New tool to boost visitor experience

September 20, 2019

An innovative new tool has launched in Townsville this week that will help tourism operators stay one step ahead of the rest.

North Queensland tourism businesses will be able to quickly respond to visitor feedback and offer an improved experience thanks to the availability of real-time data being collected by tourism operators – including Townsville Airport.

Townsville Airport and SeaLink have secured grant funding through the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme for the Townsville Tourism Growth Initiative.

Data is being collected via a survey which is being rolled out from this week. At the airport, when guests log on to the terminal’s free Wi-Fi, they will receive a welcome email with a link to the survey, which can be filled out while they wait for their flights or anytime thereafter.

Other businesses, including SeaLink and local councils, will also distribute the survey which will feed into a live dashboard that assists participating businesses with their day-to-day decision making.

The dashboard, devised and built by James Cook University, includes visitor data and feedback on various experiences in Townsville and the surrounding region.  

Townsville Airport Commercial General Manager Isabelle Yates said the data would help participating businesses better understand and then deliver what visitors want.

“We are asking visitors to provide feedback on their trip purpose, transport, accommodation, attractions visited and satisfaction with experiences and the region generally,” she said.

“With that information, businesses can make sure they are delivering products and services that the market wants.

“It is different from existing international and national visitor survey data because it’s in real time and provides another level of detail, allowing businesses to be more agile and responsive to survey findings.”

The survey will also ask respondents about their likelihood of recommending the region and service experience.

SeaLink General Manager, North Queensland Chris Briggs said: “SeaLink continues to be a customer focused organisation for the community of North Queensland, this tool will help not only our business but the wider tourism industry to add more memorable experiences based on feedback given from our customers.”

James Cook University Associate Professor of Tourism, Event and Sport Management Laurie Murphy said it was an exciting opportunity for JCU to contribute its research expertise to the local industry.

“In particular, I am excited to be working with the local tourism industry to better understand visitors and collect data that will both benefit tourism businesses but contribute to authentic learning opportunities for our tourism and events students,” she said.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme Business Facilitator Graham Poon congratulated Townsville Airport and Sealink on the project.

“This is just one way the Entrepreneurs’ Programme is assisting businesses across a range of industry sectors in Townsville and surrounds,” he said.

Since 2014, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme has assisted 58 businesses in the Townsville region.

The initiative is led by Townsville Airport and SeaLink, with support from local councils, hoteliers, tour operators and transport providers.

An annual visitor report will also be developed as part of the program.