Clare Valley Tourism Region
Destination Management + Marketing Plan 2019-2024
The Clare Valley Tourism Region, a couple hours drive north of Adelaide, encapsulates the Clare Valley Wine Region, Burra and the agricultural districts surrounding those key centres. The Region boasts some of Australia’s most coveted wine brands, cellar doors, regional dining experiences, events, and food producers, making it an exciting melting pot of epicurean delights.
In addition to the gastronomic experiences are some of South Australia’s most prominent copper mining and agricultural heritage assets which are complemented by historical walking trails, drives, museums, churches and cemeteries dotted across the Region.
The Region is home to an eclectic range of artisans and creatives, which has seen the organic growth of a diverse range of art and cultural experiences for locals and visitors to enjoy, including art galleries, trails, public art, expressive art and increasing indigenous cultural experiences.
All of these assets are perfectly nestled in a quintessentially Australian landscape, with rolling vineyards surrounding by majestic gum trees, broad acre cropping, and dramatic bare-rolling hills, all within a stones-throw from South Australia’s outback. This natural setting is the perfect backdrop for outdoor and soft adventure experiences, including cycling, walking and touring for all ages.
With a burgeoning visitor economy, and huge potential for growth, Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North (RDAYMN) engaged us to work with key stakeholders to collaboratively develop a Destination Management and Marketing Plan for the whole Region.
The overarching goal for the Plan was to increase tourism visitation, expenditure, employment and development to the Region.
To achieve this Goal, we identified a number of objectives that the Plan would support, including:
- Identify and implement strategic marketing initiatives (evolve current, activate new) to drive visitation growth and yield
- Grow events through marketing and development
- Ensure visitors has access to inspiring and relevant travel information and customer service at each stage of their travel purchase journey
- Develop sustainable visitor economy assets and infrastructure that support the growth of key visitor markets, and to benefit communities
- Mobilise an effective governance structure for tourism in the region to support the goals and outcomes within the Plan
^ Stakeholder Engagement Workshop at Auburn
Destination Situation Analysis
In order to develop a relevant and reliable Plan for the region, it was essential to undertake a comprehensive Situation Analysis. This gave us a birds eye view of the state of play, which then helped to identify where the opportunities were for the Region.
The methodology used to gather the information to inform the Situation Analysis was three-fold, including Stakeholder Workshops, an Online Survey and numerous 1:1 individual meetings.
Consultation workshops in Auburn and Burra were facilitated, with 40+ in attendance overall. These workshops explored opportunities and challenges, and allowed for brainstorming. The online survey captured over 50 responses which helped to confirm many of the opportunities identified in the Workshops. Various local government, industry and state government stakeholders were also engaged to establish a state of play, particularly around specific sectors of the visitor economy.
Overall, over 100 stakeholders were engaged in this project, who identified many opportunities and challenges across the destination, which were vital in informing the new Plan.
Plan Development, Delivery and Adoption
Once we had established a detailed situation analysis of the Region, we could then combine these insights with our own knowledge and expertise to develop the Draft Destination Management + Marketing Plan.
Presentations to Key Stakeholders
Whilst RDA Yorke and Mid North are the custodians of the Plan, the actions within the Plan were relevant for many key stakeholders within the Region. Therefore it was imperative that these stakeholders were briefed on the Draft Plan, and had a chance to offer feedback and comment. This process was extremely beneficial and resulted in an improved outcome for the Project.
Presentations to Local Government
Once the Plan was endorsed by the RDA Yorke and Mid North, and the key stakeholders (as above) we presented the Situation Analysis and Plan to the elected members from both the Clare and Gilbert Valley Council and the Regional Council of Goyder. These presentations sparked great discussion and improved understanding of best practice destination management and marketing, and helped councillors understand the reasoning behind the strategic direction and key initiatives.
Growing a Region's economy takes the actions of many, not just a few individuals. So, we prepared checklists for Tourism Operators, Community groups and residents on how they can help implement the key initiatives within the Plan. We also encourage these groups to make contact with RDA to better understand how they can leverage and support the Plan through their initiatives and activities.
On Thursday 5th December 2019, we presented the Plan to Industry, not only sharing the strategic direction, but how each community group and residents can get involved in the implementation of the Plan - making it everyone's Plan.
Role Clarity and Governance
The Plan has provided clarity and direction for the stakeholders in the Region. The Region is working through a model for effective governance.
Tourism Resource Employed
RDA Yorke and Mid North have employed a full time resource to support the implementation of the Plan. Previously, this role was part time.
Building Digital Capacity
- The Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre staff are currently reviewing and optimising their Destination Marketing initiatives (website and social media) and Visitor Servicing delivery to better support and engage visitors in their region, both on and offline.
- In 2019, the region has undertaken a digital audit of tourism operators in the region to get a baseline of digital implementation. These operators then received mentoring to improve their digital presence.
- In 2020, the Region invested in digital marketing workshops for the industry to support the implementation of the Region's brand
The Region has invested in upgrading the visual assets to use for marketing and servicing initiatives.
From the get-go Paige and Rebecca had such a good understanding of our region and what we were wanting to achieve.
As Regional Tourism Manager for the Clare Valley Tourism Region I was very fortunate to work with Paige and Rebecca from Tourism eSchool in developing the Clare Valley Destination Marketing + Management Plan 2019 – 2024.
We have been able to implement many of our short term goals, some of which have included working with Tourism eSchool again and these efforts have always had a positive outcome. Their focus is very much results driven; we have since seen our website develop to be more interactive with our market, blog articles have proved successful and both the Facebook and Instagram accounts have seen engagement growth.
Personally, I found Paige and Rebecca so easy to work with. They are supportive, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the tourism industry.
Since delivering the Plan, we have worked with the RDA Yorke and Mid North to deliver Actions within the Plan.
Digital Marketing Strategic Planning Session
In December 2019, we facilitated a strategic planning session with key stakeholders in the Region to confirm the official communication channels for the Region, for industry and consumers.
The aim of the planning session is to maximise cut through of Clare Valley Tourism Region brand and storytelling on social media and other key online channels, by reducing content duplication, and increasing diversity and storytelling on relevant communication channels.
- Confirmation of official, regional visitor marketing assets (social media, email marketing and website marketing) for the Region; and identify their strategic intent, content themes, and lead organisations for each asset
- Confirmation of regional industry communication assets; and identify their strategic intent, content
themes, and lead organisations for each asset
- Guidance on how industry/towns/event/council social media channel owners can differentiate content
(social media/email/website) from official Regional communication channels to drive engagement and conversions for their visitor activities
Visitor Servicing and Destination Marketing Training for key staff in Region
The two accredited Visitor Centres within the Clare Valley Tourism Region are both enrolled in our Visitor Servicing + Destination Marketing Bootcamp.
In the Bootcamp, we train and mentor visitor servicing and destination marketing teams to understand their high yielding visitor personas, and then take them on a learning journey on how they can support their visitor personas throughout their travel path to purchase with marketing and visitor servicing initiatives.
Marketing Training Workshop for Tourism Operators and Event Managers
In September 2020 (originally planned for March 2020, but delayed by COVID-19 restrictions) we facilitated 2 marketing training workshops for the tourism industry.
The aim of the workshops was to educate tourism operators and event managers on how to integrate the Clare Valley Tourism Region brand stories and personality in their experience and digital storytelling initiatives (such as Social Media, Website), and also how to manage their business' reputation online to drive positive word of mouth advocacy for their brands.
^ Marketing Training Workshop at Paxton Square Cottages in Burra, September 2020