitality, accommodation and Tour Operators can take the lessons from regional Visitor Information Centres and build on their own tourist offerings.

CONTACT KIIKSTART

Ali Uren - Tourism Tribe expert
Ali Uren – Tourism Tribe expert

Kiikstart focuses on the successful and creative execution of ideas into the market and when not living off grid Pewsey Vale, Barossa Valley commits its headspace to building better business through staff and place. This includes being part of the Tourism Tribe Expert community. If you want to get in touch please pay a visit to our profile on the expert page – we would love to chat.

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