Australian Registered Clubs – Destinations for ‘Gastrodiplomacy’​

 

If travelling is an act of freedom in times of uncertainty and growing protectionism, then travelling for food culture experiences is ‘gastrodiplomacy’ at its best.

Hearts and minds won through the stomach is a much more emotional and engaging way to construct a narrative of understanding and social cohesion amongst diverse cultures. To my mind, the social history and unique assets of Australian registered clubs make them powerhouses of possibilities.

Food is Changing How People Travel

We know tourists plan entire vacations around food and registered clubs can leverage this trend for their best interests. In fact food culture ranks third after cultural and nature motives. While Noma has proven that you can build a global community around a restaurant, you don’t have to be a Noma pop-up to build community around a club for travellers looking for authentic experiences and connections with the surrounding community. What better place to do that than in a registered club which holds the social and cultural story of its community within the fabric of its walls and the memories of its patrons?

As more travelers have realised that dining is truly an experience in itself, more restaurants and destinations are pursuing innovation and creating unique dining experiences. More international travelers choose destinations based on food, restaurants and fresh produce. Australian clubs offering innovative food activities and events are primed to meet this demand. What better place to take ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ than to your club to show off the chef’s latest food culture fusion creation or an Australian gin and food pairing experience?

Hungry for Authentic Experiences – Hyper-local Dining

Eighty percent of Chinese travelers say they would like to book a meal in a stranger’s house because they want to see how people live and want to meet people in an authentic setting. It’s just the same as if you went to Paris, it would be difficult to meet Parisians up close and personal unless you booked an experience specifically to do this. Seventy-five percent of Americans have engaged in eating with local families or a hands-on experience such as a cooking class led by a local chef while travelling. Travellers book food experiences, meals, cooking classes, private parties wherever their travels take them in an effort to feel the authentic.

Millennials and Gastronomic Capital

Millennials now view food as important as their clothes in defining their character and social capital. Clubs that showcase their diverse culinary culture in new and exciting ways while promoting sustainability and social responsibility, will capture the millennials stomachs, hearts and minds well into the future.

Bottom Line Benefits 

Leveraging a club’s gastronomic assets has economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits. The 3rd UNWTO World Form on Gastronomic Tourism in May 2017 concluded that:

• Gastronomy is a key resource in the value proposition and differentiation of destinations. It is a market segment in itself rather than just a part of cultural tourism.

• Gastronomic (culinary tourism) broadens the view through the exercise performed by chefs and restaurants as loudspeakers to project gastronomic wealth, incorporating the triangle between cuisine, product and territory.

• Gastronomic Tourism contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and landscapes by maintaining the usage, customs and functions that allow for the preservation of the tangible and intangible wealth and the recovery of culinary memory.

• Gastronomic Tourism empowers all those who make up the chain of gastronomic value, especially the local communities, and also the professionals in their capacity as ambassadors of the territory, thus reinforcing the identity and sense of belonging and safeguarding the authenticity of each place.

• Gastronomic Tourism, through technology in the new world of a more demanding and hyper-connected customer, offers destinations the opportunity for the local community and travellers to co-construct their food stories.

• Gastronomic Tourism has the power to balance the heritage legacy between one’s own and that of others, allowing for the influence of other cultures that have contributed to the evolution of gastronomy of the region over the centuries.

Does Marketing Food Have a Positive Impact?

According to a recent survey by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) local government tourism boards and travel companies agree they are not doing enough to market their regions food and beverage offerings. While all respondents had indicated they hosted activities to promote food and beverage offerings and experiences, fewer than half said they had a food tourism strategy. The data below highlights the respondent’s thoughts on the benefits of promoting food tourism.

Type of Impact and Percent of Respondents

Promoting food tourism increased our positive media coverage – 77.20%
Promoting food tourism had an impact on increasing our website traffic – 65%
Promoting food tourism increased our income from this kind of tourism – 59.50%
Promoting food tourism increased sales at food-related businesses – 52.50%
Promoting food tourism increased bookings from tourists interested in food – 44%
Promoting food tourism had no impacts at all – 14%

Registered clubs can benefit from the experience of Tourism Boards in targeting the most popular food tourism promotion activities to see what resonates with locals and visitors and how best to spend their marketing dollars.

