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March famils: from Indonesian celebrities to Italian Instagrammers

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The GORRT team has been busy showcasing our region to domestic and international media, industry and other intrigued influencers. 

Above: Autumn edition of Space magazine

Domestic famils

Above: Autumn edition of Space magazine

International famils

Chinese media  

VV China partnered with Qantas to organize a high-end Chinese media famil. QANTAS provided business-class air tickets and VV supported on ground costs for four travel, lifestyle and fashion media representatives, plus Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)After attending the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and a tour of the city, GORRT arranged visits toLorneKennett River; Cape Otway; Loch Ard Gorge; and London Bridge. They ate at La Bimba in Apollo Bay and took a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles. 

Celebrity on Vacation – Indonesia

Celebrity on Vacation is a program hosted by Indonesian celebrities showcasing trips to interesting places. We accompanied them to GOR ChocolaterieLorne Live Wire Park and organized a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles. They dined at Waves restaurant and stayed at Southern Ocean Villas, both in Port Campbell.  

 Other famils: 

  • Japanese trade famil (2 days/1 night) – Apollo Bay, 12 Apostles, Timboon and Warrnambool.
  • Media famil for Going Places Malaysia, Kumparan.com, Media Indonesia, Yahoo Singapore, New Straits Times and Malindo Magazine – Apollo Bay, Otways, Port Campbell, Tower Hill, Port Fairy and Birregurra.
  • Media famil for Grazia Italia, www.lofficielitalia.com (monthly online magazine circ. 125,000), and Panorama (weekly lifestyle, news, politic, economy and travel magazine) and three Instagrammers – Lorne, Port Campbell, Warrnambool and Birregurra.
  • Media famil for FOCUS Online (Germany’s biggest news and service platform advertising 173.53m visits per month) – Lorne, Forrest, Port Campbell, Warrnambool, Tower Hill and Port Fairy.

For more information on how we run our famils, please contact Liz Price liz@gort.com.au 

GORRT team grows

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The team at Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism has grown to further strengthen the delivery of its products and services in support of the region’s thriving tourism sector.  


Natalie McRae – Business Development Officer 

Natalie comes to us with 13 years’ experience in print advertising account management at the Warrnambool Standard including several years as Marketing Manager for the Domain section. Natalie has an exceptional understanding of living and doing business in the region, and has worked with many different sectors, including tourism, on tailored advertising campaigns. New business development is Natalie’s passion and she has plenty of ideas and experience when it comes to creating forward-thinking multi-platform marketing solutions. As part of her new role at GORRT, Natalie looks forward to providing the very best support to the regional tourism industry, promoting the Great Ocean Road on an international scale, and enhancing the entire visitor experience. 

Email: natalie@gort.com.au 


Beth Gibson – Marketing Development Officer 

Beth has 27 years’ experience in journalism, marketing and PR. Beth has a strong knowledge of regional tourism and has worked with Halls Gap Tourism, Grampians Tourism and local governments on visitor attraction campaigns. She has produced marketing collateral for Tourism Victoria and has promoted events like the Grampians Grape Escape and Halls Gap Film Festival. Beth has worked closely with tourism operators on independent marketing campaigns and has provided grass-roots support during and after natural disasters. Based in Warrnambool, Beth is passionate about the existing and emerging visitor experiences offered on the Great Ocean Road and beyond. In her new role, she will work with operators to regularly unearth stories to disseminate across our various marketing channels. 

Email: beth@gort.com.au

Julia Delgado – Digital Content Champion 

Originally from Adelaide, Julia moved to Victoria after travelling the Great Ocean Road, loving it, and relocating to Torquay. Working as a Brand & Content Strategist in a creative agency in Geelong for the past 12 months, she has experience working with a wide variety of businesses in all things content. With a strong digital marketing background that spans across not for profit organisations as well as Nestle Australia in Adelaide and Sydney, Julia will take care of the Visit Great Ocean Road site as well as the destination sites. 

Email: julia@gort.com.au 

Understanding our Chinese visitors

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FIFTEEN businesses took part in the China Host Program to better understand what Asian visitors expect from their experience on the South Coast.

The hands-on training program was the first of its kind in Australia and helped business operators of all sizes to learn the latest strategies for facilitating the best possible visitor experience.

Operators learned what Chinese visitors wanted and what they’re not getting; giving them the confidence to go away and develop their product with the Asian market in mind.

There were discussions around strong and simple marketing tools, like social media app WeChat, for better engagement. Insight into Chinese cultural considerations gave insight into effective and respective communications.

