Author: Despina Karatzias


About Despina: Ignite excellence in people. That is the reason I get of bed in the morning and that is the reason my training and mentoring practice Institute of Excellence exists, delivering training in digital marketing, social media and tourism.


I had a moment this week. The proud, defining kind of moments that involves Tourism Geelong and the Bellarine, three businesses and a little social media platform you may have heard of, Instagram!

Let me explain.

Since starting my training and mentoring practice almost three years ago I have been pounding the regional tourism pavement decoding digital and social media. This has involved developing training from talking anything from how tourism business can maximise their social media to online reputation, searchability, findability, accessability and more recently how to create smart collaborations. In other words, how can we take two or more experiences partner up, package up and become powerful forces to be reckoned with!

There is a fabulous TED talk by Simon Sinek where Mr Sinek proposes his Golden Circle theory. His message is simple. Start with WHY. To sum up his eight
een-minute talk and book with the same title Mr Sinek makes a very valid succinct point that as businesses we know what we do and how we do it but very few know ‘why’ they do it. The why representing your purpose, your cause, your existence, the reason you get out of bed to do what you do.


Why should anyone care about your why?

“This little idea explains why some organisations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. As a result, the way we think, we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in, it’s obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organisations — regardless of their size, regardless of their industry — all think, act and communicate from the inside out.”

Inspired by Simons idea I have discovered that for tourism, the industry and business of experiences that you and I love has one more layer at the heart center of the golden circle. In my opinion the golden ‘tourism’ circle starts with WE. Destination, community, collective and an ecology of what is good for WE is good for me. Not the other way around.




On the first day of spring this year I headed to Geelong to share my thoughts on partnership marketing benefits, models and starting with WE ideas to an engaged group of businesses that inspired a great energy in the room with their enthusiasm.


1 September 2016: with Jake from Laser Strike Geelong after our Tourism Geelong and the Bellarine Partnership Marketing for Tourism Workshop

Two months on post this workshop is when I had my ‘moment’ when the enthusiastic workshop participant Jake from Laser Strike Geelong had me springing out of bed on a Sunday morning when he tagged me in the best Instagram post EVER in my training business!


13 November 2016: Jake delivers first ‘Big Day Out’ package to first corporate client, Metricon Homes

Since our Partnership marketing workshop in September he not only went on to create his first ‘Big Day Out’ package he attracted his first corporate client, Metricon Homes!

Here are three things I love most about what Jake did post our training together:


  1. Took action immediately

To make the most value of taking your time out of your business to attend any training, workshop or conference it is really important to go in with intent to act. Naturally, the quicker you act the better the results. Jake took his new tools and insights and got to work quickly. I call it the seven-day rule. Note your top seven insights, share them and do something about them within seven days.

  1. Reached out and collaborated with other local, like minded businesses

Jake started with WE. Any attractive package and destination value proposition to the type of visitor you want to attract begins with finding the perfect partners. Jake found them, reached out to local and like-minded businesses Geelong Golf Club and Sphinx Hotel and he was on his way to create an irresistible offer for $60 per person with loads of value and convenience that ultimately lead him to the ideal client he wanted to attract into the business, Metricon Homes.

  1. Closed the loop using social media to further engage and promote

He started with WE and then made it about WE using his social media tools like Instagram to share the fun he created with his client, new partners and little old me, a proud partnership mama that planted seeds of encouragement a few weeks prior to commercialise his collaborations. In return Jakes Instagram ping notifying me of what he achieved, Jake planted a seed of encouragement right back at me as a reminder to keep sharing these ideas around creating smart collaborations in our businesses.


This is taking action.

This is leadership.

This is partnership marketing.

Well done Jake, there was a reason we were matching in September. And thank you for keeping me in the loop. I really did have a moment and your Instagram notification made my day!

Thank you Tourism Geelong  and the Bellarine. It has been a pleasure working with you and your wonderful tourism community in 2016. Equally grateful for the opportunity to guest blog for you to share the success of our collaboration.

What have you taken away from Jakes action taking and will action in your business?

Here’s to your excellence,

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