New thinking shines at Tourism Innovators event

The Tourism Innovators Conference, held last week on the Gold Coast, delivered some genuinely ‘mind blown’ moments.

While AccomNews only attended on day one of the ideas and solutions fest, it was enough to leave us buzzing about what’s happening in our industry, and what’s to come.

Sessions and workshops ran from 8am, interspersed with drinks and lunch breaks catered very deliciously by The RACV Royal Pines Resort and beginning each time with some limbering up and slightly awkward ‘get to know your neighbour’ exercises.

During our first session, futurist Michael McQueen made everyone in the room acutely aware that the success of their businesses will depend on their ability to “anticipate, prepare for and pre-empt disruption”.

He introduced the thought that, while the world is moving faster than it’s ever done, it will never move this slowly again – daunting for someone who already feels like a salmon swimming upstream much of the time.

“Revolution not evolution” was the message – the relationship between a candle and a light bulb illuminating how radically tourism changes will manifest in the very near future.

Next was a panel session featuring the CEOs of holiday park groups Ingenia, G’day Group, NRMA and Reflections, an absorbing insight not only into park evolution but the genuine passion of industry leaders for sustainability.

After lunch came Dr Jason Fox, a gifted performer who used a sparkling combination of humour and intellect to make us unpick our default thinking and understand how its contribution to a “delusion of progress” is holding us back.

His ‘lifecycle of a business’ illustration was a cautionary tale about how a lack of fresh ideas will propel us into the  outstretched tentacles of the Kraken of Doom. Value input from your newest employees however unqualified they might seem, says Fox, if you want to avoid oblivion.

Between the longer sessions were short bites of insight from leading industry players on payment solutions, direct booking drivers and the pitfalls to avoid when selling an accom business.

At the end of the afternoon, chock-full of as many new ideas as they could handle, delegates unwound with canapes by the pool and a party at Movie World.

The Tourism Innovators Conference is held biannually, the brainchild of Newbook founder and CEO Brad Illich.

In the event’s brochure, Illich says: “We understand how precious your time is – it’s the most valuable asset of any business and I hope you walk away with new knowledge, tools and the courage to try something new in your business that could lead to massive time savings and revenue opportunities.”

There is an exhilaration to being in a space which encourages you to think differently. Next time this conference comes around, I’d urge you to go – it might just change everything.

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