April 9, 2020

//April 9, 2020

Hope you’re holding up OK.  It’s a weird time.  I went for a walk around Lake Daylesford last Sunday afternoon (I love my kids, but there are only so many games of charades or episodes of Bluey that I can handle in a small house on a wet day).  OK, it was a bit rainy, but in my 30-minute walk, I saw no one.  No people, no cars, nothing.  It was quite eerie.  And as a community member, I thought ‘good, stay home’.  As a tourism guy, I thought ‘Oh my god, this is thoroughly depressing’.  And therein lies the paradox. Most of you on this email list rely on the visitor economy to make ends meet, and yet we are (I hope) sufficiently civic minded to respect and abide by the restrictions that the government has imposed on us. 
We have sent a large number of resource links over the last three weeks, as new information and policies roll out.  We have also sent ideas on actions (email repository here) you can take to best weather the storm, and some suggestions on how you can strengthen your business, ready for the inevitable easing of restrictions and return of visitors to our amazing region.  We’ll continue with this theme; here are some useful resources for you. We will be launching some more initiatives soon as well, so please stay tuned.
Keep in touch with your customers
We want to provide a FREE service, to DMT partners, to help you keep in touch with your customers. Regardless of whether you have an existing MailChimp account or not, we can help you to import your database, set up a branded template and create your first email campaign. We can also provide advice on gaining new subscribers and adding a sign-up form to your website and marketing channels.  It will be first in, first served. Please email your interest to narenna@dmrtourism.com.au
Are you open for business?
I the last email, we spoke about our ‘open for business’ page which features businesses offering online products, takeaway etc.  If you’re not there and want to be, head to our form and fill it out. You don’t have to be a DMT partner, but of course, signing up makes sense. 
It is also worth considering the service offered by One Hour Out, who offer ‘An online country market where people can visit the markets from the comfort of their home, supporting regional communities at the same time’.  This might be a good way to increase your distribution.  There is an FAQ page for more information, and an application form here.  While DMT does not work directly with OHO, several of our operators do, and the team at OHO have been great in supporting our region.
Source of truth
Sifting through the overwhelming amount of information coming at us from all angles makes my head spin some days.  This is a very good ‘source of truth’ FAQ page from our friends at Visit Victoria.
Business resilience resources
Milton Collins, a locally-based business coach, is offering a substantially discounted workshop to help you create a 90 day plan to help you get your business through this crisis. It’s $99 but usually $499.  There are two sessions next week – Tuesday and Thursday, both 2-5pm. Here is the link.
Online workshops and interactive webinars
For a short time, ASBAS (Australian Small Business Advisory Services) is providing a digital solutions program.  Their program which was initially satellite events throughout Victoria has been replaced with an online program. So, you can attend and learn from leading digital experts all from the comfort of your own home or office. Here is their schedule (ends 30th April).
Skift is an organisation I’ve followed for years, and it’s worth signing up to their newsletter.  Here’s an interesting take on what the post-CVOD consumer might resemble.
For those who don’t mind a slightly academic paper, this was sent by a fellow Regional Tourism Board CEO (thanks Terry).  It’s very good and delivers a Tourism Crisis Recovery Checklist prepared in the context of COVID.  It looks at both operational and strategic perspectives.  Well worth your time. 
Finally, VTIC is our state’s tourism advocacy body, and they’re doing a great job.  If you haven’t already, make the most of the free membership offer or at least check in on their COVID page which has some useful links and info.
Visitor numbers (for the calendar year 2019)
Well, it’s arguably irrelevant now but it is worth noting our region’s visitation numbers, which were strong in 2019.  I am confident that with the work we are ALL doing, as restriction ease, our region will continue to outperform in terms of visitation growth.
‘Attractions’ data counts overnight visitors who, on their trip, visited our region.  Again, our region was #1 in the state in terms of growth, with 21% growth in 2019 (vs 2108) in the domestic market.
We had 7.3% growth for 2019 in international overnight visitors.  The number of nights international visitors stayed in the region grew 46%. This was thanks to a whopping 475% growth on the Hepburn side of the region.  But these numbers are off a pretty small sample size, so don’t base any strategies on this stat.
We had 15% growth in domestic overnight visitation in 2019, against a Regional Victoria average of 12.9%. However, there is weakness in the length of stay in this segment, which dropped 3.5%. This is something I have flagged at the last couple of industry briefings and we are working with operators and government to develop more product, which will help increase length of stay.
Domestic daytrips grew 29% against a Regional Victoria average of 15.7%.  I’ve said before day trippers are ‘less valuable’ to the region’s visitor economy because their spend is much lower but there are a lot of them: 2.6 million came to the region in 2019.  That’s ten times the number of international overnight visitors and almost three times the number of overnight visitors.  The average day trip visitor spends about $70 so that’s a decent amount of money staying in the region. But yes, finding a car park on the weekends can be frustrating.
Happy Easter
Easter will be different for most of us.  Staying at home isn’t so bad.  If you happen to have young kids, this series of guided drawing videos are pretty cool. My five-year-old daughter is obsessed and it’s a pretty good use of her time I reckon.
We will be in touch next week with more news.
Steve and the DMT Team
2020-04-24T12:13:32+00:00 April 9th, 2020|Newsletter|Comments Off on April 9, 2020