Interviews and insights to help tourism businesses become remarkable.

The remarkable way a couple of tiny Outback towns can somehow fail to deliver on visitor expectations.

We were travelling through Outback Queensland eagerly anticipating hitting the towns connected by the Dinosaur Trail.

Talked up online and in brochures as a journey to prehistoric times and Australia’s story. Well, two out the three towns we got to which formed part of the so called trail were a couple of the most underwhelming experiences of our travels so far.

Why did we find them underwhelming when they are just a couple of humble little outback towns with populations of at most, a couple thousand?

“The foundation of brand is trust. Customers trust your brand when their experiences consistently meet or beat their expectations.” (from “Brand Gap, Revised Edition, The” by Neumeier Marty)

Because the story you are sold (that frames your expectation) does not match the experience you get.

You are left feeling underwhelmed and, frankly tricked. It makes you question everything else you can expect from the same brochures and storytellers (assuming it’s and RTO responsible).

In stark contrast, a tiny town Julia Creek on the same desolated stretch of road between Townsville and Mt Isa batted way above its average.

Smaller than the other two, with seemingly less to offer, we came in with no expectation other than the promise of a outback bath with incredible views, which failed to eventuate anyway.

The town delivered in spades, far exceeding our expectations. The Visitor Information Centre although small and humble was incredibly well equipped to share the story of the town’s history, immersing you through thoughtful well produced videos, photos, featuring locals, the old and new, and even offered a Dunnart feeding experience (the Dunnart, being a tiny marsupial native to the area).

There wasn’t much else happening while we were there, but you left with an appreciation for the town’s role in our history and and appreciation for the people who continue to hold it together.

Not only would be love to go back if we were near enough (for that famous bath we missed out on too), we’d highly recommend you stop and stay a couple of nights to get a feel for it. For a town of maybe, 500 residents, that’s saying something.

All you need is a couple of little surprises to turn a visit into a 5 star review; you don’t necessarily need the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty, or Niagara Falls to do it for you.

Just do what you do well. Tell your story. Set realistic expectations for visitors, and then deliver more than they expect.

“The foundation of brand is trust. Customers trust your brand when their experiences consistently meet or beat their expectations.” (from “Brand Gap, Revised Edition, The” by Neumeier Marty)

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