Working with tourism bodies December 2022

As more breweries look towards enhancing their reach within regions, local tourism bodies are launching campaigns to drive interest.

Visit Sunshine Coast recently launched its craft beer-focused campaign, Australia’s Craft Beer Capital, which has prompted debate about the region’s claim to be the country’s capital of craft beer. However, it’s also sparked discussion about beer tourism.

In a recent BreweryPro podcast discussing the campaign, Visit Sunshine Coast head of marketing Kelly Ryan also talked about why the marketing body embraced the region’s breweries.

“As a destination marketer, what we do is we look for truth about our destination and we look for opportunities where we can promote points of difference that can set us apart from our competitors,” she said.

“It is our role as a destination marketing organisation to bring people to the region and then it is over to our wonderful industry, whether that’s coffee or experiences or tours, to actually then promote to people, as to what there is to see and do, what there is to eat and drink.”

For craft beer particularly, it is just as important to promote the experience in addition to the product, as both go hand-in-hand.

“People who are looking to consume craft beer, they’re looking to consume it locally so there’s absolutely a greater potential that they’re going to travel to experience that product in destination, and they’re also looking for those stories,” Ryan said.

“The primary part of being a destination marketer is actually not so much about what you’re promoting.

“It’s actually unearthing the stories and how you’ve developed the product or you’ve developed the experience.”

When it comes to attracting customers to your region, Ryan said it’s important to highlight the authenticity of the destination.

“Personally, I feel like you need to be very true to your destination,” Ryan said.

“In order to be distinct, you’ve actually got to promote what you have, as opposed to trying to be something that you’re not.

“It’s about being real, it’s about being authentic to the people, place, and the product that we have here. I think you can always look for ways to enhance that but I think it has to be done with local in mind.”

This authenticity is important to customers, which should not be underestimated, Ryan explained.

“I think consumers are way more discerning than they’ve ever been and I think at the end of the day, we as a marketer are essentially promising our visitor an experience and if we can’t deliver on that, then they’re going to see through that and we’ll lose them.

“So I think you do really have to be true to your place. But as I said, there’s always ways that you can enhance that but if you’re delivering a promise you’ve got to be able to put your money where your mouth is.”

Ryan said breweries looking to engage with their own regional marketing bodies should work together.

“My advice would be to come together, identify someone who can advocate on your behalf, and go in with a whole heap of information that actually can demonstrate and provide a rationale as to why, and that work had already been done here [on the Sunshine Coast],” Ryan explained.

“You’ve got to advocate, you’ve got to come together and you’ve got to demonstrate the why. And if you can do that, then any good destination marketing organisation will listen to that.”

Ultimately, Ryan advised that businesses should communicate how the industry benefits the greater region as a whole.

“When a group can come together and actually look at the bigger picture and see how their industry actually plays a part in helping to elevate the greater destination, if they can find that linkage that’s always going to be positively received,” she explained.

“And the other thing is, there’s always existing strategies that are available at a state level, at a regional level, at a local level. So [it’s about] finding those opportunities with your offering and how it aligns to any strategic intent.

“Essentially, you’re helping the organisation deliver what it needs to, so there’s always opportunity there to do a bit of research and figure out how you can align what your offer is with essentially the objectives of the broader [region], whether it’s a DMO [destination marketing organisation] or a state based organisation.”

Listen to the full Beer Tourism BreweryPro podcast below.

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