CEO Message March 2018: Embracing growth and change

I’m very proud to announce a new partnership that Destination Melbourne has entered into this month with Melbourne Airport, managing the co-ordination of their Customer Care Volunteer Program (CCVP).

Since 2012, CCVP has been providing visitors with a sense of welcome, and assisting them with way finding information and practical needs.

Together with Melbourne Airport, we will grow the program to place a greater emphasis on tourism across greater Melbourne. We will inform volunteers weekly on major events visitor experiences and how best to answer visitor enquiries. Including a more prominent tourism focus is imperative as passenger numbers continue to grow, with 70 million passengers forecast by 2038.  With this growth, the needs and expectations of visitor will also grow.

This opportunity is closely aligned with our vision and strategic priorities to maximise Melbourne’s visitor potential, by championing visitor needs, the visitor experience and the visitor industry.

We will be overseeing the daily operations of the program on behalf of Melbourne Airport, working closely with staff and volunteers. We’ll be working to recruit more volunteers to work across the terminals and expanding the focus on a warm sense of welcome, ensuring visitors continue to feel highly valued.  

Our relationship with Melbourne Airport is a long standing one.  The Airport has been a long-term supporter of our award-winning Melbourne Tourism Leadership Program, which is now celebrating its 10th year. This latest development in our relationship with the Airport is another great step forward, one which the whole industry can benefit from, through the value that our volunteers bring to visitors arriving at Melbourne Airport – the gateway to Victoria.

Another exciting announcement, which you may be aware of, is the confirmation of our International keynote speaker for our Melbourne LIVE tourism forum. With past guests from Los Angeles and Copenhagen, Melbourne LIVE has quickly built a reputation for attracting high profile international speakers. This year is no exception, with Chief Executive Officer of visitBerlin, Burkhard Kieker, confirmed to speak. With Berlin welcoming more than 12.7 million visitors who generate more than 31 million overnight stays each year, Burkhard's job can’t be an easy one. Join us at Melbourne LIVE, to find out about Berlin’s captivating come-back story, how it faced the challenges of over-tourism, and masterminded a plan for its diverse neighbourhoods.

As our industry continues to innovate, and technology continues to deliver, bigger, faster, newer solutions each year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pace of change. This too is something we plan to address at Melbourne LIVE, with engaging speakers such as digital champion Simon Waller, and our MC Finbar O’Hanlon examining how our industry can embrace technology without losing the warmth of human connection that Melbourne is so known and valued for.

It’s important that the conversation around new technology continues, because we know visitors place a great amount of value on access to new tech. This is why technology is one of the five pillars of our Visitability program, because we know it is aligned with visitor expectations.

Earlier this year, we heard news of a new innovation called Angie, which you may have read about. Angie is a digital or artificial intelligence system being introduced to the accommodation sector this year. With talk of balancing human interaction with greater efficiencies in the industry, in this newsletter there’s an article looking at technological growth, and what it could mean for your business.