We had a couple that suggested we go on TripAdvisor. Who’d ever heard of a farm going on TripAdvisor? So anyway, it took me about two days to fill in all the forms and everything else, and I sent emails and heard nothing, and then all of a sudden we appear on TripAdvisor. So, great news, we’re number 34 out of 34 on things to do on Phillip Island. I thought there’s only one way to go with this, so the next day I looked, we were number 35 out of 35. I was wrong again, we’d dropped. Since then we’ve had six reviews. We’ve been given five out of five for every trip, and I don’t know where we are, I haven’t had time to look, because I said to someone “You would’ve had trouble finding us on TripAdvisor,” and he said, “No, you’re in the number 15 or something now.” I thought, oh jeez, that’s great.
That will be one of our goals moving forward to continue to get those TripAdvisor reviews. A lot of the overseas tourists use the TripAdvisor so we’ve found we have got people through TripAdvisor, the brochure, information centre, and putting a sign out in the main street of one our customers and people walking past and taking a brochure.
We have been charging per head – 20 dollars an adult, 50 dollars for a family. Again, it’s flexible. I think you just have to build up that awareness for people. I don’t think we charge enough. Like, the one and a half hour tours that I did ended up being probably three to three and a half hours.
It’s just all gathering information, finding out, so the longer tours we’ll probably cut because the shorter tour is the longer tour. But the thing is that not only are people learning from us, ‘Bimbadeen’, but we’re learning from them as well – what the consumer wants and what they’re willing to pay and the questions they’re asking.
We tell them the story, not only about our beef and about the diversification, but the environmental story. There’s a fair bit to tell and every tour differs depending on whether they’ve got a two year old who just wants to pat Spot the tour guide that comes around with us.
Specifically for the farm tours, we bought Freddie and Eddie, a couple of alpacas that can be fed. So again, it just depends. More people are interested in the cattle.
We were lucky in the end. Again, it’s just keep hammering away at different places and different people. We had a quote for 5,000 dollars, so now the policy that I’ve ended up with is 1,800 dollars. It covers the insurance of our retreats and any public liability around the retreats and farm tours, just the safety aspect, just the numbers of people coming on to the farm and supervision of them. Again, there are exclusions in there as well. You can’t just throw someone on a farm bike.
This is a clip from “Walk the Talk” with Steve Davie: Resilience Through Diversity filming available for Farming Secrets Members.