Quick update from DMT:
Firstly…WAHOOO!!! We’re open baby!!! OK, only region to region but it still feels great.
We’ve been pushing for greater clarity around what the easing of restrictions means. No doubt you’ve found these links yourself, but if not, they’re handy:
Accommodation restart guidelines. As I see it, basically if you have ten rooms, you can sell each room to people outside lockdown areas, who are living under the same roof or in a relationship. If you’re facing a ‘grey area’ I’d advise using common sense and if you’re worried call me on tel:0419 574 813. PLEASE make sure you have your covid plan in place that looks after your guests with cleaning and distancing protocols, and staff with H&S protocols at state govt.
Hospitality restart guidelines are in this link. While there are relatively clear guidelines now (fortunately), again call me if you need clarity, and I’ll call one of my contacts.
I also wanted to update you on what’s been going on behind the scenes:
Regional travel marketing:
We are rolling out a paid social media campaign primarily targeting the north of the state, along with the coastal areas (keeping an eye on the Geelong corridor, as this may not free up as quickly given Colac, etc). We are primarily targeting females pre-kids (the mid-20s to mid-30s) and also females 50-65 in key demographics/psychographic groups, in regional cities. We’re showcasing our key brand attributes which happen to align nicely with what the research shows that people are seeking: nature, wellness, food and drink…plus of course our amazing accommodation options) and showcasing ‘product’ so that it’s not just about the brand, it’s also about conversion…i.e. bookings This is on top of the organic social media and content work that has been going on to date of course.
Small/Micro business support:
With regard to small/micro businesses, I, along with other RTB CEOs and Chairs, put this issue directly to state govt (senior bureaucrats and even the Minister) in a teleconference last week. I had hoped that Sunday’s announcement would offer a lifeline to those who ‘fall through the cracks’ but it didn’t give many of you what you were hoping. We will not give up.
Other lobbying efforts:
Sectoral opening plans, job keeper extension, etc. are ongoing. I’m banging on about it to key people, trust me. I want you all to know that your voices are being heard at high levels, whether it be the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Visit Victoria, or Regional Development Victoria.
Accommodation refund scheme:
Totally feel your sense of disappointment regarding the accommodation refund scheme, and I am sorry that our lobbying efforts did not achieve for the results we wanted. Many were confused by the wording of the scheme and it did not deliver what business owners had anticipated. Rest assured, we sought expansion (after seeking greater clarity) and will continue to do so.
Outdoor dining – being innovative:
We have met with both Hepburn and Macedon Ranges Councils to discuss outdoor dining options, and they were productive discussions (feeding in ideas raised by some of you), amongst others. The teams at the Councils are working on options, and you’ll have seen govt’s financial support for these initiatives announced Sunday and yesterday…watch this space. Some good ideas are being reviewed, parking, permits etc…all outside my remit of course but I’m confident they’re doing what they can. It was a good discussion.
We will not stop fighting. Our region is packed with brilliant, hard-working, and innovative operators, and I speak with many of you often. Ultimately it is YOU that visitors are coming to see, so it is my job to support you and promote you to our huge marketing lists. Interestingly, DMT might be a relatively small RTB, but we have the biggest email database of any RTB in Victoria and pretty close to the biggest social media reach (thanks to my team).
Take comfort with one thing: as things start to open up, we will bounce back hard and fast. We have a fantastic brand, great product, and an effective marketing machine.
We are working our arses off here at DMT. I report to an amazing Board who works really hard, outside hours (and voluntarily I might add) and they have provided me with a lot of support. These guys are very much ‘behind the scenes’, and we have a mix of skill-based, industry, and Council representation. They are great.
In the meantime, we’ll keep pushing and pushing.
Steve and the DMT Team