Scenic drive into Warrumbungle National Park with views through to Belougery Split Rock.

Destination Central West NSW

Product Audit and Gap Analysis

Project Scope

In July 2023, we partnered with Destination Central West NSW (DNCW) to deliver a Product Audit and Gap Analysis for their region.

DNCW is one of the seven Destination Networks in regional NSW. Established by the NSW Government, DNCW’s role is to improve regional stakeholder engagement and better support the visitor economy of regional NSW.

From July to December, we worked closely with DNCW and their 12 local government areas: Bathurst Regional, Blayney Shire, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes Shire, Lachlan Shire, Lithgow City, Mid-Western Regional, Oberon, Orange City, Parkes Shire, and Weddin Shire Councils to establish 4 key experience assets for their region.

Project Methodology

Stage 1 - Destination Central West NSW Experience Database

Based on all DNCW regional listings from the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW), we identified all available product / experiences per council area, and with the assistance of the 12 Council Tourism Managers, we developed a DNCW Experience Database listing all known experiences within the region.

These experiences were then aligned with the identified Experience Strengths of the Region (as per DNCW’s Destination Management Plan) and were segmented based on Industry Sector. First Nations and key Agritourism experiences were also identified as part of this process.

The result was a database that listed all live and current experiences, a list of experiences that required a live ATDW listing so the DNCW team could work with those businesses to better promote their product, a list of experiences that do not align with DNCW’s Experience Strengths and a list of events.


Stage 2 - Visitor Sentiment Review on Top 20% DNCW Product

This stage of the project required us to develop criteria to determine what constitutes a 'Top 20%' experience. This criteria identified variables that demonstrated strong alignment with DNSW and DNCW strategic plans.

Once the criteria was approved by DNCW, we then worked with Council Tourism Managers to assess all identified product in the DNCW Experience Database in their relevant jurisdiction to identify top 20% of products. During this process, Councils were able to identify all experiences that no longer exist, as well as identify experiences that are not on the list but could be identified as a ‘Wild Card’ eg. a business that has potential for significant growth in the tourism sector, but may not be promoted or work in the traditional channels.

Once each of the 12 Councils had assessed their experiences against the criteria, we then collated the Top 20% (over 300 experiences) and interrogated Google Business Profiles, Social Media Reviews and TripAdvisor Listings to identify an average visitor sentiment score (average star rating).

This process allowed us to truly determine the region’s Top 20% from a visitor’s perspective to ensure the experience was delivering on the visitor promise.


Stage 3 - Destination NSW Website Content Audit

Once the Top 20% of experiences were identified and then verified through the Visitor Sentiment Review, an audit and report was developed on all DNCW and sub-regional content on to ensure alignment with current Experience Strengths, and the highlighting of Top 20% product across the region (where relevant). Gaps and opportunities for further product inclusions were also identified as part of this report.


Stage 4 - Development of an Optimal Future State Framework

This stage of the project required us to develop a Framework which could be used by staff at DNCW to assess and assist businesses to ensure a regional optimal future state could be reached. This Framework will also assist in identifying gaps in the current visitor experience.

Business Management, Resilience, Tourism Marketing, Experience Design, Culture and Community benchmarks and variables were included in the Framework.

A Guide to using the Framework was also created to ensure consistent messaging between DNCW staff and businesses regarding terms and definitions used throughout the Framework.

The output has provided insight and context for DNCW to support the implementation of the region-wide initiatives outlined in the region’s Destination Management Plan 2030.

Destination Central West (DNCW), a newly formed Regional Tourism Network partnered with tourism consultancy, The Tourism Collective to undertake an Experience Audit and Gap Analysis for the Central West Region of NSW. The project was designed to enable DNCW to uncover the region's leading tourism experiences, understand their ability to deliver on the destination’s visitor promise and meet the needs of the future traveller. As a value add the focus on an Optimal Future State Framework has provided DNCW with the resources to work individually with businesses to identify gaps and provide mentoring to address these gaps. We thank The Tourism Collective for their guidance, support, perseverance and dedication to ensuring the best outcome for this project.
Sean Haylan, General Manager, Destination Central West NSW