Do not miss this: TEQ's Best of Queensland Experiences Program
Tourism and Events Queensland is doing something incredibly smart that every Queensland tourism operator and event should jump on board with – now as the first requirement must be done by 13 November.
Basically, TEQ has created a way to identify Queensland’s best tourism experiences which they will feature in Queensland promotions, website listings and for media familiarisations to drive increased visitation to Queensland. If you strive to do the best you can to offer an amazing experience, you will be rewarded via this initiative!
Here are the details from the horse's mouth: www.teq.queensland.com/experiences/best-of-queensland-experiences or read on for our summary:
The Best of Queensland Experiences program sets a GOAL for the whole industry – to offer exceptional experiences and encourage guests to write reviews.
The foundation of the program is consistent delivery of an exceptional experience and having an active and engaging social media presence (which of course, impacts the bottom line positively!).
How to be included in the the Best of Queensland Experiences program
To be included as one of the Best of Queensland, your business must be listed on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) by 13 November and score 80 points from these criteria:
60 points: Consistent delivery of an exceptional experience, determined by positive guest reviews
15 points: Website with secure online booking platform
15 points: Active and engaging social media presence
5 points: Regional Tourism Organisation membership
5 points: Accreditation
As you can see, this score is heavily consumer-driven, based on receiving consistently excellent consumer reviews. TEQ has engaged ReviewPro to provide a score based on reviews from 175 review websites. The information from reviews on all sites is collated and provides a Global Review Index™ (GRI) score out of 100 based on a combined measure of consumer star ratings from online review platforms such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Facebook, Google and popular Asian review sites such as Mafengwo and Zhuna. A minimum GRI score of 80 must be achieved to meet this criterium.
Operators with a listing on ATDW by 13 November will be given a report of their business including the GRI score, details on reviews and management response information. ReviewPro analyses semantics, i.e. words with a positive or negative connotation, to provide feedback. For example, your guests might frequently comment on cleanliness at your property, and ReviewPro will provide this information, helping you to identify issues you can work on.
An ATDW listing is essential
If you don’t have a listing on ATDW by 13 November, the next chance to be assessed is not for another six months!
It is FREE to list an event on ATDW.
For other tourism operators, the annual rolling fee is $200 (GST included).
A $50 discount is offered for members of:
- your Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO)
- a Local Tourism Organisation (LTO) affiliated with an RTO
- Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), or
- a QTIC Association Council
TEQ’s presentation on the Best of Queensland Experiences program
The following presentation gives an overview of the consumer-driven program (16 minutes)
Great Keppel Island Hideaway and Capricorn Enterprise share how the Hideaway worked to provide exceptional experiences for their guests with renovation/refurbishment/maintenance, working closely with the RTO, online bookings, social media including live video and hashtags like #seeaustralia #thisisqueensland and the regional hashtag, a social media content plan, partnering with attractions, and offering what consumers are demanding. (5 minutes)
Lastly, don't be afraid of this program. If you miss out on being one of the first operators chosen in January 2018 as the best of Queensland experiences, TEQ will give you tips and work with you to help you make it over the following six months for reassessment May/June 2018. The program and operators will be reassessed every year after that.
Checklist for operators for the Best of Queensland Experiences program
Use this checklist to do get ready for the TEQ business assessments which start in November. Remember you don't need all of these - just 80 points worth.
ο Get listed on ATDW
Create or update your Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) listing by 13 November using the ATDW tutorial for creating the best listing. The website for creating your listing is very user-friendly. You will need your ABN and at least one high-resolution photo at least 2048 x 1536 pixels and not larger than 10MB (ATDW also have tips on taking great photos.).
ο Leverage review sites
Identify the review sites most relevant for your business, such as Yelp for restaurants, TripAdvisor for accommodations and attractions. Research and apply how to best make use of their sites (e.g. www.tripadvisor.com.au/Owners). (About half of reviews in Australia are written on TripAdvisor.)
