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November 14, 2011

Central New South Wales TOUR DE FORCE

When five luxury accommodation providers across Central New South Wales decided to join forces, the result was a significant marketing boost for the entire region. Lisa Doust reports. Images by Renate Ruge

 After having a quick phone chat back in late 2008, the owners of two high-end boutique hotels in Central New South Wales quickly realised that two heads would be better than one when it came to promoting their properties.

“For quite a while I’d been wanting to work on marketing our property along with others in the region, as Bathurst just wasn’t being marketed as a great destination in the same way Orange and Mudgee were,” explains Christine Le Fevre, owner of the award-winning Bishop’s Court Estate in Bathurst. “After working closely with a wide range of Bathurst businesses to collectively market Bathurst, it was the regional approach that was next touted. We then got a call from Ray Whitfield, who was thinking along the same collaborative lines, and the idea of group marketing started to gain momentum and take shape.”

Ray, who owns the Mudgee-based Wombadah Guesthouse with wife Kay, had discussed the idea in Mudgee and his talks with Christine endorsed the concept into the wider region.

The next step was a meeting with three more luxury accommodation providers in the region – David and Annette Buckland of Arancia Bed & Breakfast in Orange, Vicki and Andrew Hudson of Evanslea by the River in Mudgee, and John and Hilde Gerathy of Five Frogs Luxury Guesthouse in Carcoar – and the collective initiative entitled Amazing Country Escapes was born.

“We then started talking about the concept to Central NSW Tourism and they loved the idea and offered their total support,” says Christine. “The official Amazing Country Escapes launch took place at Parliament House in March 2009. It was positive for industry and investors to see that we were putting our money on the table and taking our product to market, and it was clear that our group would be great for marketing right across the region, which encouraged Tourism NSW to embrace and endorse us.”

AMAZING COUNTRY ESCAPES


Arancia Bed & Breakfast
69 Wrights Lane
Orange NSW 2800
Ph: (02) 6365 3305

Bishop’s Court Estate
226 Seymour Street
Bathurst NSW 2795
Ph: (02) 6332 4447

Evanslea by the River
146 Market Street
Mudgee NSW 2850
Ph: (02) 6372 4116

Five Frogs Luxury Guesthouse
3 Belubula Street
Carcoar NSW 2791

Wombadah Guesthouse
46 Tierney Lane
Mudgee NSW 2850
 According to Ray, the initial support shown by Tourism NSW hasn’t wavered. “They were involved in the development of our marketing strategy once we got to year two and have put their support behind a couple of successful grant applications,” he says. “Furthermore, they have supported us with advertising, famils with journalists and celebrity visits. When Layne Beachley and Kirk Pengilly toured the region as ambassadors for Tourism NSW earlier this year, they stayed at each of our properties and were very vocal about what a great experience they had!”

One of Kirk Pengilly’s key points was that Central NSW is “not that far” from Sydney. “Bathurst, Mudgee, Orange and Carcoar are all a cruisy drive from Sydney or Canberra,” Christine adds. “Our objective is to ensure that all visitors get to experience the people and places in the region that we are absolutely passionate about and feel so welcome that they want to come back again and again.”

This great passion for local businesses has led to each of the five properties signing on a range of ‘Experience Partners’ – another of Christine’s innovative marketing concepts.

“Bishops Court Estate had already developed strong relationships with high-quality restaurants, cafes, wineries, patisseries, beauty specialists, museums, galleries and artisan retailers, all run by passionate friends and described as our ‘Experience & Taste Partners’. These partners were always recommended to our Bishop’s Court guests to make their Bathurst experience exceptional,” she says. “We then introduced this idea to the rest of the group and now we all have our own Experience Partners that we work closely with. Knowing they are going to be treated as welcome friends wherever we send them makes the guest experience so much more rewarding,” Christine says with pride.

As Ray concludes, the unique Amazing Country Escapes concept has been beneficial to everyone. “Our five properties are spread out but we really work closely together to promote the region – it’s the best way to increase visitation to Central NSW and to our individual properties, and guests get to reap the rewards of our shared knowledge.”

For more information: visit http://www.amazingcountryescapes.com.au/ or follow Amazing Country Escapes on Facebook
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