By OSCAR PERRI
Expert guidance deeper into the digital world and some cash – up to $10,000 – from Desert Knowledge Australia’s DKAccelerator program is boosting an expansion of tourism facilities in Standley Chasm, says manager Nova Pomare.
The business runs cultural tours, a shop and cafe, manages the campgrounds at Standley Chasm and is experiencing a national visitor boom linked to the near shut-down of overseas travel.
Ms Pomare says when they were accepted into DKAccelerator, she had already begun work on plans to upgrade, with a rebrand, new social media pages and new cloud based point of sale and accounting systems as well as advertising campaigns.
Five First Nations run businesses have been chosen out of a field of 19, and are in the early stages of the six month Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade funded program.
“I’d already started, but I needed that helping hand and expert advice, this is just an opportunity for us to grow even further with some financial support as well.
“If you’re doing it on your own … you’re just sort of trying to get to where you need to be without any guidance.
“This really helped to structure where we’re going and how we want to do it and actually follow through.”
By the end of the program in November, Ms Pomare expects to have solved some current business problems with technology, improved the online presence and booking system, worked out a new marketing plan, and developed the skills in their staff to support this change.
But right now she’s in the middle of figuring out how to do all that.
“I want to see some huge changes with our technology we use here, I want to see better flow, streamlined and upgrades to our cultural tours and how we present them, so it’s just going to make it work a whole lot easier.”
Ms Pomare says that for much of the peak tourism season they are fully booked and are having to turn people away
“My forward booking look very scary, we’ve got enough staff for now but we’re going to get absolutely smashed in the upcoming school holidays.
“It’s time for people to come and see us in Central Australia and see how beautiful our place is.
“We’re absolutely chockers at the moment. I don’t want to turn people away, and I’ve got nothing negative to say about people coming up, it’s just at the moment we can only do what we can do.”
Like many other businesses in Alice, they are struggling to keep up with demand due to staff shortages, but she hopes that the digital system that she is developing will make life easier, but won’t be up and running in time to help this year.
“I think once the program ends, it’ll be the trial and error and what worked and what didn’t, and how can we do it better in the new season.”
She says that infrastructure upgrades are definitely on the cards in the future, but growing their online presence is the most important thing for Standley Chasm at the moment.
“You’re never finished with anything in business, you’re always trying to grow and continue what you’ve started.”
PHOTO: Ms Pomare serving visitor in the cafe.