Activity and Percent of Respondents

Read published media articles – 93%
Read published research studies – 80.70%
Organised a gastronomy event (wine festival, food truck) – 78.90%
Sponsored gastronomy events/exhibitions – 75.40%
Used Facebook to target tourists interested in food – 63.20%
Tourism product developments (food trails, museums, visits to producers) – 59.60%
Created a brochure about food types in the destination – 59.60%
Hosted big food-related events to showcase products – 54.40%
Advertised via online platforms (blogs) – 54.40%
Used Instagram to target tourists interested in food – 42.10%
Used YouTube to target tourists interested in food – 40.40%
Used Twitter to target tourists interested in food – 38.60%
Used other social media to target tourists interested in food – 33.33%
Used Google+ to target tourists interested in food – 21.10%
Used LinkedIn to target tourists interested in food – 10.50%

Sources:

Destinations Concede Their Food Tourism Marketing Efforts Fall Short

Chefs+Tech: Will Travel for Food

Mastering the Art of Small Talk – Tips for Networkers

Small Talk

From an article by James Adonis for the SMH:

“For those like me who are too shy, too awkward, too bored or too incompetent to engage in small talk, here’s a selection of tips courtesy of Debra Fine from her bestseller, The Fine Art of Small Talk, published a decade ago.

Talk to a stranger: Rather than waiting to be introduced to someone, just walk up to a colleague you haven’t met and start chatting. Make an effort, too, to remember their name and to insert it occasionally into the conversation.

Arm yourself with icebreakers: A few suggestions from the author include:

  • “How did you come up with this idea?”
  • “What do you see as the coming trends in your business?”
  • “What’s the most difficult part of your job?”

She suggests a question should always be prefaced with a statement so that it doesn’t sound too full on. The first bullet point, for example, can begin with “I love your idea”, before leading to an enquiry about it.

Infiltrate a group of people: Fine recommends this can be done by standing close to them and making it obvious you’re listening. Then, and this is the important bit, be cognisant of signs they want you to join them, such as when they start “asking your opinion”. An easy one to miss, that one.

She has many other ideas, many of them useful. Ask open-ended questions (those that can’t be answered with just one word). Ask probing questions (those where you seek to hear more about a particular point). And observe what people are wearing, how they’re acting, where they’re working, and ask questions about that stuff as well.

There’s a theme here, I think. It seems to be linked to the old truism that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/blogs/work-in-progress/master-the-art-of-small-talk-20140912-3fem4.html#ixzz3D3PdsUT8

Slam Dunks for Credibility Visibility

crediblityYour credibility is very important to prospective customers. Many times your actual expertise is irrelevant and your success rests on your ability to prove your credibility. Your customers must believe you have the ability to provide the desired product or service.

 

Assuming you do have skills or product required to do the job, the following will give you a credibility refresher.

The thesaurus uses words like” belief, credence, credit, assurance, faith, trust, truth, confidence, presumption, dependence and reliance” to define credibility. A customer considering your product or service is taking a risk and therefore must believe you can satisfy their needs before they will move forward or have an appreciation of the value your price offers.

The Basics of Visible Credibility

Physical demonstrations of credibility include maintaining an image which is credible means that your physical office/store space must be reflective of success in your chosen occupation. Tatty and worn furniture or carpet, a dated equipment, decor, dirty windows or bathrooms and an unswept entry do not inspire confidence when your prospect arrives at your business premises.

Equally, your vehicle – if you take clients in your car and your and your staff’s dress, grooming and manner are also instrumental in building credibilty in your ability to deliver. More subtle, but equally important is the display of your qualifications, diplomas, degrees and certifications in your reception or office. There is no doubt that press and magazine clippings with articles and pictures of you shown in a positive light are extremely impressive. We are well aware of  the inherit credibility given someone or something if it is in print.

Credibility Built Offline Feeds Credibility Online

With the internet has come the need to broaden your credibility footprint in cyberspace. Today, a small business without a website is not considered a really serious business. A website that looks professional, reflects your business brand effectively and stands out among your competitors is a matter of basic business survival today and can be acheived without huge expense.

