Delegate Innovation News | Edition #1

Five minutes with…..

Sean CanoeSean Blocksidge
The Margaret River Discovery Co
Digital Innovation for Beginners

Q.  What is the greatest innovation you have made in your career?
A.  Jumping off the corporate hamster wheel.

Q.  What global innovation has changed the way you do business?
A.  TripAdvisor has changed my life. I started my business in 2008, nearly went bankrupt as I wasted tens of thousands in marketing and promotions before I realised the tourism industry was rapidly changing with review sites and social media taking over the digital marketplace. I taught myself about search engine optimisation and embracing social media.  Those super easy-to-use tools have transformed the way I do business and resulted in a business that is sold out almost every day of the year.

Q. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
A. Every day as I paddle my canoe down the Margaret River I think to myself: “How can I ever do a normal job again?”  I’ve had some great roles as a hotel general manager and a winery operations manager, but my current job as self-employed tour operator has messed with my head. Maybe one day I will get bored and look to expand the business or get a real job again, but at the moment I can confidently say I pinch myself every time I paddle in that canoe.

Q. Who do you think is a great innovator and why?
A. Dubai Tourism. Dubai is possibly the most hideous city on earth, a city of soulless concrete and sand desert in blistering 50C heat, built by modern day slave labour.  Yet their impressive and strategically clever tourism campaigns and investment in the industry positions them as one of the world’s great destinations. The real innovation will be if they can sustain it over the long term.

Q. What can delegates expect to hear about in your session?
A. It’s going be a long day of talking so if you just want to look at lots of pretty pictures of the Margaret River this is the session for you. If you do want to listen as well, I am happy to share my personal experience of just how easy the digital opportunity can be for tourism operators both small and large. I spend no more than 15 minutes a day working on promoting my business and the reach is massive.  I’m astounded that more Australian tourism businesses haven’t fully embraced social media or have overcomplicated the way they do use it.