Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Digital Marketing Mentoring Program
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) secured funding in 2015/2016 the aim of upskilling industry members in digital marketing
TTNQ’s objective was to increase the capability of tourism operators in their region, in addition to engaging their local Industry to contribute to the marketing efforts undertaken by their Organisation and better build and tell the Tourism Tropical North Queensland story to potential visitors.
Content Marketing had been identified by the Organisation as a key tactic which required further development within the industry, in the spaces of Storytelling, Social Media and Website Marketing.
Any training opportunity had to cater for the geographically dispersed members in the Tropical North Queensland region (including the wider Cairns region, Daintree, Cooktown, Cape Tribulation, Cape York, Charter’s Towers and Innisfaill), who wouldn’t be able to take time away from their businesses regularly to attend face to face training in a central location.
After reviewing the brief, we developed a tailored a Digital Marketing Mentoring Program that aligned with TTNQ’s budget and timeframes.
The aim of the Mentoring Program was to build the capacity of the participants, so they could confidently develop and implement a content marketing strategy that would help grow brand awareness, consideration and sales, as well support the destination marketing efforts of TTNQ.
The Program consisted of 4 Training Modules to be delivered over a 4 week period, with the Modules being facilitated in person and online, which allowed the regionally dispersed operators to attend easily.
We worked closely with the team at TTNQ to refine the training topics covered in the 4 Modules to ensure key skill gaps were addressed.
TTNQ charged each participant a nominal amount to join the Program to encourage ownership and engagement.
The four learning Modules covered in the Program were
- Tourism Marketing Trends and Strategy and Website + Content Marketing Strategy
- Social Media Strategy
- Social Media Optimisation
- Customer Advocacy and Online Reputation Management
We developed the program graphic and promotional flyer which communicated the details of the Program and was used by TTNQ to promote the program. TTNQ managed the promotion and collection of RSVP’s.
84 businesses were represented from all sectors of the industry, including accommodation, attractions, events, tour operators, local government, restaurants, hire, marketing agencies and retail.
- The first module was facilitated via a in-destination workshop in Cairns CBD.
- This allowed us to meet the participants in the Program and also get to know their businesses better – a critical part which paid dividends as the Program progressed.
- We facilitated a 2.5 hour workshop twice in one day, which allowed operators to join at a time that suited them (morning/afternoon).
- The remaining 3 Modules were delivered via an interactive 1 hour live online webinars for 3 weeks following live workshop.
- The webinars were recorded, so those participants who couldn’t attend live could watch the replay.
- A few participants were based in remote areas with poor internet coverage and were mailed a copy of the webinar replays on USB.
- Bespoke learning materials (workbooks, templates and Content Marketing toolkit) were created and supplied to support the key learnings in the webinars. Each Module consisted of a set of Tasks, which combined together, assisted the participants to create a flexible content marketing strategy for their business.
- All learning materials (including recorded live webinar) were made available to participants within 24 hours after the Live Webinar was facilitated.
- Local tourism business case studies were used throughout the webinars, making the learning materials as relevant as possible for the participants
- A private Facebook Group was used to further engage participants and enable them to ask and receive support during the 4 weeks of the Program, and then a further 2 weeks after the final webinar.
- The Facebook Group was then handed over to TTNQ to continue the engagement with the Participants.
Immediate results were reported within a month of the Program completion. Some of the positive results included:
- Excitement and enthusiasm from their new learnings – many participants reporting in the Facebook Group they couldn’t wait to get started on their homework (see comments below!).
- Immediate increase in organic reach and engagement of participant’s social media updates, with the re-alignment of their content to make it more relevant to their Ideal Customers.
- Increase in operators sharing quality photos and videos using TTNQ’s hashtag #ExploreTNQ, which TTNQ curate for their social media platforms
- Optimisation of existing social media accounts and set up of new relevant social media accounts, such as Google My Business for business.
