As a tourism digital marketing trainer, learning on the move has always been the cornerstone of everything I ever wanted the Institute of Excellence to be. My recent Content Marketing and Social Media Masterclass was an example of this where we spent four weeks covering the elements of content marketing, social media marketing, preparation, measurement, and action planning. But this time we spent the final class out in the field on Phillip Island to add tangibility and the essence of collaboration to the experience.
When I realised in week three of our program that most participants, all passionate island businesses and professionals had not experienced each other's venues and attractions on the island like a visitor, it was time to get out of the classroom and re-connect with the destination and each other.
Where is Phillip Island?
Phillip Island, a favourite day trip and an approximately 90-minute drive from Melbourne, which, in my humble opinion requires an overnight stay to enjoy all it has to offer, lies just off Australia’s southern coast. Famously known for cute little penguins, it is at Summerland Beach, where spectators gather daily at sunset to watch the famous Penguin Parade when Little penguins come ashore in groups.
Our team got to experience the island like a tourist and discover how to connect these experiences in a marketing overture. Join us on a recap of our adventure:
Phillip Island Visitor and Information Centre
Our meeting point and also our masterclass location was at the tourism hub of the island, the Phillip Island Visitor and Information Centre. The Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.00am to 5.00pm and until 6.00pm from December 26 to the second weekend in January.
If you are visiting the island for the first time this is the perfect spot to receive the best advice about things to see and do from the people who live, work and play in an area. At the Phillip Island Visitor Information Centres visitors can book accommodation, purchase attraction tickets and get detailed advice about local activities and events.
Follow Phillip Island on Instagram
Phillip Island Adventure Resort
The name suits them: Phillip Island Adventure Resort combines cosy accommodations with a thirst for all things adventure and extreme. Ropes courses, archery, eco-based activities, swimming pools, indoor rock climbing, and giant daredevil swings keep your adrenaline pumping until the moment you check out. They also have a suite of off-site services, including the fan-favourite koala sanctuary that brings you up close and personal to one of Australia’s most beloved animals.
Everyone in the group was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful surrounds of the resort and just how much there was to do. The other benefit of this resort is that it is not just an exclusive to school camp groups and offers excellent conferencing facilities and team building programs as well as leisure group bookings!
A Maze N Things in Phillip Island
From the outside in, A Maze N Things is one of Phillip Island’s most impressive attractions. The journey starts the moment you arrive on site, exploring the building odd shapes, vibrant colours, and whimsical “pipeless” water spout hovering over the entrance. Step inside for a magical journey into rooms that shrink you, perplexing puzzles, mini golf, mirror maze, and 7-meter vertical drop slide, which I was encouraged to trust gravity and drop. I did it and walked away like a boss of slides around the world - exhilarating! Thank you, Tilly.
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Koala Conservation Centre
Jacquelina from the Penguin Foundation was also with us. The Penguin Foundation does some excellent work focussing on protecting the native wildlife and vegetation that call the island home. Jacquelina kindly hosted us at the Koala Conservation Centre. There’s nothing quite like seeing koalas in their natural habitat. Explore the tree-top boardwalks and get a personal look at these wonder-filled animals, then head to the bushlands for other wildlife sightings, including echidnas, bats, and wallabies.
Koala Conservation Centre is part of Phillip Island Nature Parks where world-renowned conservation programs and quality ecotourism experiences meet.
Visit Koala Conservation Centre on the Phillip Island Nature Park Website
National Vietnam Veterans Museum
This moving tribute to Vietnam veterans gives you an inside look at the history of the Vietnam war. The museum was designed to help others understand the struggles of Australia’s longest war, and never forget its impact on modern society. Rich with history it is fascinating to take a step back in Australian history.
Thank you to General Manager, Phil Dressing from the museum, you can easily spend a couple of hours here.
Quays Motel San Remo
If you’re looking for a place to stay on Phillip Island, head to the Quays San Remo Motel, a modest ground-level accommodation at an affordable price, the hotel is close to beaches, shops, and restaurants, so your next adventure is never far. They have an accessible room and a couple of large rooms perfect for families!
San Remo Hotel
The San Remo Hotel-Motel, situated in the heart of San Remo, gives you beautiful views, fine, cuisine and comfortable accommodation. As soon as you walk in this hotel has the most welcoming atmosphere and beautiful ambience.
The hotel is a family business and your host Elyse Pratt was one of the group participants with other San Remo legend Clemence. The served the most deliciously hearty lunch, perfect after a day of exploring on the island, thank you, Elyse and Clemence, for your hospitality. I think I will come back to the island just for that shared platter!
Elyse also leads a fantastic event called Walk for the Kids, giving locals and visitors alike a chance to explore the island while giving back to the community during the annual Good Friday Appeal event. Check out more details about the Walk for the Kids Event on Facebook.
Visit San Remo Hotel Website
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Other Honourable Mentions
Phillip Island wouldn’t be the destination it is today if it weren’t for the efforts of several organisations dedicated to its success. The Bass Coast Shire Council has led revitalisation and protection efforts that care for the island’s resources, events and business community and it was fantastic to have Visitor Economy and Events Officer, Sylvia Tamburo as part of the group.
Creating a Learning Opportunity for Tourism Content Marketers
This final class served two purposes:
- Place tourism into context for content marketers and view the experience from the visitors perspective.
- Visiting each of the above locations as content marketers AND destination ambassadors helped our class to make valuable connections in the Phillip Island visitor economy and know how to approach social media and website content with a destination mindset. Something I like to call 'start with WE, not me' for optimal destination success and business growth.
Staying destination focussed and educating visitors on why come here, where is the region, what is there to do and how to get there is a great start.
The mission now for the group is to deliver eight pieces of content from 8 tourism businesses and use the power of collaboration to create digital inbound marketing opportunities for the region and every single company in the class!
Have you joined me for a Masterclass yet? I’d love to have you along for the next journey. Contact me today to schedule an upcoming class!