• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
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2018 Vic Tourism Conference – that’s a wrap!

01 /08/ 2018 Comments are Closed

What an amazing 2018 Vic Tourism Conference!

Almost 400 delegates arrived at RACV Cape Schanck Resort ready to tee off first thing on Monday morning – and they were not disappointed.


Jesse Desjardins, Advisor, Creator and Director of fwNATION told us to think like a start up, and to have the mentality that if you’re going to do anything, why not be the Mayor? Make your business the obvious choice. Jesse explored mapping the guest experience, before, during and after the visit to ensure an outstanding experience at all touch points.

Anne Hardy from University of Tasmania and Project Lead, Tourism Tracer spoke on the Tourism Tracer program in Tasmania. With visitors downloading the app, the team can track their journey, giving accurate data on where visitors go in real time. This data can be used to influence destination marketing and improve the visitor experience. VTIC members are eligible for a 10 per cent discount to access this technology with Tourism Research Technology.

Visit Victoria’s CEO Peter Bingeman and Head of Marketing Shae Keenan shed light on their new Your Happy Space campaign, specifically targeted to encourage Melburnians to take the time to get out and explore regional Victoria. With improved infrastructure and awareness of the great things we have homegrown in our own state, it is Visit Victoria’s aim to redress the concerning statistic that only 53 per cent of Victorians have made regional visits within their own state.

Visual content captures your attention more than words and today’s travellers are visual decision makers. That was the message from Mark Mezzapelli, Vice-President Business and Partnerships at Canadian company CrowdRiff.

Lisa Patroni, Executive Director Marketing at Parks Victoria spoke on Parks Victoria’s immersive experiences with volunteerism, accessibility and unique experiences high on the agenda. Lisa shared the emerging markets utilising our parks and where the opportunities lie for industry.

2017 Lynette Bergin Tourism Award winner, Pete Wallace, Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Searoad Ferries shared his year of learnings undertaking research into virtual reality (VR). Pete highlighted how VR can enhance the customer experience, and will be providing a toolkit applicable to all tourism businesses, available soon.

Delegates had the choice to attend two out of four workshops in the afternoon break-out sessions. Charles Davidson (Peninsula Hot Springs), Jodie Vogt (Phillip Island Hot Springs) and Gene Seabrook (Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs– Warrnambool) spoke on the hot springs sector’s ability to drive economic returns for Victoria’s regions.

Nick Heath of Pace Advertising, Marketing and PR took delegates through turning mobile tourists into paying customers, and Sue and Greg O’Donoghue, owners of Green Olive at Red Hill shared their story.

Josh Pelham, Executive Chef at RACV Cape Schanck Resort treated a lucky group of delegates to tastings of local produce in the Resort’s kitchen, sharing the food philosophy behind the new property.

Melanie de Souza, General Manager of Digital Marketing and Services at Visit Victoria highlighted the tourism potential of new Melburnians. More than three times as many Victorians were born in China and India compared to a decade ago, with just 40 per cent of those having travelled to regional Victoria. There’s enormous opportunities to grow this area of the market by targeting not just visitors, but also family members or friends who act as “hosts”.

Michael Cassel, Executive Producer of the Australian Premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child teased delegates with some hints on what audiences will experience in the ground breaking Southern Hemisphere premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne in early 2019. As a global leader in live entertainment, Melbourne was always in the creators’ sights to host. With musicals proving some of the most successful pieces of entertainment recorded, the event will bring a huge boom to Melbourne’s visitor economy.

Thank you to St Andrews Beach Brewery for hosting us on Monday evening allowing delegates to kick back with pizza and beer after a big day one.


Sponsored by leading tourism, events and hospitality education provider, Victoria University, dinner was a celebration of the young guns entering the industry.
Eliza Jones of Victoria University was named the recipient of the 2018 Todd Blake Student Award, presented by Kirsty Blake, and Matt Sykes of Peninsula Hot Springs was awarded the 2018 Lynette Bergin Tourism Award presented by Kevin Shinners. Matt took the audience through a journey of what he will be studying over the next year- transformational travel.


The Dundee phenomenon that swept the world earlier this year – and had everyone in the US intrigued – could easily be Australia’s greatest ever tourism campaign. John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia, revealed it was the #1 campaign during America’s popular Super Bowl game day, attracting more than 200 million views. He also predicted that the US, China and Indian markets will be key drivers in growing the tourism industry not just beyond 2020, but towards 2030. Tourism Australia has a target of growing the industry to $181 billion and more than 15 million visitors annually by 2030 and Victoria will play a key role in achieving that.

With five generations now traveling simultaneously for the first time in history, Carolyn Childs, Co-Founder, Mytravelresearch.com, explained how this will affect travel trends and how we need to adjust our perceptions as these generations age. Baby boomers have disrupted every aspect of their lifecycle and travel will be no different as they become senior travellers. Millennials are shifting to become parents and business travellers, bringing different needs and expectations to these segments. Carolyn emphasised the rise of experiential travel and encouraged delegates to embrace shiny new technology as the beginning of shining for the industry.

Influencers are becoming the biggest market in social media, says Carolyn Miller, Founder of The Honeycomb Effect. The landscape of social media is rapidly changing. But the one constant is that content is – and will always be – king. Anyone can be an influencer for your business or brand and social media followers value and trust people they know rather than celebrities. As an influencer on social media you have a more personal connection with people through your content and it’s more likely to have engagement.

Martin Enault, Asia Pacific CEO, C2 Melbourne geared up delegates for an afternoon of C2 activity. Martin spoke on embracing disruption and the importance of creativity and learning new skills.

Delegates then took part in four ‘labs’ in the afternoon, creating valuable discussion and connection across the group. Martin highlighted the key learnings from the afternoon being:
1. Look at different industries for learnings
2. Embrace diversity in tourism and adapt offerings based on who the customer is
3. Work together to give an amazing end to end experience for visitors
4. Do one good thing for society. The more good you do for your community and society, the better your business.

The winners of the VTIC’s inaugural Student Entrepreneurial Award were announced at the conclusion of the conference. Congratulations to Holmesglen Institute’s Natalie, Eric and Tai for their winning idea Cella Convivia. The students’ were awarded $10,000 prize money.

Thank you to Dean, Jade, Rhiann and the team at RACV Cape Schanck Resort for their hospitality and spectacular venue, MC Adrian Byrt, and all of the 2018 Vic Tourism Conference Principal, Program, Dinner, Supporting and Trade partners. Thank you to our outstanding speakers, the VTIC and Victorian Chamber teams and all who attended this year’s conference.

All speaker presentations are now available on the Vic Tourism Conference website.



About the Author


The peak body for Victoria's tourism and events industry, VTIC represents key industry associations and operators, with over 2,000 members.


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