The clippings you get from the magazines and newspapers can be rendered as pdf’s on your website, you can write up stories on conference you attended to keep your skills current, your own public speaking, charity and other activities. You can write or video a blog and publish it via your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube profile.You can set up groups, webinars, discussions and guest blog for other bloggers.  You can produce and send an email newsletter to your clients and prospective clients. You can write a hard or soft copy book and sell it or give it away to qualified prospects/clients online or offline. There are a myriad of  platforms in which to build your online credibility and translate you offline credibility activities to the online world.

Check out my video on How to Maximise Your PR Pings here.

 

Is it the Self Esteem Chicken or the Confidence Egg first?

During this tremendously busy time in my life – running a large household, two children, a partner, tour groups, bed and breakfast and a business, it was so easy to neglect myself. As I saw it, there were simply not enough hours in the day anyway, why bother with me?

As I got showered and dressed in the morning, I did not look at myself in the mirror, except to brush my hair. No make-up, no skin care, no hair dryer – I just went out with my hair wet to do the daily errands. I dressed in flat shoes, black, navy or black every day.

I scurried about doing the bank, post and supermarket errands without looking up from the ground. I sent a clear non-verbal message with my posture that I did not wish to engage.

How I looked seemed to make no difference to how my children, partner, customers or community colleagues related to me.  I now realise that it did make a difference – a difference on how I thought about myself .

What Comes First?

I have thought long and hard about the roots of this flawed thinking and have come to the conclusion that it stems from the nature of one’s self-esteem training in the very early years. I can hear you all say, “Self- esteem training in the early years – I don’t remember getting any of that?!”

Experts say, success breeds confidence, not the other way around. This is why it is vital to set children up for a successful experience and the confidence will blossom accordingly.

But what comes first? The self-esteem and then a healthy attitude to self-image and  self-care or the other way around? How do you as an adult correct your own flawed thinking? Moreover, how could I instill a healthy self-esteem in my 11 year-old daughter? I confess, that in the beginning I did the things below for her benefit, not my own. But imperceptibly, over time, I began to stop feeling guilty about doing them and began to look forward to them.

Modelling the correct behaviour yourself is most important in influencing children. I had to begin to show positive images of me caring for myself. No more going out of the house with wet hair. Make-up and skin care were back on the daily schedule. I tried to introduce more colour and variety into my wardrobe. I made sure my shoes and bags where clean and in good repair.

Setting her up for self-care, self-image success – From time to time I give her  little gifts of cupcake shaped and delicious smelling soaps, I have provided a shoe shine box, so she had a special spot to clean her school shoes daily, I make sure her school uniform is not missing buttons, stained or the hem down.

Put a self-care routine in place – this may include mother/daughter friday night face pack/facials, DIY hot oil hair treatments, bubble baths or massages.

Occasional Self-care or pampering treats – About once every two months when I get my hair cut and foiled, I ask her if she would like a hair conditioning treatment. She has very long hair, so this is not only beneficial for reducing knots, she adores the pampering and for a week afterwards we can marvel at how soft it is. I recently treated her to a full-body remedial massage at the day spa I have my membership at. That went over extremely well.

Most importantly, I want her to know what it feels like when you treat yourself well and to be treated well by others – and that it is important not to rely on others to make you feel good.

I’d love to know what other mother’s experiences are on this topic?

The Good Old Bad Days

In the good old bad days at Windsor Road, we had some tough times. We had roadworks obstructing vehicular access either in front of us, south or north of us the whole 5 years we lived there. My partner would sit by the roadside whittling Noah’s ark animals. We sold a complete Noah’s ark with animals worth $800 for $200 and I intermittently taught marketing at Hawkesbury Community College for a little extra income. We ate a lot of rice.

In those early days the rocking horses were made from truck loads of undressed scrap box timber from the box factory in Wilberforce which would be dumped in our yard. We evolved to buying $2000 slings of kiln-dried NZ radiata pine milled to the correct sizes.

Also from Wilberforce were cow tails from the abattoirs which we would collect and tan ourselves. It was a filthy job and you could not think about food at all on tanning day. We evolved to importing bespoke horse tails in a variety of colours from China – the world capital for horse hair.

