Case Study

The Whitsundays Trade Mentoring Program

DR Tourism works in partnership with Tourism Whisundays on a range of industry development initiatives that are trade focused. In the 2018/19 financial year, we worked with them on our 'stage 1' mentoring program, as well as an additional mentoring program focused on skilling operators in time for the Whitsundays East Coast Roadshow.


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Tourism Whitsundays began working with the DR Tourism team in the 2018/19 financial year on several trade focused industry development initiatives. Firstly, DR Tourism worked with us to mentor several new operators to get them to a trade ready standard, secondly they worked with several operators to prepare them for our annual Whitsundays East Coast Roadshow, and lastly, they worked with mentees to prepare a series of high quality, trade focused videos to use as a key selling tool with domestic and international trade partners.

DR Tourism also delivered a series of trade workshops in the Whitsundays for the benefit of operators.

Working with Robbie and Danielle on these initiatives has been a pleasure. The programs have all demonstrated excellent, tangible results and outcomes, and the feedback from participants of the various programs and workshops has been superb.

We look forward to continuing our working relationship with the DR Tourism team and I would highly recommend their services to others looking for strong industry development outcomes.


Our Challenge

Distribution channels such as wholesalers, Inbound Tour Operators, Retail Travel Agents and Online Travel Agents are critical to the success of tourism operators.  There is however often a lack of understanding on the importance of working with these distribution partners and a lack of knowledge of where to start amongst tourism operators.  Our challenge was to design and implement an intensive, tailored one on one mentoring program across a 5-month period to educate tourism operators and get them ‘trade ready’ for not only their own benefit, but for the benefit of the wider region.

The Process

We liaised closely with Tourism Whitsundays and a number of Tourism Operators to develop a highly detailed, intensive and face to face mentoring program that included a group workshop and 2 one on one mentoring sessions for each participant.  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. Some operators also had the oppportunity to meet with key trade partners that they were already programmed with.


The Outcome

Key outcomes of the program included each mentee gaining a far more solid understanding of the tourism trade network, the benefits of working with trade, and ensuring that each mentee has a correctly priced, suitable product offering to distribute through domestic and international trade partners. Each of the 'graduates' of this program also received a high quality 'Trade Ready' video to assist them in further promoting their businesses with key trade partners on a domestic and international scale.

Other specific outcomes of the program included:

  • All mentees now have access to an online booking system, featuring live availability;
  • All mentees have reviewed and updated product information and images on the Australia Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW);
  • Each mentee has clearly defined each of the product offerings and their target markets;
  • DR Tourism worked with each mentee to review their rate structures, and to ensure that they had correctly structured seasonal and commissionable pricing to cater for trade distribution;
  • DR Tourism worked with each mentee to define their unique selling points and develop strategies to leverage Whitsundays branding and messaging;
  • DR Tourism provided mentees with information on available grant funding suitable for the future development and growth of their business; and
  • Mentees have gained additional awareness and exposure for their businesses through contracts established with key Wholesale, Inbound Tour Operator and Online trade partners.
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