DIGITAL WORLD: Liz Ward, of Tourism Tribe, with Stephen and Taya Michalski, owners of Diamondvale Cottages.
DIGITAL WORLD: Liz Ward, of Tourism Tribe, with Stephen and Taya Michalski, owners of Diamondvale Cottages. DEIRDRE SMITH

Wired world gets the customers clicking

FROM Asia to Stanthorpe was a big leap for Taya and Stephen Michalski.

Leaving behind the expatriate life in Tokyo and Singapore, they bought an existing business, Diamondvale Cottages and Lodge, two years ago.

Then the hard work really began.

"We did go into it with rose-coloured glasses,” MrMichalski said.

Updating the decor was a must but so was a new website. Grabbing all the possible guests out there surfing the web was a modern-day business necessity, with an estimated 90 per cent of bookings originating from online searches.

Tourism Tribe trainer Liz Ward was at the Civic Centre last week to take 17 local tourism operators through the finer points of improving their online presence.

Accommodation providers such as the Michalskis were well represented but wineries, a tour company and Apple and Grape Festival organisers also attended.

Further sessions are planned too, with sessions later in May covering Facebook and Instagram, and online reviews and reputation management.

Run under the Queensland Digital Ready Program, all sessions are free and open to anybody involved in tourism.

Businesses already on board have received a detailed analysis of their online presence, called a "Digital Engagement Health Check”, prepared by industry professionals.

The workshops will be followed up by one-on-one coaching with a digital expert with tourism experience.

Ms Ward said the program usually cost $2400 an operator but was being provided free through the Queensland Government, the only state to invest in tourism industry training.

Go to www.tourismtribe. com/digital-ready.

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