Our original stirrups were made from hand bent aluminium bar and pop rivets and were replaced by importing sand cast and hand polished solid brass stirrups along with the brackets and snaffle bits from India. The swing irons which were cut, bent and threaded ourselves evolved to being done piece work by a retired engineer with the correct machinery at one-fifth the price of an engineering shop.

The nail-on pad saddles responsible for my weak wrists were replaced by miniature English riding saddles made in various colours and sizes and imported from India by piggy-backing on the container orders of a major horse accessories importer.

Simply because we did not have the capital, we focussed on incremental change and growth. The first incremental changes involved improving the perceived value of the horses to get the retail price up from $695.00.

Originally there was not a maker’s mark on the horses, so we set to work to design a brass nail-on plaque for the stand. The plaque maker traded a kit rocking horse for the cost of the initial engraving/set up and individual plaques were only $2.00 a piece. We later introduced a “Certificate of Authenticity “ and a “Certificate of Restoration” which were both hand signed by the maker and presented with the horses.

We improved the finish of the stands by routering the edges and sourcing a commercial turner to make the uprights.We turned the pillar uprights for the stands ourselves, which was ridiculously time-comsuming and relied on turning them exactly the same by eye!

Plastic Amber Crystal Eyes were replaced with German Glass Teddy Bear eyes with hand glued lashes – something which other makers have since copied.

During our growth phase it was very important to treat our suppliers well and pay them on time. As soon as we knew there would be a delay in payment, I was on the phone explaining the situation and nutting out an installment plan. At that time even our annual volumes were not large enough to be able to order from some suppliers.

As the improvements kicked in, we increased the retail price of the horses about $100 per year to $1695 for a standard and $3750 for a large horse. These prices were still well below backyard operators and other specialist retailer’s prices of anywhere between $2000 and $6000. So we offered a beautiful product of  excellent value for a great price, what more could a customer want?

Evolution of a Shoestring Marketer – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Where I am Now…

My shoestring marketer days must have all started when I was invited to attend a Hawkesbury Council Focus Breakfast designed to develop relations between council and local business. I must have stood out by being a little vocal about tourism issues and tourism marketing and as a result was asked to participate as a mentor with our council sponsored Youth Achievers Program.

I must have appeared sufficiently knowledgeable during the course of that program to be asked by the council’s Commercial Director to do a key note address on “Doing Business in the Hawkesbury – A Small Business Perspective” at a Mayoral Reception for welcoming new businesses.

 

From here I was invited by the then newly formed Windsor Business Group (a not for profit progress association), to be on their committee and help them put forward proposals to council for assistance funding. One of these was a series of Workshops for Marketing Small Business on a Shoestring Budget.

After conducting eight of the twenty shoestring marketing workshops contracted for, I was struck with the huge gap in the market place for tried and true marketing and pr generating techniques for those with tiny or no marketing budgets or know-how. The information had to be presented in bite-size chunks with a gradual progression of aggression, as most small business people need to “do” long before they can afford to outsource. Also, Australian’s are still hung up about blowing their own horns. Luckily I dont have this problem having spent 5 formative years in California learning the mechanics of how to do it with style and grace.

In the past I had responsibility for marketing budgets of $1M in one corporate arena; shoestring budgets from which miracles were expected in other corporate arenas and a nil budget when I started a small business.

I found after a while that I enjoyed the challenge and thrill of getting as much publicity and marketing done for as little money as possible. If I could run a household, family of four and a small business on a shoestring, surely I could do the same with my small business marketing program.

 

 

 

I calculated over a two year period, I got the equivalent of $250,000 worth of exposure in and on Radio, TV, Magazines, Newspapers, Trade Shows and local community for nothing. It got our business to the point where our classes were booked out 12 months in advance.  I actually had to stop shoestring marketing for a time in order to avoid frustrating prospective rocking horse making students with 12 month waiting lists.

In these blogs I will share with you how to do for your embryonic or established business what I have done for mine – Marketing PR  (Free Editorial in the Press) and Business Social Media exposure on a shoestring budget
in bite size chunks
for the 50 something brain
with an aggression progression.

 

Strap in –  should be a fun ride, cos I’m still learning too!