Together, the businesses were united in their bid to sell “happiness and memories” to our Asian friends; and the best aspects of visiting Australia.

The China Host Program was coordinated by Warrnambool City Council and supported by GORRT, Moyne Shire CouncilCorangamite Shire Council, Deakin University (Warrnambool) and South West TAFE. 

Leverage from event marketing at no cost

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Want more people at your event?  Promote it for free on ATDW.  In the 30 days leading up to this article (23/03/19 to 22/04/19) the “What’s On” pages, showcasing events that are listed on ATDW across the our website platform (9 websites) received 46,873 visits.  ATDW event listings are also promoted on other pages across the sites including individual town pages and featured events on website home pages – which are not included in this number.

GORRT are committed to supporting regional events and we do so in the following ways;

  • We offer support to significant and developing events that are considered regionally significant by providing the conduit and essential support for event funding applications, in particular the Regional Events Fund administered by Visit Victoria.
  • We work with stakeholders to attract new events to the region
  • We incorporate events into the region’s marketing campaigns
  • We support marketing and leveraging of events with access to assets such as branding tools and imagery
  • We encourage all events to take advantage of the opportunity to list their events at no charge on the ATDW platform

When an event is added to the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse portal, it will becomes available to over 250 distributors to promote on their consumer website and apps.  An event listed on ATDW will be published on www.visitvictoria.com, www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au and depending on the location of the event, at least one of the destination websites on the GOR platform.

All event organisers, whether large or small, should take advantage of the tools we’ve made available to promote their events to visitors to the region at no charge. 46,873 users visited the What’s On pages on our websites in the past 30 days.  The Events listing pages are consistently some of the most visited across our entire website platform so the advantage of promoting your event to this volume of people motivated to visit our region is obvious.

For large events it is essential for organisers to have them promoted on tourism websites to ensure they are profiled and made available to us to consider for website features and blogs, inclusion in regional marketing campaigns and social media sharing.  FOr small events with limited marketing budget it makes sense to utilise such a powerful promotional tool that wont cost a cent.

This isn’t a secret or an exclusive opportunity!  If you know of anyone developing a new event or involved in coordinating and existing one in our region please share this information as our industry benefits from more activities and events to attract new audiences to our region.  Promoting your event to a wider audience is beneficial to the event and the regions visitor economy.


Check out our current events listings here and Download ATDW event listing instructions here


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Our Great Ocean Road  I AM YOUR AMBASSADOR famil program was launched in October 2018 as a pilot rewards program for our front-line industry ambassadors.

Visitor Information Centre Staff and Volunteers are a valuable resource to our industry and their recommendations and referrals promote local business partners and increase visitor spend in our region.  We have facilitated an exclusive offer program for our staff and volunteers to encourage familiarisation of new and different products across the region by offering them a discounted or free experience.

259 discount cards have been issued to VIC staff and volunteers in our region.  If your business would like to be involved so that you can benefit from first-hand recommendations please contact Jo Birley on 0448 448 666 or jo@gort.com.au.  Explore the program web page and current offers here

Information for operators considering participating in the rewards program:

  • The cards themselves are recognisable with the I AM YOUR AMBASSADOR logo in black on white on the front of the card.

  • Each cardholder will have their name and where they work/volunteer printed on the card so you participating businesses have the opportunity to record this and  have the right to request photo ID to ensure their name matches the name on the card.  Operators can also ring through to the VIC they work/volunteer at to check their work status. https://www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/visitor-information-centres/
  • You can change or remove your offer at any time, however; Please note the conditions state that anything published is current so it is up to the business operator to ensure this is correct and getting in touch with us immediately if they wish to remove or change and offer.
  • 259 discount cards have already been issued to Volunteers and Staff at all VICs within our regional network.  We are looking to extend this to Information centres in neighbouring regions and to Clef Dors Concierges at Melbourne Hotels.   We will not be providing these cards to bloggers or any media however if a person or group is considered by GORRT and the Regional VIC Network a valid ambassador who will provide benefit to a business by making recommendations then we may provide them with a card.

“Packaging For Profit” with Despina Karatzias

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On March 25th we hosted Despina Karatzias of the Institute of Excellence at South West Tafe in Warrnambool to present to operator, her tools and techniques around packaging, partnerships and collaborations.

With our off-peak marketing about to kick off for 2019, it was a perfectly timed opportunity for businesses wanting to boost their off-peak trade and leverage from our strategic regional marketing campaign.