ο Ask for reviews
The program requires at least 25 reviews for the last 12 months, so start constantly asking your guests for reviews – with links on your website and social media, in your thank you emails after check out, in your email newsletter, with business cards at reception and in-room, personally (receptionists and tour guides, for example), with signage, and in social media posts, for example. Here are some more suggestions on how to ask your guests for reviews. TripAdvisor also has free stickers, business cards and other promotional items for you to order and use!
ο Provide excellent customer service
Set goals and rewards for your staff to provide excellent service and to request reviews from guests. Provide GUEST training. TEQ has tips on customer service to help you.
ο Post on social media five times every week
You meet this criteria by meeting two of the following: consistency in posting, frequency of posting, and high engagement on your posts (details here), so a simple way to meet this criteria is to start posting 5 posts a week every week from today on either or both Facebook and Instagram. Optimise your social media engagement with high-quality content and regular engaging on relevant pages and with relevant hashtags. It is not enough to have a reactive and spontaneous approach to social media. A strategic approach with a content calendar planned to drive activity will make this easy for you. Download our free in-depth tutorials from our home page, including a simple content calendar template: Social Media for Events and Content Marketing for Destinations.
ο Join your RTO
Join your Regional Tourism Organisation
ο Get online booking capability
Organise secure online booking for your product, if at all possible
ο Get accredited
Get accredited through an approved QTIC certification process. This is a big job but it is all business planning, so it will be of enormous help to you.
ο Provide exceptional experiences
Ensure you are providing exceptional experiences. Map your customer’s journey – who they are, how they research holidays, how they book, communications prior to arrival, how they travel, what they experience from check in to check out – service/amenties/tourism experiences/food/recommendations of things to do, communications after check out including regular newsletters, social media engagement, etc. Look at every touchpoint guests are having with your business and see what you can do to improve your guests’ experience at each – to make it easier, seamless, more enjoyable. As part of this, review your website, images and content. Use your analytics to identify what’s working and what needs improving. If you don’t already, start writing regular informative and entertaining blog posts that help your guests (and improve your SEO!). Brainstorm ideas for articles with your staff, and include this in your content plan calendar.
ο Learn about the Best of Queensland Experiences program
Ensure you attend a forum where TEQ will explain Best of Queensland Experiences program, along with ReviewPro, TripAdvisor and Digital Coaching International. And read more about the program.
We'd also suggest to:
ο Partner up
Partner with other tourism operators and your RTO – ask for help, and recommend each other. Encourage your partners to provide excellent experiences for your guests as they can affect your guests' reviews.
ο Keep learning skills
Take advantage of free learnings for tourism operators – webinars, face to face workshops or online tutorials – such as from your RTO and TEQ (and even other state tourism organisations’ websites)
Small Business Digital Grants Funding
Currently there is a round of Small Business Digital Grants open - a perfect opportunity to get financial support for your digital upgrade – essentially a 50% discount!
The grant is to enhance digital capabilities such as website optimisation, receiving online payments or creating a social media plan.
The grant provides between $1,000 and $10,000 in matched funding to Queensland businesses with fewer than 20 employees and less than $2 million in turnover in the last financial year.
Grant applications close 24 October.
'Best of Queensland Experiences' Package
We have created a digital review package to support your work to be one of Queensland's best experiences, including:
• Digital marketing consultation
• Digital review including website, online booking system, social media platforms and guest reviews providing strong recommendations for enhancements
• Update and optimise ATDW listing, TripAdvisor, Facebook and Instagram based on digital review
• A 12-month social media content calendar of five posts per week to increase engagement, and including a recommended list of the top 20 social media channels and hashtags for your business to engage with.
• Mentoring and support in the implementation of the content calendar, to ensure you are confident on social media (ongoing for 3 months)
We are also happy to provide any of these services individually.
Contact Kushla Gale at email@example.com or 0490 489 330 for further information and price.
You can download the following FREE tutorials we have created to help you from our homepage:
• Social Media for Events
• Digital Marketing Toolkit
• Increase your Online Bookings
• Tilma's TripAdvisor Tips