Repeatedly, we see the proof that when tourism businesses collaborate and have a unified vision for the growth of their regional visitor economy, they do better and are more successful than when businesses work in isolation.
This article shares our top 10 tips for tourism operators and leading tourism organisations like regional tourism organisations (RTOs) to work together on simple acts of solidarity that will mean they have better digital marketing reach and are supporting each other through their business journey.
The Collaborative Context
As a tourism operator, you are part of a business ecosystem that has interconnected business communities at all levels including your country, your state/territory/province and your local region. In Australia, we have a vibrant ecosystem comprising government at all levels including Tourism Australia, your State/territory government tourism organisation, regional and local tourism organisations and local councils. Add to this industry associations with their niche focuses at national, state and regional levels including Australian Tourism Export Council, Tourism and Transport Forum, Eco-Tourism Australia, State industry councils like Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Victorian Tourism Industry Council, Tourism Council of Western Australia and Tourism Industry Council of South Australia…the list goes on.
But, all of these government and not for profit organisations exist for a common purpose and that is to support the tourism industry to grow and to be resilient. They have different functions, some are focused on advocacy to Government to influence policy decisions and legislation, others are all about marketing the destination. Whatever their functions, they exist to make your business more sustainable.
Within your tourism region, as a tourism operator, you are a star! Your role is to be a memory-maker, delivering experiences and services that contribute to your local visitor economy. You are part of a team on the ground, working to make your destination a place to remember and recommend to visitors’ friends and family. You are part of an industry team on the ground working to attract, convert and retain loyal customers so that your region and your business can grow.
If you’re not convinced yet about the collaborative context you are operating in have a listen to our superstar General Manager, Despina talking on the #wephilosophy.
How to Contribute to the Success of Your Local Visitor Economy
When you step up and lead from the front, others will take notice and follow. Be the brave one and pave the way for other operators to follow and when it’s an act of generosity you do, for example, tagging and posting about a local business, in most cases you will be thanked through reciprocation.
Some of the tips below you are more than likely already doing, but here’s are favourite top 10 checklists of ways to contribute and leverage your tourism business ecosystem:
Working with tourism organisations:
- Get a listing on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse and optimise it with great images and search-friendly copy so you can have your business published on australia.com and your State/territory consumer website and many more
- Join your local tourism organisation and get involved to make the most of your membership: attend every training opportunity, go to networking events, participate in marketing campaigns
- Call into your local VIC (Visitor Information Centre) and meet the team…tell them about your business and find out how you can work with them to make it easy for them to recommend or sell your services
Foster local industry relationships:
- Be a tourist in your own area by visiting local businesses and introducing yourself, offer for them to experience your products and services and vice versa
- Offer familiarations of your products and services for local VIC and LTO/RTO (regional tourism organisation) teams and invite local media as well…show them a great time!
- As you get to know other businesses better consider complementary businesses that you could create packages with…creating a package is a great way to take a new and attractive offer to your target market and the partners can amplify their marketing reach by working together
Collaborate on social media:
- All power to the destination hashtag…use them! On Instagram, the fastest growing social media platform for tourism businesses, the # (hashtag) is the powerful tool consumers use to help them to find content and the hashtag is part of a brand. Your #yourbusinessname is part of your brand and you should apply it consistently. Likewise, your destination hashtag is part of your destination’s brand. Apply it always on your Instagram posts and when you’re posting a sensational photo with high destination marketing worth (imagine you’ve just snapped the most beautiful wallaby set amongst wildflowers 💖 ) add not only your regional but also your State/territory and country tag for the opportunity of having your photo shared to a massive audience
View this post on Instagram
- Send love to your local businesses by following them on Facebook and Instagram and engaging in their posts
- Post about local businesses that offer experiences that visitors enjoy and remember to @mention them in your posts so they get a notification…and hopefully will engage in the conversation
- Is there a Facebook Group for visitors to your region? If so, join it, and be part of answering visitors questions…and if not, why don’t you get together with local businesses and your VIC or tourism association to start one…collaboration is key to success!
Do you feel that you need to learn more about tourism marketing techniques…a great place to start is our Digital Bizkeeper 101 course?