I attended a Victorian Tourism Industry Council conference a couple of years ago.
The schedule of presenters was almost full of the normal local councilors (that if we actually wanted to know what they were up to or had achieved we would be reading their press releases or latest tweets), and so-called experts in tourism and tourism marketing.
And then there were a few business owners from the local region that were presenting in breakout sessions during the day.
I must say, apart from one of the ‘tourism marketing experts’ who just seemed to be doing his best to sell his own business and tell us all about how awesome he was, delivering arguably very little value for the many businesses in the room, the majority of the speakers were engaging and insightful.
However, I have two gripes with this expert loaded approach to a conference line up;
- so many experts are completely overrated and fail to deliver at the right level, and with value in mind for the majority of the industry audience
- the doers are the industry in the room, and they know a lot more about running tourism businesses than we all give them credit for
For me, the best session of the two days was with one of the business operators.
A husband and wife team that seemed humbled by the audience that had gathered, out of choice, for their break out session.
They were honest, all they did was tell stories, and they were real.
Not ‘real’ like ‘authentic to themselves’… another meaningless term that gets tossed around too much.
They were just brutally honest about their story. How they got going. Some of the barriers they had overcome. What had worked and what hadn’t. There was so much to take away, regardless of the industry segment you operated in.
More than anything, they were just inspiring.
You have these people in your industry. Lean on them. Raise them up to inspire the emerging operators in the region to aspire for great, not good.
Rely less on experts to present to your industry.
Tourism brand and marketing professionals have a place. But of course, I will say, that I am one of them.
What we have is exposure to lots of different businesses in various segments; when it comes to tourism marketing and brand strategy we have seen way more than many business owners have because that is all we do. All-day and every day.
We are also constantly working with businesses at all stages of their brand and marketing journey. So were constantly reminded of the challenges and differences at each stage. There is plenty we can teach your industry operators, so long as that is our focus, and not promoting ourselves.