How events are shining the spotlight on Australia’s dining scene in 2018

Let the Games begin!

There’s a real buzz in the air this month and if you’re on the Gold Coast, you know what I’m talking about. For the first time in more than a decade and a first for a regional city, Australia’s sunny Gold Coast is hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games on its coastline.

With 1.5 billion viewers in 70 countries set to watch, the event is also expected to attract an extra 650,000 visitors to Southern Queensland in April, injecting an estimated half a billion dollars into the local economy over the next four years. This is great news for the local business, particularly within the hospitality industry. It’s no secret that the Gold Coast’s dining scene has evolved over the years. It is becoming one of Australia’s most exciting dining hubs as we see an emergence of boutique restaurants opening up on the southern-end of the coast, particularly in places like Palm Beach and Miami, which are embracing new dining concepts built around the philosophy of collaboration and shared dining. As a result, we’re seeing a number of restaurateurs come together to create memorable dining experiences for locals and visitors to the Gold Coast, such as The Collective, Rick Shores and Hideaway Kitchen and Bar.

However, the Gold Coast isn’t the only region benefiting from events this year. The annual Noosa Food and Wine Festival, this year being run by Visit Noosa, further enhances the culinary culture of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Tipis on the beach at Noosa Food and Wine Festival. Image Supplied

As we move through 2018 these type of tourism events will raise the profile of the outstanding culinary scenes of these regions both locally and in international markets. Further cementing Queensland’s culinary capabilities, is the addition of 12 restaurants which made OpenTable’s Top 50 list in 2017, a strong indicator of the calibre of dining that the state has to offer, while these events give businesses the ideal platform to impress the world.

So how can restaurants capitalise on this sporting fever and influx of tourism? Here are some tips to help hijack topical events throughout the year:

  • Travellers seek recommendations through brands that they trust. Our recommendation marketing engine delivers on this, honing in and targeting diners beyond the reach of local venues, and more importantly coming into the region to book at venues on OpenTable.
  • Review your social media marketing strategy. Visitors turn to social media for inspiration when dining out in a new city, so by making sure you’re tagging your location, jumping on current hashtags and interacting with your diners online, it heightens your chances of luring in new and repeat customers.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something different. When major events are in town, it can be a great chance to get creative. For example, entertainment events, such as the Logies, could inspire a ‘Hollywood Glamour’ theme and create an opportunity to develop a bespoke cocktail menu inspired by the TV shows being celebrated.
  • Launch a promotion around a nearby event, whether it be sport, a concert or tourism event.This helps drive business and generates awareness of your restaurant to a much larger audience who attend these larger events. Essentially, you’re riding off the coattails of that event’s marketing as well. Examples of this include offering 10% off to people who have a ticket to the volleyball game, or $5 off any purchase before a concert that is down the street.

Remember, events always bring a sense of excitement and energy to the air. Make sure you get involved and have some fun with it – you never know who you’ll impress!

See you at the finish line.