2014 Brolga Awards: The best little Bed and Breakfast in Darwin


Carol and Geoff McKenzie, owner/operators of Bromeliad Bed and Breakfast, Darwin

The Northern Territory is hot.

And I’m not referring to the upcoming stickiness of the Wet Season, I’m talking about the growing numbers of ‘switched on’ tourist operators who are making a journey to the Northern Territory memorable and dripping with ‘wow factor’.

Last weekend’s Brolga Awards were the 28th anniversary of the night at which the Top End’s best tourism operators get recognised.

But I want to take a moment to reflect on one winner, Bromeliad Bed and Breakfast.

One hosted tourism operator, lots of Google love

Through various workshops run by the Business Enterprise Centre in Darwin and through funding programs offered by the Northern Territory Government, I’ve had the chance to work closely with Carol and Geoff McKenzie, owner operators of Bromeliad Bed and Breakfast.

We had hoped to feature them in a very special, open house-style October Business Month event this year so that we could invite other small business people in to show them you do not need a huge budget or a team of 20-somethings to carve out an online presence and get connected with your customers. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

Instead, Carol’s approach to marketing has been to think deeply about her most attractive visitor types and then do her best to provide what they’d need to know on her website – from features about her facilities to her ‘treasure map’ of Darwin.

She has also been open to taking advice and has hence chosen WordPress as her web platform, opening the world of blogging to her, and opening her bed and breakfast to the world through Google.

Importantly, it is not a features-only or fancy social media content-only approach she takes, she actually pays attention to detail in choosing her breakfast menus, sheets, and bathroom goodies while using social media to shine the spotlight on these things and the things to do in and around Darwin.

2014-brolga-award-winnerBromeliad Bed and Breakfast’s win as Best Hosted Accommodation in the Northern Territory is well deserved and I hope will be an encouragement to other small business owners to have the courage to step outside their comfort zones and place themselves on the international stage, one small step at a time.

If you’d like to see the fruits of their hard work, just Google ‘bed and breakfast Darwin’ or any similar term and you’ll find them on the first page.

Credit where credit’s due: I’m looking at you, NT Government

Hats off to the Northern Territory Government too.

Tourism Minister, Matthew Conlan, says the government’s plan is to grow the NT’s visitor economy to $2.2 billion by 2020 to create more jobs and drive the development of North Australia.

I believe the Bromeliad Bed and Breakfast story is proof that the government’s foresight in providing targeted funding opportunities for small operators is working and can continue to work in building resilience in the Top End’s economy.

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