By Board Director Ross Muller
When I ask people visiting the Southern Highlands what they knew about the area before coming here, I often get the same responses. ‘Beautiful countryside’, ‘We love the seasons’, or ‘We’ve been here for a wedding’. Many times, they have stumbled upon us while visiting a friend or family member.
They will often say, that they were unaware of (or at least of how many) wineries, breweries, distilleries, brilliant restaurants and the variety of tourism experiences there are in our region.
People love visiting the Southern Highlands. It is, as we know, bursting with brilliant places and businesses to visit.
However, we need to ask ourselves how we can enhance and grow this brilliant tourism destination so that people return to, share with friends and most importantly, spend more with our local tourism businesses. Put simply, how do we better sell the Southern Highlands as a region to visit for work and play?
To me when I see other regional areas significantly succeeding in the visitor economy, I always note that those businesses, institutions, government, and community all work well together. Collaboration is, therefore, Key.
So, here are six suggestions on how we can create greater collaboration in the Southern Highlands:
- Design experiences with other businesses. Work together and design packaged experiences that people will rave about. People will often talk about a trip away as a single experience (made up of lots of smaller experiences).
- Talk up other businesses. It costs nothing to make suggestions and recommendations to visitors. Tell people where you think the amazing wine, coffee or pub is! People love these recommendations, particularly when they see that you are invested in them having a great time.
- Invite one another to sample each other’s products and services so that we can become each other’s advocates. It is amazing how many opportunities present themselves when people understand what your business has to offer.
- Share some costs. Deliveries, transport, staff training, or marketing. We all do so many things that could be shared with other businesses.
- Talk with each other. Invite people to our business community. We live in a region full of intelligent, highly successful people. It is amazing how many people want to help you and how much knowledge exists in our own region.
- Take time to acknowledge one another. Tells each other what we are doing well and leave reviews. Share each other’s businesses on social media. This costs nothing and is often reciprocated.
Take some time to think of the best way you could leverage your fellow local businesses. Make it part of your to do list. We’d love to hear from you and how you collaborate and support businesses in the region.