Amplifying and maximising the tools at your disposal

Looking for new ideas to spring clean your product before the summer peak season? New tips and tricks to grow your business and your customer base to make your dollars, energy and efforts stretch further? Then you cannot afford to miss this year’s Great Ocean Road tourism conference, Evidenced based Marketing – amplifying the tools at your disposal.

Join us for a full day of experts providing you with evidence based tools to ensure you are maximising opportunities to build your business and create customers to market your business for you. From research, to digital marketing and everything in between, presenters will deliver insights and practical tools you can implement in your business.

But that’s not all, in response to feedback from last year’s participants we are also offering a second day, a deep dive Customer Experience Masterclass, with our international Keynote presenter, Jesse Dejardins. The Customer Experience Masterclass is open to a maximum of 40 participants and will be an intensive, hands on, guided workshop to implement the tools he will share at the conference for your individual business. Book early to avoid disappointment.



  Conference – Evidence Based Marketing The Guest Experience Masterclass
Date Thursday 25th October 2018 Friday 26th October 2018
Time 9:30am – 5:00pm 8:30pm – 5:00pm
Location Colac Performing Arts Centre Colac Performing Arts Centre
  $110 – Early Bird, tickets purchased prior to Wednesday 10th October $495 – Single Person, includes one ticket to Conference (Thursday 25th October) & Masterclass (Friday 26th October)*
  $160 – General Admission, tickets purchased after Wednesday 10th October $900 – Business Ticket for 2 people from the same business, includes entry to the Conference (Thursday 25th October) and Masterclass (Friday 26th October)
Tickets Tickets now on Sale

Further Details Below

Limited Tickets Available

Further Information

Online tickets close 5:00pm, Wednesday 24th October 2018 unless sold out prior
*The Guest Experience Masterclass – single, ticket cannot be transferred to another person for the separate days
** The Guest Experience Masterclass, Business Ticket – 2 people must be from the same business

Full refund will be available for notification in writing prior to 5:00pm Monday 15th October 2018. Notification after 5:00pm Monday 15th October 2018 – no refund will be issued. No refunds will be offered for bus tickets.


9:00am – 9:30am        Registration
9:30am – 4:00pm        Conference
4:00pm – 5:00pm        Networking Function

A detailed event program will be emailed to all attendees the week of the conference.


– Jesse Desjardins, fwNATION (International Key Note Speaker)
– Shae Keenan, Visit Victoria
– Carolyn Childs, My Travel Research
– Mel Stewart, Hyper Social
– Joel Thorsen, Bliss Search Agency
Warrnambool China Bureau

Jesse Desjardins, fWnation

Jesse Desjardins

Entrepreneur & Advisor, fwNATION

Jesse is the creator of the Guest Experience Map and is a leading advisor to the global travel industry. As head of fwNATION, Jesse leads a consultancy that develops communities, strategies and products for travel brands.

During his seven-year tenure as the Global Manager, Social & Content at Tourism Australia, Jesse and his team spoke to millions daily via Tourism Australia’s digital platforms and created strategies that made Australia the leading destination on social. Named as one of Skift's most influential people in travel, Jesse has accumulated several industry accolades including 3 Cannes Lions and has collaborated with leading brands and innovators in the business including Facebook, GoPro, DJI, Buzzfeed and City of Sydney. Jesse has shared his knowledge at various conferences around the world and holds an MBA with a focus in Creative Leadership.

Joel Thorsen, Bliss Search Agency 1

Joel Thorsen

Founder, Bliss Search

Joel Thorsen is the Founder of Bliss Search, a Digital Marketing Agency based in Melbourne and Sydney specifically focused on marketing businesses and organisations online. Offering integrated marketing and engagement strategies across the following platforms: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Bliss clients include: Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism, Early Settler, Save the Children, Tough Mudder, Tint-a-car, Haymes Paint and many more. Bliss Search is one of a select group of High Performance Premier Google Partners in Australia.

Carolyn Childs

My Travel Research

Carolyn Childs founded MyTravelResearch.com with Bronwyn White to help travel organisations achieve their goals by making insight accessible & usable. Her career spans 30 years and 35+ countries on every inhabited continent including time with Travel Research Centre, IATA & TNS. She is a top-rated speaker; has published an e-book on emerging markets, papers on Air Liberalisation, Culture & Heritage tourism, Indian Outbound Tourism, Luxury Travel & passenger taxes and co-authored Swinburne University’s postgraduate course on aviation marketing. She is President of TTRA’s Asia-Pacific Chapter, a Certified Member of the Market Research Society, a member of Women Chiefs of Enterprise International and been on the UNWTO Panel of World Tourism experts.

MyTravelResearch.com helps organizations across the visitor economy achieve better outcomes based on a sound evidence base and our experience in translating that into practical actions. Our products include our innovative Insights & Trends Hub, Marketing Plan Blueprint and a variety of studies.

Mel Stewart Hyper Social

Mel Stewart

Hyper Social

Mel Stewart is the Director of Strategy at Hyper Social – a tourism-based digital marketing agency. She has been contributing to the Australian tourism industry – in particular focusing on regional tourism – for the past 12 years. Having been fortunate to collaboratively market destinations including, Ayers Rock, Tropical North Queensland, Northern Territory's Top End, Geelong and The Bellarine, the Grampians and the beautiful Great Ocean Road. Mel’s depth of knowledge in marketing, consumer behaviour and social media – and her ability to practically apply that to businesses at all levels of the tourism industry is her absolute strength.


We will be using Slido throughout the conference. Our guest speakers will be interacting with you during their presentation – we encourage you to ask questions, participate in the polls and participate where possible.

Details –

  1. Visit https://www.sli.do
  2. Enter the event code #2286


Please note that parking at the venue is limited. The suggested parking is located 1.4km from the venue.

We encourage you to allow time to find a park and make your way to the venue to ensure you arrive on time.

Location Central Reserve, Colac (Google) (Colac Tigers Football Ground)
Distance 1.4km walk (allow 15 minutes)


Excellent speakers and information, particularly around social media / marketing Great networking opportunity Gave a great sense of what is happening in the tourism world both in the region and beyond.
Jenny Madden, Hearn’s Port Fairy Holiday Accommodation

Enjoyed & enlightened by the whole day. Great topics/venue/food …what more could you ask for.
Dianne, Glenoe Cottages

I highly recommend any business operators who benefit from tourism to attend the GORRT annual conference.  It is great opportunity to be inspired, gather ideas and information from a variety of speakers and develop all important business networks across the Great Ocean Road region.
Dean Robertson, Ashmont Motor Inn, Port Fairy

High quality presenters and a relevant program that provides a wonderful and unique development and learning opportunity, bringing business operators together from a large region, offering valuable time and space to benchmark, network and learn from one another.
Adam Boyle, Moyne Shire Council