Mackay Trade Mentoring Program - Stage 2
Following the success of the Mackay Trade Mentoring Program - Stage 1, DR Tourism worked with the team at Mackay Tourism to develop the Mackay Trade Ready Program - Stage 2.
The Stage 2 program involved taking a handful of tourism operators who had either graduated from the Stage 1 program the previous year, or were trade ready, on a tourism roadshow where operators met with key product managers and retail/front line staff from Retail Travel Agents, Online Travel Agents and Inbound Tour Operators based in Sydney and Brisbane.
All operators has the opportunity to present to a number of key decision makers and sales staff within leading travel distribution stakeholders in order to drive increased levels of business, and in several cases create new distribution agreements with trade partners.
Mackay Tourism identified that there was a significant and urgent need to address the fact that the vast majority of our tourism operators were not trade ready - not only internationally, but domestically as well. We needed to upskill and empower our industry to better sell themselves and Mackay as a destination and we subsequently engaged DR Tourism to design and implement the Mackay Trade Ready Program, stages 1 and stages 2.
The results generated through this program were strong. We were able to create a growing cluster of trade ready operators who continue to play a key role in driving higher levels of awareness for the destination, both domestically and internationally.
I would recommend DR Tourism to any business or tourism organisation looking to drive positive industry development and marketing outcomes. Their expertise, efficiency and professionalism is first class.
TAS WEBBER - GENERAL MANAGER, MACKAY TOURISM
The team at Mackay Tourism recognised that the region lacked trade ready experiences to offer. This was due to a lack of understanding surrounding the benefits and importance of working with trade partners amongst tourism operators, and Mackay has keen to address this issue in a strategic manner to increase the number of Mackay tourism products and experiences being sold and featured through trade partners on a global scale.
DR Tourism was contracted to design and implement an industry trade mentoring program that would upskill tourism operators and empower them to better sell themselves to key trade partners.
We liaised closely with Mackay Tourism and a number of Tourism Operators to develop a highly detailed, intensive, one on one and face to face mentoring program that was able to be tailored to meet the needs of the specific businesses taking part in the program. The mentoring sessions included a number of elements focused on gaining an understanding of how the trade distribution system works, how to correctly price tourism products and experiences, how to create packages, and how to effectively work with trade partners to increase occupancy and profitability.
In some instances, brand new products and experiences were developed to better meet the needs of key markets.
Key outcomes of the workshop component of the program included each of the operators gaining a far more solid understanding of the tourism trade network, the benefits of working with trade, providing the tools and skills to be able to effectively sell and pitch their own products to key trade partners, and to start building their own networks and contacts within the trade distribution network.
Some of the key highlights of the program also included:
• Each operator had the opportunity to meet with key trade partners that they are already programmed with;
• Some operators had the opportunity to meet with key trade partners that they are not currently programmed with and discussed contracting options for the next 2 financial years;
• Each operator now has a greater understanding of how to adjust both their visual and verbal presentation to suit their audience;
• A greater understanding of how each of the trade partners operate and distribute and promote products;
• An understanding of the importance of selling a destination first then their product, focusing on the key unique selling points relevant to the buyer’s target markets; and
• Each operator has walked away with an understanding of the importance of sales training and trade partner meetings to build relationships, destination and product awareness. They also now recognise the importance of continuing this type of program to ensure the momentum and further awareness of the Mackay is maintained and built upon.