Change Region

You're on our English website. Change your region to see information for another location.

Industry insights from the VIC Parks Annual Conference

Industry insights and trends for campgrounds and parks in Australia. 

Should we shift our mindset to attract a new customer, or should we stop listening to what the customer wants? At the Vic Parks Annual Conference last week, we captured the latest topics in the industry that will help parks attract more travellers this upcoming holiday season.

Inform, inspire, celebrate and empower excellence within the Parks industry in Victoria

- Scott Parker, Chief Executive Officer at Victorian Caravan Parks Association

Scott Parker from Victorian Caravan Parks Association welcomed everyone at the panellist discussion held at Hyatt Essendon Fields, Melbourne. It was the biggest Annual conference since 2019 and was packed with all the top facts, figures and trends for accommodation and traveller trends within the Parks sector across Victoria. The conference kicked off with a panel of industry experts that uncovered sharp insights into the peaks and lows, new traveller numbers since covid, attracting younger customers, adopting a different brand strategy to meet demand and the government's push to attract more visitors to regional Victoria.

The panellists presented new thought-provoking discussions for regional Victorian park operators to consider and served up hard facts that got everyone's attention. With COVID-19 almost behind us, it was still a topic and benchmark for comparing travel numbers pre, post and current COVID-19. According to the Victorian National Visitor Survey 2022, overnight stays and day trips in Victoria increased 58% every year ending in March 2022, however it was a decrease of 28% compared to the pre-pandemic results in March 2019.

"The traveller is changing. We've seen the extremity of consumer travel with pre, and post-covid results. This season we will need to adopt new strategies to gain customers with borders opening up globally and more Australians gaining confidence to travel abroad again," says Ben Knighton, Head of Global Brand and Consumer Marketing at Visit Victoria. The topic of the panellists was about changing the perception of younger travellers and regional Victorian travel as a holiday destination. The panellist discussed the shift, with most younger travellers associating regional travel with a place they once travelled to for family holidays. As a ploy to encourage growth, Ben Knighton presented positive reinforcement for the industry's development and a solution to help support Park operators to attract travellers. The Victorian government has launched a new awareness campaign to enhance regional travel that focuses on Victorians using their annual leave to "Take a Not So Public Holiday".

"The new campaign encourages non-traditional holiday times and travellers to take an extended break with their annual leave," says Ben, " 75 per cent of Melburnian travellers feel they need more than a weekend to feel refreshed and relaxed when visiting regional Victoria". The campaign started in July 2022 and will run for 12 months to push more travellers to regional destinations.


75 per cent of Melburnian travellers feel they need more than a weekend to feel refreshed and relaxed when visiting regional Victoria
- Ben Knighton, Head of Global Brand and Consumer Marketing at Visit Victoria

Image only Blog Header option 3

The new breed of traveller is here, and it is time to adapt. The discussion also covered insights on positioning your park to engage with travellers who work remotely. "It sounds simple, but have WIFI that works for those younger travellers looking to work remotely," said Felicia Mariani, Chief Executive, Victoria Tourism Industry Council. Her advice was to bring the community together, "collaborate with your region and tap into the local community to show travellers what you have to offer". Felicia also went on to discuss the trends around sustainability and that it is no longer a trend but a reality for Park owners to start actioning. "More and more travellers are focusing on sustainability as a way to travel and book accommodation", said Felicia, "to attract younger travellers with a disposable income, you must start adopting new sustainable practices at your property".


More and more travellers are focusing on sustainability as a way to travel and book accommodation

- Felicia Mariani, Chief Executive, Victoria Tourism Industry Council


In contrast, Adam Ferrier, a multi-award-winning advertising creative and founder of Thinkerbell agency, gave some eye-opening knowledge into branding and marketing for park owners with a strategy to "stop thinking about the customer." Adam's approach focused on the customer not always being right, and that building a cohesive brand and firm messaging was essential. Branding is often misconstrued as just a logo or a colour however, Adam reassured the audience it was much more and "that intangible assets are the most critical part of building a brand identity".


Stop thinking about the customer

- Adam Ferrier, a multi-award-winning advertising creative


When shifting our mindset, a hybrid approach must be considered when attracting a younger traveller. The overarching trend from the expert panellists was to prepare for the new breed of traveller and connect with different segments through marketing.

As a gold sponsor at the VIC Parks Conference, RMS was able to chat with all the Victorian parks industry and provide them with insightful technology solutions on how they can adopt new strategies with one cloud-based solution for campground and park property management.

We look forward to seeing you at the VIC Parks Annual Conference next year.


Related reading