- Set up of of a blog section on websites to grow organic search referrals and customer engagement. Many reported increased understanding of what content topics to share online for best engagement with Ideal Customers.
- Participants reported increased confidence in setting up their own User Generated Content strategy to support their social media marketing.
- Increase in the implementation of a customer advocacy program, which included adjusting their product experience to deliver a better overall customer experience and tactics to encourage more online advocacy from their customers through TripAdvisor & social media.
- Participants reported that they will be able to better manage their brand online, specifically reducing negative social media feedback, and turning social complainers into social advocates.
As the peak regional visitor destination marketing organisation and Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) for Tropical North Queensland, TTNQ has the largest geographical coverage in Queensland, covering 20% of the total state.
With such a diverse region, it was important for us to design a flexible training program which allowed tourism operators to participate from their remote locations. We also wanted to deliver a powerful program while ensuring participants remained engaged and accountable. Navigating the various skill levels of our industry was also a challenge as we were only able to deliver one program.
Tourism eSchool worked with us to achieve our objectives and we believe that the program offered a robust selection of learnings to upskill the digital capabilities of our industry. The feedback we have received confirms that the content was relevant and offered practical solutions for them to follow. We’ve already seen a 16% increase in engagement from established operators’ social media accounts in the month following the completion of the program.
I would highly recommend Tourism eSchool to any destination or economic development organisation looking to design flexible programs for their industry.
I enjoyed the first face to face workshop, and the subsequent webinars were a great environment to learn even more and chat during the presentations with Rebecca and Paige. The information and tools provided throughout the course completely exceeded my expectations. The content was easy to understand and it will be simple for me to apply the knowledge and skills learnt in the program to our business. I can't wait to implement the new ideas gained during my time with Tourism eSchool.
Paige and Rebecca are fantastic educators. Webinars and training sessions can be horribly boring but the presentations from Tourism eSchool were the complete opposite! I loved that they used examples of local businesses from Cairns (including CaPTA!), as well as others around the country - it makes the content seem more 'real' because you can see other people's success in following their tips and ideas!
They were so helpful and happy to answer any questions which arose, with open channels of communication between webinars via the private Facebook group
We have learned so much from undertaking the Tourism Tropical North Queensland Digital Mentoring Program, and are already seeing results of new strategies we have implemented following the seminar. Paige and Rebecca were so knowledgeable about the digital space. They were so helpful and happy to answer any questions which arose, with open channels of communication between webinars via the private Facebook group. I would definitely recommend joining one of their Mentoring Programs if you get the chance.
Since the training we've turned one of our nay-sayers into a regular customer! Proof that what you taught us works!!
As a result of joining the Mentoring Program, we have changed how we handle online complaints through social media. Previously we had deleted negative posts on social media, especially on our Facebook Advertisements, as we had a lot of negative local comments from people who hadn’t ever been a customer. Using the training material I was able to change the trend and we started replying and changing peoples perspectives. The engagement not only increased interaction and the number of views on our posts but also turned one of our nay-sayers into a now regular within the business! Proof that what you taught us works!!
Both reach and engagement across our social media platforms have increased dramatically since undertaking the program
The TTNQ Mentoring Program has been very beneficial for our business. Whilst I had a basic understanding of Social Media marketing, the program has given me the tools and resources needed to better manage this as a tourism operator. Both reach and engagement across our social media platforms have increased dramatically since undertaking the program. Both Paige and Rebecca gave excellent insight into the industry and I have since been able to put some planning in place for the next financial year.
The Tourism eSchool Mentoring Program with Rebecca and Paige was interesting and insightful. We were able to implement actions straight away that resulted in immediate increase in engagement and reach on our Social Media platforms.
Are you ready to invest in a training program for your industry?
If you would like to learn if we could help you with a similar training program for Tourism Operators in your Region, then we would be delighted to hear from you, so please contact us and we will be in touch as soon as possible!