Visitability Case Study - Sense of Welcome

St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi

Introduction

The St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi services the mobile and event based visitor information needs for St Kilda and the greater City of Port Phillip area. Managed by St Kilda Tourism and dedicated local volunteers, the Kombi is meeting a demand in the area for visitor servicing, and is working collaboratively with local businesses, the Victorian tourism industry and regional areas to promote and market ‘Destination St Kilda’.

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The Kombi is a 1976 VW Kombi Campervan Pop-top and is more than a pop up visitor information centre for St Kilda — it is a static and moving billboard used at tourism trade events, in public relations and promotional activity. It also highlights and promotes everything that there is to see, do, eat, drink and experience in the area.

St Kilda Tourism volunteers provide visitors with personalised face to face service to ensure an enjoyable and fulfilling visit to St Kilda. Armed with iPads, brochures, and maps from the local businesses and attractions, visitors receive a broad range of information on the St Kilda area and are met by enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers.

The Kombi is on the ground each week at the Esplanade Sunday Market, Twilight Markets and a host of sporting, cultural, theatre and music events on the St Kilda foreshore and within the precinct streets, to service local, interstate and international visitors.

St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi Luna Park

Why a Kombi?

Traditional visitor information centres across Australia and the world are experiencing declining numbers walking through their doors. The way in which travellers seek information continues to change rapidly and, not surprisingly, the web is playing an increasing role in the way visitors hunt and
gather their entertainment, day trip, short break and holiday information — the way in which this information is provided therefore also needs to change.

St Kilda and the City of Port Phillip do not currently service a permanent Visitor Information Centre, as is the case in many other tourism destinations in the country.

So where does a visitor to St Kilda find their information when the get off the tram, arrive by car, bus or bike or are attending a special event or festival? The St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi seeks to fill part of this gap and will be equipped with iPads — directing people to the newly updated stkildamelbourne.com.au website and some more traditional collateral — including maps, visitor guides and a selection of member’s brochures and flyers.

St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi St Kilda Pier

Visitor feedback

St Kilda Tourism’s visitor information service made its debut at St Kilda Festival 2015 and created quite a stir amongst festival goers. Sitting prominently on the upper esplanade, wrapped with iconic St Kilda imagery and encouraging people to visit, play and stay in St Kilda, visitors lined up to take photos of, and with, the new cool and edgy St Kilda Kombi. 

The feedback from visitors has been very positive — it has provided a conversation piece and an opportunity for volunteers to engage the public and provide them with information. It’s also strengthened the St Kilda brand by promoting the key messages consistent with all St Kilda Tourism marketing campaigns. Visitors have said that they like being able to ‘have a chat’ with volunteers and get directions to certain attractions or to their next location. They can’t always do this online.

Visitors have shown us that although most information is gathered before visitors take a trip to St Kilda, they still require other information during their journey. They are still seeking traditional sources of information such as a map of the area to carry in their hands as they travel around.

Industry feedback

The traders and business owners are excited at the prospect of being able to provide information to visitors once they are in St Kilda — whether it’s special deals, or general information about the area. They like the idea that the Visitor Info Kombi is a tangible, central point for visitors in St Kilda, and that it is different to other Councils and regions.

St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi People

St Kilda Tourism

St Kilda Tourism (SKTA) is the key tourism and events conduit for St Kilda and surrounds servicing Industry Operators, Event Organisers, Local and State Governments. SKTA are a membership organisation that provides leadership in promoting, marketing and developing the visitation offering and experience of Destination St Kilda. As an organisation they work to drive visitation to, and yield from, visitors to St Kilda and surrounding areas, as a key economic driver for the broader community. 

Snapshot of tourism in St Kilda 

St Kilda is Melbourne’s most popular beachside playground and is a key city fringe tourism destination that is nationally iconic and internationally renowned. About 1.38 million visitors come to St Kilda each year, spending $50 per person. That’s $69 million in annual revenue into St Kilda Businesses. 

According to the National and International Visitor research undertaken by Tourism Research Australia:

  • More than 50% of people who visit the City of Port Phillip visit St Kilda
  • With an average of 1.38 million visitors annually, St Kilda is the second most visited area, by domestic and international overnight visitors to Melbourne.