Tourism operators learn to collaborate on their pitch to potential visitors Adventure Tourism Central hosts workshop to promote the idea
Adventure Central Newfoundland, the Destination Marketing Organization for the Central region of the province, is working to help local tourism operators to potentially work together and package their products for visitors in the hope of improving sales and marketing.
© Rudy Norman
Eva Gutsche presents at the Tourism Packaging Workshop in Baie Verte earlier this week, which was hosted by Adventure Central Newfoundland in hopes of increasing collaboration amongst tourism operators.
Representatives from Adventure Central hosted a Tourism Packaging Workshop in Baie Verte earlier this week to promote the idea of packaging to operators and businesses in the Green Bay and Baie Verte Peninsula areas.
Cory Foster, product development coordinator with Adventure Central, said the workshop was to show operators how packaging can benefit their business.
“At the end of the workshops they’ll have a good idea of what packaging is, and what are some potential opportunities for packaging within the whole region.”
The general idea is that local business owners would collaborate to offer ‘package’ deals for tourists.
For instance, a restaurant could collaborate with a bed and breakfast owner and a boat tour operator to offer a Sail, Eat, Stay package deal for tourists.
Adventure Central brought in Eva Gutsche with Stem Consulting of Toronto, to help teach workshop participants about the idea of package deals.
“We call Eva the packaging guru,” said Foster. “She’s worked with people all over the province to do this, and really understands what works and what doesn’t.”
The two-day workshop was designed to be both educational and practical, with the first day discussing some of the technical aspects of marketing and packaging, and the second day focused on actually developing a package to be used in real-world situations.
“They come to this workshop not knowing a whole lot about packaging, but they leave, hopefully, having a package nearly developed, available online and available to any potential tourist in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
The packages will be sold and marketed mainly on the Department of Tourism’s web site, newfoundlandlabrador.com – which sees millions of visits from tourists and potential tourists each year.
Foster says the operators who attended the session in Baie Verte are getting the added benefit of one-on-one help from experts, as well as automatic recognition for their products on the web site.
“Once they finish, and they have an idea and . . . a partial package developed, Eva will spend three hours with each individual operator to help get their package finalized. Then, as part of their fee for attending this workshop, they’re given a $250 package on newfoundlandlabrador.com.”
While many operators know their products like the back of their hands, Foster says there are a number of things they need to consider when working with mediums such as the tourism web site, because visitors there have come with certain expectations.
“The ideal package, for newfoundlandlabrador.com has to involve three items. So perhaps, one night in a hotel room, a meal, and a ticket to a dinner theatre, or to a museum, or whatever the case may be. Then all those items have to be under one price point. So if the package is $199 the person buying has to know they’re buying all three items for that price, and not just, say, the night in the hotel room.”
Sessions like this one, continues Foster, are also an opportunity for networking between operators who will hopefully join forces to produce a great package together.
“A lot of these operators are unfamiliar with each other, so its an opportunity for them to get together to learn about each other’s businesses, and to look at potential possible opportunities that are there to possibly package with one another,” he said. “So it’s not only about learning about packaging, but it’s basically also about bringing an industry within the region together.”
Jennifer Whelan with the Dorset Trail Tourism Association says that sessions like this are crucial for tourism operators to understand the importance of working together and offering products the market demands.
“Operators need to be aware of what works, and what doesn’t work, and it’s sessions like this that helps them get a grasp on that,” she said. “The tourism market is always changing, and it’s important to stay on top of it, and work together so our communities grow and stay strong.”
The ideas that came out of the Baie Verte session, says Foster, will hopefully expand throughout all Central Newfoundland among members of the tourism industry.
“We’re . . . educating the tourism stakeholders on packaging to try and get more packages available in Central Newfoundland, because a lot of tourists like that one price point,” he explained. “When they go online and start to look for a vacation and they see that they can purchase this package, this is exactly what they want to do and this is what they want to pay, then they think ‘perfect’ because they know what they’re paying and they don’t pay any more.”