Ideas Labs, Peer-to-Peer Learning

ideas labs

Get Inspired and Inspire Others! Tactical, Practical Solutions to Prepare for 2021 

2021 will require our collective talents, creativity, and ideas to continue to adapt to COVID-19. To help fast-track your thinking, get insights from others, and share ideas, RTO8 is offering nine different Ideas Labs with speakers from 5 provinces, in February and March. 

Each topic showcases innovative solutions on how businesses are tackling the pandemic. Everyone participates in the discussion, everyone takes away tactical, practical ideas. This offer is available, for free, for any businesses within the Kawarthas Northumberland region.  

Sign up here:

Check out the line-up

1. Identifying New Sales Channels to Attract New Customers, Anne Marshall, Elmhirst Resort, ON

In 2020 we were forced to adapt; 2021 represents a time for growth and continued creativity to attract new customers, through new sales channels, to enhance the revenue potential for your business.  Join Anne Marshall, of Elmhirst Resort, to discover how thinking through the lens of what you love to do as a traveller, can pivot your thinking to attract and service a new market to drive sales.

This session has passed, but you can view the session notes here:
New Sales Channels to Attract New Customers

2. Attracting Small Groups Through Adapting Your Offer Ideas Lab, Donna Bennet, Westben, ON

2021 will be vital for tourism businesses to open, welcome guests, generate revenue and contribute to rebuilding traveller confidence. How each business contributes is part of a delicate matrix of planning, forecasting the impact of COVID-19, and the ability to adjust their products, services, and experiences.  Join Donna Bennett, co-owner of Westben as she shares her story of the proactive, strategic decision making and rationale for attracting small groups for 2021. This will be followed by inviting each participant to share their insights and ideas to inspire collaborative and creative thinking. 

This session has passed, but you can view the session notes here:
Attracting Small Groups Through Adapting Your Offer

3. Why Now is the Time to Invest in Your Business, Ian Stone, Tour Gros Morne, NL

Risks, rewards, reality. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced every tourism business to look into the crystal ball and decide where to invest their precious cash reserves and/or take out a business development loan for a future that is still being defined. Ian Stone and his wife Rebecca, owners and operators of Tour Gros Morne and Taste of Gros Morne took the bold niche step to invest significantly, despite COVID-19, in anticipation of future business and a desire to remain in their small town and start a family. Join Ian, a veteran of the tourism industry, to discover why now is the time to invest in tourism.

Feb 16th  or March 9th @ 11:00 -12:00

4. Sustainable COVID 2020 Business Adaptations that will be Retained in 2021, Tim Lucier, Northern Edge Algonquin, ON

Faced with the need to adapt to change in 2021, each investment has to count as part of planning for 2021, but be an investment in the long-term success of your business. Join Tim Lucier, of Northern Edge Algonquin, a millennial working full-time in the family business who will share the changes they have implemented at the Edge and share how the investments made in 2020 will support their business growth and resiliency in 2021.

Feb 18th @ 11:00 -12:00

5. Expanding Your Customer Base During a Pandemic, Brenda Hetman-Craig, 40 Knots Winery, BC 

In response to COVID-19, businesses have had to make significant changes to attract and sustain their customer base, find new ways to generate new, sustainable revenue streams calculating the capital investment risk. Join in a lively industry discussion with Brenda Hetman-Craig, Co-Owner, 40 Knots Winery in British Columbia to their commitment to a gold-standard approach to product and market development.

Feb 23rd or March 11th @ 11:00 -12:00

6. Driving Itineraries – Let’s Get Moving, Terry Dow, Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association, AB

Covid vaccines are coming and so, we hope, is some of the pent-up demand for travel. But 2021 will remain a year of cautious optimism for many as they choose to vacation in Canada for another year. Expedia’s research reports that 70% of travellers will be comfortable travelling within a six-hour radius. Driving itineraries are a great way to invite people to explore a region, but not venture too far off the beaten path.  Join Terry Dow, the former Director of Tourism in Grand Prairie who put the wheels in motion in 2020 and set the stage for the region’s driving itinerary plans, before returning home to the Niagara region to launch a new tour company targeting travel for women. 

February 25th, 2021 @ 1:30-2:30 or March 25th @ 11:00-12:00

7. Rethinking Your Value Proposition to Attract the Domestic Guests, Ric Dreidger, Churchill River Canoe Outfitters, SK

Discover how reassessing what is truly valuable to your customers can lead from losing 95% of your business at the start of the pandemic, to an amazing recovery three months later. Join Ric Driedger, Owner/Operator of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters in Saskatchewan as he shares lessons learned in reassessing and changing key design elements of their visitor experiences to attract the local market and a new customer base.

Mar 2nd or March 16th @ 11:00 -12:00

8. Staying Alive! Turning a Festival into a Food Hike, Chris Sheppard, NL

What happens when the province’s #1 festival is canceled due to COVID-19? You get creative. You develop a new experience, partner with amazing companies and attract a new audience. Join Chris Sheppard, a chef, a festival host, and a destination management Executive Director to discover how their inability to host their annual festival led to the creation of Newfoundland’s new Food Hikes and why it will remain a permanent offer in the future.

Mar 18th or March 30th @ 11:00 -12:00

9. Revamping your Covid Offer: Concept, Price, Capacity, Debbie Nightingale, Haute Goat, ON

Costs are up, the number of guests are down, Covid continues to bring uncertainty, and you need to make end meet to get through 2021. Join Debbie Nightengale, co-owner of Haute Goat as she describes why their company took the bold step to raise prices and reach out to new markets rather than discount their experiences. Learn what choices were made, why and the benefits they are realising. Then we’d love to hear from you about how you are working with pricing your products, services, and experiences this year.

Mar 23 @ 11:00 -12:00

We look forward to seeing you online! But hurry, the program ends in March and only 12 people are allowed per session.