South Australian Tourism Commission
Tourism Marketing Academy - The COVID-19 Reboot
When COVID-19 hit, and the Australian Government implemented the initial set of nation wide restrictions, the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) sought to provide South Australian tourism operators with the opportunity to participate in digital training programs.
In March 2020, We were approached by SATC to develop a program that would assist tourism businesses dealing with the current COVID-19 environment and provide them benefits beyond the current global pandemic, leading to a stronger and more professional tourism industry in the longer term.
Our proposed ‘Tourism Marketing Academy – The Covid-19 Reboot’ was strategically designed to not only educate but inspire and empower participants to take action to develop and market their businesses to drive demand for not only for their experiences, but for South Australia as a whole.
The Program attracted 180+ tourism operators from across South Australia, and across all industry sectors.
The Academy offered a holistic view of tourism marketing. We took participants on a deep dive to understand how to navigate the current economic climate surrounding COVID-19, and how to prepare their experience and marketing strategy to restart their business when the time permits.
The Academy not only covered all of the 'How To' basics of key digital marketing platforms, but showed participants how the relationship between their experience, their visitors, and strategic marketing tactics come together to achieve business objectives, and can drive real growth & sustainability, which is of particular importance in the current economic climate.
One of the key outcomes from the Academy was the creation of a online network of tourism marketing advocates within South Australia, for whom can support one another with digital literacy, and for which the State’s Regional Tourism Organisations, and the South Australian Tourism Commission can call on to support their future marketing initiatives.
Our business has completely turned around since starting this course. By actioning what I've learned, we've finalled in an Australia-wide pet-friendly accommodation award and seen social-media engagement convert to back-to-back bookings for the next three months. Thank you!
It not only helped me to re-focus on business fundamentals, it stretched me to incorporate new marketing practices into my business which has benefited our business already. I appreciated Rebecca & Paige's delivery of the course and their deep knowledge on all the subjects they taught. All their resources were spot on, and melded together to give us such clarity in moving our business forward. Thank you- it was a great use of time, and will propel us forward, far into the future...
Marketing and Enrolments
We developed the Program graphics, and SATC promoted the Program via their industry communication channels and managed the applications/enrolments for the Program.
We published a pre-program survey to gather insights from the participants on key issues/challenges they faced in marketing their business, which helped us to refine our learning materials and concepts to ensure the operators could have all their questions answered.
The Program consisted of 7 Marketing Modules to be delivered over a 2.5 month period.
We worked closely with the team at SATC to refine the training topics covered in the Modules to ensure key skill gaps were addressed.
The seven learning Modules covered in the Program were
- Tourism Marketing Trends, Experience Development and Marketing Strategy
- Content Marketing
- Website Marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Social Media
- Online Reputation Management, Customer Advocacy + Location Based Marketing
- All of the modules were delivered via an interactive 1.5 hour live online webinar, which were facilitated fortnightly.
- All webinars were recorded, so those participants who couldn’t attend the workshop or webinars live could watch the replays.
Mentoring + Learning Materials
- Bespoke learning materials (workbooks, templates and Content Marketing toolkit) were created and supplied to support the key learnings in the webinars. Each Module consisted of a set of Tasks, which combined together, assisted the participants to create a flexible content marketing strategy for their business.
- All learning materials (including recorded live webinar + replay of the live workshops) were made available to participants within 24 hours after each module.
- Local South Australian tourism business case studies were used throughout the webinars, making the learning materials as relevant as possible for the participants
- A private Facebook Group was used to further engage participants and enable them to ask and receive support during the Program, and then a further 4 weeks after the final webinar.
Very well mapped out program and the delivery was engaging and well prepared. I loved that every major point was discussed and then explained through local South Australian examples. Lots of research and time was put in by the facilitators who were very knowledgeable and experts in this area and experts in all things South Australian. I would highly recommend for all tourism business to engage Paige and Rebecca for similar training in the future.
The business networking, industry-specific case studies and relevant content were delivered by Rebecca and Paige in a thoughtful, inspiring & educational manner during a time when regional businesses were suffering the most and needing the confidence & skills to pivot efficiently and effectively.
Given the Program was facilitated at a time when restrictions were at their peak across the State, we experienced exceptional engagement for our live webinars and also in our Facebook Group.
At the completion of the program, we collated feedback through a post-program survey, with an overview of some of their feedback below.
- "I loved the positivity of both Rebecca & Paige, they were incredibly supportive and knowledgable. The presentations were very clear and well prepared.
- "Inheriting Marketing duties without any previous Marketing training, I found this course extremely useful. Very well explained and delivered. You both were so engaging and were able to speak to all levels but then also to extend to those with greater knowledge. LOVED all the examples as they were all South Australian and relevant to reiterate the discussions. I am doubtful I could find any improvements- you nailed it!!
- "Loved the ability where I could sit and do it in the confines of our office and not having to travel hours to attend a workshop. Also being able to access the information after the program had completed to reassess any points or information.
- "I loved doing the program from home. I also liked that it was mostly fortnightly so we had time to implement what we learnt before we did another webinar.
- "Real life scenarios, learning what works for other businesses. The presenters were thoughtful and engaged in this Covid environment but most importantly, the content was delivered in an easy to understand manner.
Participants in the Program have already started to implement and see great results from their learning too:
- "I have started using google analytics and found it really interesting to see where my web traffic is coming from and how long they spend on certain pages. I am going to seek a bit of assistance with optimising my webpage from a web developer. I have commenced supplying all guests with a welcome gift of wine & honey with a note. I have also worked on improving the guest experience by endeavouring to find out what they want from their holiday and tailoring suggestions and things we offer to suit. I have increased my social media posting and included links to these on my emails to try to encourage more followers. I have asked guests to tag us in their posts, but yet to see this occur.
- "Our business has completely turned around since starting this course. FB advertising has been hugely successful and bookings are virtually back to back up until October. Two of our three cottages were Finalists in the Holidaying with Dogs 5-paws pet accommodation awards, and we are getting great engagement on social media with shares and likes - like we've never had before!
- "Implemented so much, and have seen a return of $50 for every $1 spent on marketing
- "Definitely seeing more engagement on our social media sites due to changes implemented from the program.
- "Working on the website rebuild- the timing of this training was perfect! I still need to find a way to confidently ask for reviews and teach my staff to ask for reviews... something I need to put more thought into. As I said before I have seen an engagement increase since using more hashtags on instagram.
- "We have consistency across our digital assets (Google, Trip Advisor etc) and are now regularly keeping on top of them
- "We have reviewed our entire messaging, online communication and approach, which we are improving step by step.
I loved the positivity of both Rebecca & Paige, they were incredibly supportive and knowledgable. The presentations were very clear and well prepared.
I found undertaking the program was an incredibly positive experience in uncertain times. The presenters were professional, knowledgeable and very approachable. The course was jam packed with really relevant information and delivered in a way that encouraged participants to give everything a try. I would most definitely participate in other courses that relate to our business. I firmly believe that engendering a feeling of comradeship, support and sharing among tourism providers is a great way to improve what we can all offer our guests and help each other.