DMT update #5 - look on the bright side of life
A less formal email from me today. As I type this, I have that song from Life of Brian, 'Always look on the bright side of life' on repeat in my brain. It is important to focus on the positives. For starters, no one of us (I hope) are currently nailed to a cross, which is something. While some businesses are doing it tough, there is some good news and I thought I'd remind you of it.
While accommodation reservations are patchy, many of you are still getting strong bookings. In fact, I was speaking with one of our accommodation partners yesterday, and they just received a three-month booking from a gentleman who wanted to work remotely. He decided that it's a much nicer option to work in privacy in our beautiful part of the world. It’s up to you how you manage your promotions through your channels but if I was living in Melbourne and asked to work remotely, I'd definitely look at moving here for a few weeks. Not a bad promo angle for accommodation businesses. Clean air, lots of outdoor activities, no crowds, great food…and the rest.
This morning I received an email from Brendan McClements, the CEO of Visit Victoria. He notes that while they are pausing all international and interstate marketing for the time being, "intrastate marketing activities will continue to encourage Victorians to travel or plan to travel in regional Victoria in the months ahead". So, we have our key marketing agency pushing people into regional Victoria. And I'm in touch with Visit Vic pretty much daily to ensure they give our region plenty of exposure.
I've said this before, but it is also important to remember that when international travel drops, domestic travel rises. While there might be uncertainty this week which is preventing people from actually making a decision and going anywhere, shutting down international travel crates a macro force that counteracts a lot of the bad stuff. While things might not improve in the short term (with restrictions etc), they will stabilise and normalise. People will start to 'get on with it', and we will continue to market the region to Melburnians and keep visitation strong.
We will continue to deliver our brand values in our marketing, and the imagery will be about nature, open spaces and amazing produce. Contact us if you want your product promoted. We'll help you get it out there.
Cashflow has to be the key focus for some of you at the moment. Things are patchy in our region, with some businesses still up on last year and others having a tough time. Just a few thoughts on how you might approach this. I've been in tourism for 25 years and here are some ideas:
- Avoid refunding if you can. Intrepid Travel, where I worked for a long time is offering 110% credit which is helping them get people to defer instead of cancel and they're getting a lot of love on social media for this
- Value adding and packaging. Our region is super collaborative so consider working with a partner to value add rather than discount. My wife and I broke our self-imposed (and temporary) non-drinking rule last night… I'm tipping that a bottle of wine as a value add will work well right now
- Lower your cost base by either negotiating lower prices with suppliers or lowering your overheads (negotiate a temporary rent reduction or whatever)
- Innovate or diversify! Many restaurants for example are changing their model and offering takeaway or home delivery. You need to be across the rules and reg's of course but sometimes times like these end up forcing positive changes to business models
- If you can, do some marketing. Many entities are 'going dark', and while I reiterate the point about preserving cash, some people see this as an opportunity to stand out amidst the gloomy social media posts. And right now, people are still coming to the region. Inspire your audience …there's plenty of inspirational stuff around you.
Don’t forget that we have a great image library for partners to use. All you need to do is:
- Go to dmrtourism.com.au
- Enter Partner username & password
- Select ‘Image Library’ under ‘For Your Business’
- Search by image or select from ‘Image Tags’
- Select Resolution of Image you require’ than click on ‘ADD TO BASKET’. Once selected all your images, Click on Cart at the top right of the screen
- Click ‘PROCEED TO CHECKOUT’
- Check your email address is correct and Click ‘PLACE ORDER’. Now completed you can close the site
- You will receive an email from DMT website, once your image/s are ready to download
Business support packages will be announced next week (I'm told). The governments are doing 'policy on the run' at the moment, and we don't know what these packages look like, but they will be designed to assist with cashflow, whether that is cash injections or cost reduction (decreasing tax burdens etc). There has been some news in this space but expect more policy detail soon.
If you are finding things quiet, consider this as an opportune time to build from within. Businesses are getting staff to paint or do those ‘odd jobs’ that have been put off for months. It is a good time to add that list of visitors to your email database and to touch base with them via email. It’s also a good time to review your website content, social media and Google presence. If you can, install that new POS that allows for contact-free transactions or helps you to provide better service.
Finally, we are working on various pieces of marketing content at the moment. One of these is an online article on coming to the region, now. If you are offering takeaway or home delivery, or are doing anything differently to adapt to the current environment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
I'm not downplaying the seriousness of the situation, and I know some of you are in a dark place right now. It's tough and will continue to be tough. But it is not the end of the world and I hope this email has, in some way, made your day a little better. Either way, why not listen to Brian's fellow crucifee's (made up word) take on the world here.
Hang in there everyone. This will end. We’ll get through this.
Steve and the DMT Team