How well do you know your place? Are you cheering for your hometown? If you’re not, it’s time to pick up those pom poms and get dancing.

Let’s talk about the importance of becoming an advocate for your own region.

Make discoveries in your own backyard

Put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Become a traveller yourself – in your own backyard. VIC’s have the opportunity to become destinations for visiting family and friends of the locals.

VIC’s can become the place, where locals can showcase the uniqueness of the region to family and friends both via experiences and product.

Ask yourself this. Why can’t the VIC be one of the first starting points when a resident is introducing a friend or relative to the region?

This reinforces the positioning of the VIC as the passionate and informed experts within their own region. Let’s take greater advantage of it.

 

Use local talent too. Celebrate local events.

VIC’s of the future will create hands-on experiences for the guest to interact with regional producers and suppliers. To feel the story, the history, the heritage and the vision.

Guests will want something that is unique and quality – a product or experience that generates emotions and memories, well after the holiday is over.

The VIC will become a catalyst and a beacon for bringing industry together so both locals, intrastate, interstate and international guests can benefit. VIC’s will become destinations of unique gifts for locals. This is a largely untapped market and one the VIC can utilise in the future while benefitting the producers, artisans of the region.

So, what do you think of this all so far? Again, this entire framework is designed to arm you with strategies you can apply to your own VIC to remain relevant and productive. You can use this across the tourism industry as a whole, like we’ve said before. The same principles apply.

Next up, we’re talking about the inside of your VIC. Stay tuned for the release next Friday!

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Photo credit: Steve Rosa, Manager of Southern Highlands Welcome Centre.

Welcome back to part two of our five-part framework. At the end of this, you’re going to have all these strategies you can apply to your own VIC to stay relevant and progressive. This framework can be used across the board, for the tourism industry in its entirety.

Let’s chat about language.

As mentioned last week that information, in the traditional sense alone, won’t be enough to drive people into your centre. It needs to be conveyed in a meaningful way.

Speak their language.

The communications you use to connect with your visitors are critical. Changing the language, both internally and externally within your centre, will be your vehicle to shift perceptions and mindsets.

As the type of visitor is changing, it’s important the language utilised on signage and in verbal communication reflects these changes. Avoid the term souvenir, as it it’s somewhat antiquated and outdated.

Souvenir can imply cheap, throw away and usually imported goods. Often these are inexpensive items you buy for other people, rather than an investment in something unique for yourself.

All verbal and written communication needs to create a certain perception and emotion within the mind of the visitor. This means using words such as unique, gifts, and experiences need to be utilised to a greater degree.

 

Rethink your name.

Don’t be afraid to change the VIC’s name, in order to evolve and remain timely.

Consider the following as we move into 2017:

  • Visitor Discovery Hub
  • Regional Exploration Hub
  • Regional Discovery Centre.

It’s important that you see tourists as guests. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What do you do to make your customer feel like a guest within the VIC space?
  2. Treat the visitor like a guest in your own home. What would you do different and what would you need to do more of?

When you think of people as guests and not tourists you will create a more intimate, caring and personal environment in which to interact. Guests require a greater level of attention and focus. Tourist is a somewhat generic and impersonal term.

VIC’s will need to start becoming more creative with its language, in order to evolve the perception of its offerings to guests of the future. Over the next few years, you’ll see an evolution of the language used within the VIC’s and a re-framing of how tourists are seen and serviced. Embrace this and get on board early!

Stay comfortable on your seats, ready for next week. We’re talking about advocating for your own region, by discovering your own backyard. It’s going to be a fun session. 

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Part three is on its way!

First up in our five-part framework to help your VIC stay relevant and meaningful to guests in the future is focusing what’s on the outside.

So, let’s begin.

It starts from the outside.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. We’re taught not to, but we do it, without even thinking. The same goes for your VIC. Encourage visitors to stop and come in by improving what it looks like outside. This will help create impact from the first point of contact.

External signage in the future will work much harder to create greater incentive for people to actually stop and visit the VIC. Every day the current consumer is exposed to thousands of verbal and nonverbal messages.

External walls and features will need to compete in the visitor’s mind, which will require and demand the following:

  • Smart, imaginative and creative signage externally to generate a sense of interest and exploration within the tourist even before entering the space.
  • Impactful signage that really expresses the region’s points of difference and key offerings.

 

It won’t be all about the “I”

To just rely on the international “I” sign is not enough to make people stop. Driving foot traffic into your centre requires more than the “I”. Many visitors don’t even know what this actually “I” refers to. Younger guests for example, wouldn’t understand the meaning of the “I” – so the benefit or value is lost in translation.

Information is an important part of the VIC story – but it is not the full story. Information in the traditional sense alone won’t be enough to drive people into centre and not unless it’s conveyed in a style and manner that is meaningful and relevant. We’ll talk more about language next week, and why it’s important to change it up to humanise it.