Despina is the founder and trainer at Institute Of Excellence, a teacher at Holmesglen, Monarch Institute, Institute of Digital Marketing and Tourism Tribe, Host of Tourism Hub Podcast and Acting General Manager at Global Ballooning.

The workshop took participants through the basics of what makes a successful package and how to approach marketing partnerships.

Despina’s years of experience at Global Ballooning provided her with the opportunity to become an expert in successful packaging.  Her easy to follow ten step packaging development formula provides a great tool she has kindly provided for businesses in the Great Ocean ROad Region to utilise.  Download the Workbook

We’ve had fantastic feedback on the workshop so keep an eye on the industry development section of our newsletter for more opportunities to learn about Packaging for Profit.

China Host Graduation

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On March 20th we celebrated the graduation of the inaugural China Host business graduates! A huge congratulations to each and every participant for committing to this journey for themselves, their business and the region. Class of 2019 –
Timboon IceCreamery, Live Wire Park, Great Ocean Road Resort – Anglesea, Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, 12 Apostles Helicopters, Apollo Bay Bakery, Alkina Lodge, Lady Bay Resort, Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs, Worn Gundij @Tower Hill, Gardens Caravan Park and Moyne Shire Council, Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Southern Ocean Mariculture and Cape Otway Lightstation.

A huge thank you to;

  • Warrnambool City Council for establishing the program especially Shaun Miller for driving a regional approach,
  • Corangamite Shire Council and Moyne Shire Council for their support and commitment,
  • Asialink for sharing their knowledge, experience and open guidance, Nick, Xiaoyi and Thomas you are consummate professionals,
  • Gaibo – Jessica and Gary for sharing your experience especially the challenges and opportunities and real case studies
  • ATEC, for supporting development at a grass roots level and all the experts and partners that have contributed to this journey.

We look forward to continuing the collegiate approach the class of 2019 have created and putting into practice the learnings from the journey.

Creating Customer Service Excellence- for Chinese Travellers

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China has become Australia’s most important tourism market.

Research shows record numbers of Chinese visitors in 2018, with the highest number of day trips within Victoria including the Great Ocean Road and southwest region.

There has never been a better time as a member of the tourism industry to discover how to provide remarkable customer service for the Chinese inbound tourism market!

In partnership with Asialink and the China Host Program, South West TAFE are offering this exclusive opportunity to those within the tourism industry to learn about the influx of Chinese tourists

WHEN – Thursday 21 March 12pm – 3pm


Room 328
Level 3, B Building
197-205 Timor Street Warrnambool

The event will be followed by a light afternoon tea and networking.

More details here

Chinese New Year

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Key messages for visitors

    • This is peak visitor season, allow extra time to visit the region
    • Obey Traffic management signs and take extra care on the roads
    • Overnight stays allow you to see more
    • Book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment as some destinations may be heavily booked
    • Visitor Information Centres can assist you in planning your journey
    • There are a number of routes to access the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles
    • Include lots of stops to break up your journey

Translation below if you want to include in your own notes to visitors:

  • 春节是大洋路的旅游高峰期,请您安排更多的时间来出行
  • 请遵守当地交通管理标志,格外小心驾驶
  • 住宿一晚可以让您更好的感受大洋路区域
  • 某些热门目的地住宿会被订光,请提前安排预定您的住宿
  • 当地的游客中心有更多目的地旅游、餐饮和住宿信息,可以帮您更好的规划行程
  • 有很多的路线可以到达大洋路区域和12门徒景区
  • 规划您的行程,多停留一些地方

Download the Chinese New Year Poster here

Download the Great Ocean Road Tourism WEChat QR Code here

Download Industry Briefing Notes here

AICD – Great South Coast Leaders’ Lunches Warrnambool

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Tuesday 19th March 12pm – 2pm Lady Bay Resort, Warrnambool

We are pleased to invite you to attend our Leaders’ Lunch with Elizabeth Proust AO FAICD, Chairman Nestlé Australia and Bank of Melbourne and non executive director of Lendlease Limited.

The Leaders’ Lunch series offers a distinctive experience for the local business community to discuss important trends that may affect the current and future success of their organisations.

Information here

Wednesday 5th June 12pm – 2pm Lady Bay Resort, Warrnambool

Join us in Warrnambool for the Leaders’ Lunch to hear from business adviser, director and entrepreneur Kee Wong FAICD, on how to bring the agility and innovation-mindedness to more established organisations. This event is a valuable opportunity to hear insightful commentary and discussion on how to guide your organisation through the challenges of rapid technological advancements and changeable market environments.

Information here