How to use an event to activate your destination brand
Ever thought to use an event to activate your destination’s brand?
Or use an event to attract visitors from the city?
When Linda was executive officer of Riverina Regional Tourism, the region’s Destination Management Plan identified the region’s unique selling proposition as agriculture. With great timing, Sydney’s Crave Festival (now Sydney Good Food Month), put out a call to NSW’s regional tourism organisations about regional events that could link in with Crave – an ideal opportunity to showcase where all that great produce being served in Sydney restaurants was coming from while activating Riverina’s brand and USP.
An ideal event management model
So Linda created Taste Riverina, a month-long region-wide festival of local-produce-related events. Taste follows one ideal festival model: having an event manager who coordinates and promotes numerous events which are run by community groups and businesses, and in this case by numerous councils as well.
Another example of this model is our client, Our Living History Festival of Goulburn, NSW. Here a couple from a community group coordinate and market a number of heritage events put on by local museums, community groups, the historical society’s tour guides, Council, National Trust, and others (hopefully local businesses in the future!).
In the region of another of our clients, Bass Coast Shire, the regional tourism organisation is growing Island Whale Festival in a similar way – coordinated and marketed by the regional tourism organisation, with numerous community groups and businesses getting on board to run a part of the festival.
To begin Taste Riverina, Linda created an event plan, and established partnerships withTAFE who promote local produce to students and whose apprentice chefs were already participating in Crave, and Regional Development Australia (Riverina), an important stakeholder in the development of agricultural tourism. RDA are active in the promotion of agriculture and provide assistance in obtaining funding for key projects and the development of networks including government, the agricultural sector and tourism. These partners connected the paddock where the food was grown and the cooks who finessed the produce for consumers’ plates.
Linda then invited Riverina Regional Tourism’s 18 local government members to create and run food- and produce-based events to be marketed together as a region-wide festival.
The regional festival leveraged off the city festival, reaching out to Crave’s festival-goers to connect them with where all Crave’s amazing food had come from and get them out into the paddocks. Taste Riverina even hosted events in Sydney.
Today Taste is a Destination NSW Flagship event - THE flagship event for the Riverina region - and has been gaining some wins with the NSW Tourism Awards. And - just announced - the festival has been so successful that the committee have decided to extend it to a year-round celebration of the region’s remarkable produce, opening the doors for seasonal events and experiences all year.
Taste is all about partnerships. We used this same model to help Goondiwindi develop its new festival, Discover Farming, which is also based on the region’s USP of agriculture: from cutting-edge high-tech broad-acre ag to boutique free-range farms. Discover Farming, in its first year, has four weekends of events over a month, from the agricultural show to farm and tech tours to a local produce meal in a field, each hosted by a different community group or business.
Take a look at Linda’s presentation to the tourism conference on using events to attract city visitors to the country.
What’s been your success story of attracting visitors from the city to the country using an event?
Or using partnerships to create an event where the workload is spread around the community?