CoE Update | February 2024

Welcome to the Latest Centre of Excellence Update

In February the Centre of Excellence delivered four workshops on how tourism and hospitality operators can leverage technology, particularly AI, to enhance their business. 
Presented by Bart Sobies these workshops explained how AI can be a game-changer for small and medium operators, that focus on practical, cost-effective solutions. Bart gave practical examples of how AI can help streamline business operations using existing information to enhance efficiency and improve customer engagement and satisfaction. He presented real-time case studies to demonstrate how operators could look at using their social media marketing, email marketing, and online booking platforms to analyse performance and get a better understanding of how their business is perceived by their customers.

For those who missed the workshops, a video of one of the presentations will be available soon on the Destination Sydney Surrounds South website.
For those who are interested in learning more about AI, TAFE NSW is offering a free introductory course to AI. For more information, click here. 

Testimonials from the workshop:

“From this session we gained valuable insights into leveraging learning AI and how Chat GPT can benefit small businesses.

This became particularly pertinent to our Valley Outdoors Team as Bart emphasized the significance of implementing AI-driven customer support, showcasing its potential to provide ongoing assistance and personalised interactions with our customers. The session also highlighted the automation of routine tasks, enabling streamlined operations and efficiency boosts such as using Chat GPT to do role plays for staff training and development. 

What we were most excited about was the benefit of deploying AI tools for market research and insights, helping us to forecast trends and tailor strategies accordingly. We learnt what avatars truly mean for small businesses, and how to create targeted marketing campaigns based on our ideal “Avatar”. With the ever growing aspect of social media management, we had hands-on experience to learn techniques to enhance our online presence. Bart’s facilitation was engaging, knowledgeable and fun! Overall, we left the session feeling equipped with practical applications of AI technologies, providing a roadmap for our small business (Valley Outdoors) to enhance operational efficiency and customer engagement.”

Sarah Frenay, Owner/Director Valley Outdoors, Kangaroo Valley

“The workshop with Bart was fabulous – packed with practical info from an engaging and knowledgeable presenter. Another fantastic opportunity to learn new ways to build and grow within the tourism industry. Thank you SCCOE!”

Kelly Woods, Jervis Bay Maritime Museum

“The course was an excellent introduction to the world of AI and its practical applications in chatbot development. Bart’s expertise and engaging teaching style made complex concepts easy to understand. I was able to begin using what I learnt straight away for our marketing, print and digital. The session changed the way I do things and has given me a refreshed option for content production and analytical tasks. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in AI and chatbot technology.”

Mia Maze, Club Sapphire

Industry Survey

The Centre of Excellence will wind up at the end of March after delivering 51 programs to the tourism and hospitality operators on the NSW South Coast. These programs have been available free to the industry and to date, we have had over 1300 attend from across the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley local government areas.
As this was an industry-led project, we would appreciate it if you could complete a survey to provide feedback on the program and how it has benefited your business. This data is extremely important to Destination Sydney Surrounds South and Destination Southern as it would provide insightful industry information that would support a business case should other funding grants become available.
To access the survey link please click here.

What’s Coming Up in March 2024

Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level Two Course

The Centre of Excellence is delivering a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level Two Course in the Shoalhaven which is fully subscribed.
This is an internationally recognised and highly regarded course and the Centre of Excellence is proud that it has facilitated six of these courses since August 2022 that has seen 106 from across the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, and Bega Valley complete the Level 2 WSET course and 10 at Level 3.

Managing Seasonality Workshops

Seasonal demand. It’s one of the greatest challenges for any business, particularly for tourism and hospitality operators. Both feasts and famines have their issues. Either your business can’t keep up with demand, or there’s not enough work to pay the bills and keep your staff employed.
The Centre of Excellence is conducting a series of five workshops, presented by Catherine Shields and Kate Mather, to address the practicalities of managing the peaks and troughs. The content will include advice and strategies that can be applied to your business and will feature case studies showcasing how simple and inexpensive changes to your business to reduce the effect of seasonality.

Workshop dates and venues:

Registration for each session begins at 8:30am.
Morning tea and a light lunch will be served.

** Click on the individual links to register **

For more information, download the workshop flyer. 

Other Skills Training and Education

TAFE NSW Hospitality Courses

TAFE NSW is currently offering Statement in Basic Barista Skills. Expand on your appreciation of coffee with this short yet robust course. Brew shots with the perfect crema and steam milk to perfection. Gain basic barista skills and the confidence to find work in a busy cafe environment.
Click on the links below for more information and enrolment opportunities.
TAFE NSW – Batemans Bay

TAFE NSW – Moruya 

TAFE NSW – Ulladulla

 For more information on these courses contact your local TAFE NSW College.

. . .

NSW First Program

Destination NSW delivers the NSW First Program to assist tourism businesses across the state to develop, promote and sell their tourism products.

It includes face to face workshops and online webcasts that offer ‘how-to’ insights on a range of topics for the tourism industry, with events regularly added to the calendar.

Find out more and view on demand webcasts on the Destination NSW website.

For assistance with the NSW First Program and to discuss your business’ needs, please contact the Industry Development Manager at your Destination Network:

For Shoalhaven operators:
Aaron Matis
Destination Sydney Surrounds South
[email protected]
For Eurobodalla & Bega Valley operators:
Jenny Robb
Destination Southern NSW
[email protected]
. . .

Business Connect

Looking for support in running your business? Find and book a Business Connect webinar or event from business experts. Develop your business skills and help your business achieve its potential. Visit the Business Connect website for further details.

We welcome any feedback on our programs the Centre of Excellence and any ideas that could be considered to develop and grow tourism and hospitality on the NSW South Coast.

Speak soon,
Robyn and Sam

Robyn Johnson
Manager Skills and Opportunities
[email protected]
Sam Tooley
Industry Partnerships Specialist
[email protected]
This Local Economic Recovery project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the New South Wales Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Images: (1) festive message, (2-4) WSET courses held during 2023, (5-10) THE Schools Days held during the year, (11-16) Local Knowledge Famils held during 2023.