This framework is designed to give you the best opportunity to meet expectations around tourism revenue in the coming four to five years. The strategies we discuss can be utilised across the entire tourism industry, not just in the VIC sector.

Stay tuned for next week for part 2 of the framework. Language is one of our favourite topics.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Visitor information centres (VICs), especially in the tourism sector, are vital to a destination. Yet, their futures hang in the balance, unless change happens.

This change needs to happen at two levels:

  1. The individual VIC; and
  2. The overall network.

It’s not just about evolving the current VIC service delivery model, but creating a space and environment which is the missing link for improved economic development.

There’s a need for greater sustainability, which will require reviewing, challenging and evolving not only how you do business, but the type of physical VIC environments you create – and how you develop your staff and volunteers.

 

Revolutionising the outdated VIC model

A VIC isn’t about volunteers handing out brochures. VICs need to be the vital starting point of discovering and exploring within a region. Ultimately, if executed correctly, VICs will play a pivotal role in building economic development within Australia – through greater contribution to the visitor economy.

If developed in a more creative and entrepreneurial way, VICs have the power to become a crucial link, building greater relationships and connections between regional suppliers, artisans and producers. This will have a positive impact on the bottom line.

There are key must dos for VICs in order to stay relevant and meaningful to guests in the future – and create the best opportunity to meet expectations around tourism revenue in the coming four to five years.

But how can we do this? Follow our five-part framework to help your VIC survive and prosper – an evolution of the tourism sector.

 

The five-part framework for the VIC

Every fortnight, we’ll bring you an insight into re-creating your VIC for future success. The five stages will be broken down into these categories:

  1. What’s on the outside matters: Getting visitors to stop and come in, with signage strategies etc.
  2. Changing the language: Why it’s important to humanise it.
  3.  Discovering your own backyard: Becoming an advocate for your own region.
  4. The inside: The product mix, stimulating the senses, storytelling etc.
  5. Utilising IT: How we can better connect with our visitors, using technology. The role of the future VIC is multidimensional. This step-by-step framework is designed to ensure your VIC adapts alongside the needs and expectations of the visitor.

The Southern Highlands Welcome Centre is a prime example of a revolutionised VIC. You can see just how dynamic the centre is, from the photos in this post.

It’s also important to note that the elements that make the VIC of now and the future are also relevant to all areas of tourism. So, these strategies can be applied to more than just the VIC.

Before we go, a little bit about us…

Kiikstart creates and facilitates a wide range of learning experiences that generate smart employment, career and business opportunities – with people and organisations who are wanting to re-invent themselves.

We provide our learning and development experiences so people can have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn – now and in the future.

If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Virtual Scholar

Kiikstart is excited to announce that people regardless of where they live and how they live can now access this creative and entrepreneurial learning experience via virtual scholar.

Ali Uren, Founder and Director of Kiikstart has introduced Virtual Scholar so people can benefit from using Skype how and when they want.

Recognising the need and opportunity to provide more choice to people, this real time, virtual experience is designed for the following people:

  • Those in remote locations that cannot meet physically with Kiikstart. This includes people in regional SA, interstate and overseas.
  • People who are working full time or unusual hours and cannot access professional services during normal business hours.
  • Students who have limited time but are still wanting to make changes to how they live and work.

Still working face to face with the benefit of Skype, people in more remote locations can gain the skills, talents, networks and knowledge needed to re-set and build new opportunities in a competitive market.

Virtual Scholar will use a variety of communications to ensure this experience is personal and provides maximum value for money.

Skype and the ability to still work face to face will prove invaluable to both Kiikstart and the customer in creating individual, handmade learning and development.

Kiikstart-careerone

How can you give yourself the best chance to find the right role and thrive? 

Kiikstart has recently written an article for CareerOne that refers to the key lessons people having experienced injury and set back need to keep top of mind to really re-invent in a competitive market.

Having worked successfully with in excess of 1600 South Australians, this article shares the most valuable insights so people can begin to take charge of their future, and make better decisions so they increase the chances of finding not only the right role, but the right employer.

We would welcome your comments and feedback when you have had the chance to read the full article here.

 

Kiikstart-brand

Kiikstart is excited to announce that it has taken the plunge and has gotten a facelift. The first one since the business started in early 2008, there is rejuvenation across each part of the brand, plus some other exciting developments due to occur in the not too distant future.

Working closely with David White of White Design, the new look reflects the personality and points of difference that underline the brand to a greater degree. Ultimately Kiikstart is on a quest to ensure that its people are anything but beige so it was vital our own identity and brand reflected this. We have put our brain space and energy into creating something that is exciting, a bit out there and is sure to last at least another eight years!

Keep an eye out for other communications which will hit the market soon.