Ideas Labs

4 Mins read

About Ideas Labs

The BC Tourism Resiliency Network together with the Tourism Café and the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat is pleased to be launching its next series of 12 Ideas Labs on four new topics from January to March 2021, selected by industry across the province.

Ideas Labs are part of the BC Tourism Resiliency Network’s suite of programs to support long term resiliency of tourism businesses through and to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ideas Labs are designed to be different from a webinar! They are short, 45-min, engaging and participatory sessions with everyone contributing to the conversation and sharing ideas on how to tackle key challenges being faced during COVID.

Each Ideas Lab kicks off with a short presentation by a BC-based tourism business, designed to ignite inspiring conversation during the facilitated discussion which is led by the Tourism Café. After each Ideas Lab topic is complete, participants will be provided with a Topic Recap of the key highlights so you don’t have to take notes and can focus on engaging, sharing, incubating ideas and connecting with your colleagues.

Each session is limited to only 12 participants from across the province. Ideas Labs is a program created
and produced by the Tourism Café in partnership with the BC Tourism Resiliency Network.

Topic Recaps

  • Topic #9: Building Back Better – Contributing to a Better Future for Tourism
    • COVID-19 has presented the tourism industry with a choice to consider: emerge doing business as usual or use responsible, sustainable principles to contribute to a better future for the industry. This session explores ways that tourism can look at sustainable, responsible and regenerative practices as an investment in building back better for long-term returns. Andrea McFadden will kick start the Ideas Lab conversation, sharing what Okanagan Herb and Lavender Farm is doing to build back better and contribute to a better future for tourism.
  • Topic #8: Business Model Innovation for a Sustainable Future
    • In response to COVID-19, businesses have had to make significant changes to generate new, sustainable revenue streams while investing in their infrastructure and outdoor spaces during a time of continued Covid uncertainty but knowing they must stage for the future.  Join in a lively industry discussion with Brenda Hetman-Craig, Co-Owner, 40 Knots to gain insight into one company’s approach to the future, then participate in a facilitated discussion with a small group of industry colleagues to share what your business is doing and be inspired by others.
  • Topic #7: Evolving the Meetings & Events Experience
    • COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on the meetings and events sector, requiring organizations to rethink their strategic and operational approaches to delivery. In this session explores how businesses in the meetings and event sector are evolving revenue generation models, delivery and experiences. Judy Kucharuk will kick start the Ideas Lab conversation, sharing how the Encana Events Centre in Dawson Creek has evolved and pivoted its business to drive new revenue and evolve the events experience for a sustainable future. 
  • Topic #6: Cultivating Customer Loyalty: A Visitor’s Lens
    • In this COVID era, businesses are having to look at new ways to attract customers. Your existing customers represent your best opportunity for future sales – they are your low-hanging fruit. Join Lesley Anderson and Jane Osler from the Tourism Cafe, as they share their experience as former guests at the Bike Hotel Belvedere in Riccione, Italy. They will share the practices used by the hotel to keep their base of previous customers engaged in ways that entices them to return year after year and ensures ‘they want to come back’ when it is safe to do so.
  • Topic #5: Leveraging Technology to Pivot Your Business
    • In response to COVID-19, businesses are leveraging technology to amend or introduce new online services and experiences in order to generate revenue and reach new audiences while their capacity to welcome visitors on-site is reduced. This session explores examples of tourism business innovations using technology to evolve business models, visitor services and experiences. David Gonella will kick start the Ideas Lab conversation, sharing how the Roots and Blues Festival has leveraged technology to pivot its business and drive new revenue and benefits for the organization.
  • Topic #4: Re-Imagining Your Assets: Looking at Product Differently
    • The impacts of COVID-19 require tourism businesses to look at their infrastructure and assets through a new lens, adapt and create different opportunities to generate revenue and potentially appeal to new markets. Kevin Belanger will kick start the Ideas Lab conversation sharing how Tesla Tours is adapting their product offer and will set the stage for industry participants to share examples they’ve seen in the market and how their businesses are evolving their products to generate new revenue, survive and thrive.
  • Topic #3: Human Realities and Human Resources: Supporting Your Staff During COVID-19
    • COVID-19 has brought a wide variety of new and unique challenges to the workplace, including increased customer aggression, heightened job security concerns, mental health challenges, staffing issues, etc. This session explores the new human realities on tourism businesses, resulting from the pandemic. HR Manager, Karina Gaudreau will kick start the Ideas Lab conversation sharing how True Key Hotels & Resorts is mitigating these challenges to support staff to survive and thrive.
  • Topic 2: Appealing to and engaging with Regional and BC travel markets
    • Bella Coola Heli Sports and Tweedsmuir Park Lodge have traditionally seen the majority of their visitors originate from long-haul domestic, US and international markets that have been significantly reduced due to COVID travel restrictions. Tim and/or Ben will set the stage for the Ideas Lab conversation by sharing how their companies are creatively responding to COVID-19 to pivot from a primarily international market to attracting regional and BC guests.
  • Topic 1: Welcome Signals | Creating Customer Confidence through Experience Design and Communications
    • In this session, Nancy Arsenault, Managing Partner at the Tourism Café, will introduce the concept of ‘welcome signals’ – the on-line and in-person indicators that strengthen the perception of visitors that their presence is valued. Nancy will set the stage for the group discussion, highlighting the different types of welcome signals and provide examples of companies and communities that are excelling as they re-invite visitors. 

Read the case studies here.