Key Takeaways from the NoVacancy Conference: Insights for Tourism & Hospitality

Last week I attended the NoVacancy Conference held at the ICC in Sydney. With an impressive show floor exhibiting innovative solutions to technology, design and distribution, it certainly had something for everyone. In particular, I was drawn to the range of expert speakers and panels presenting throughout the 2 day across a range of topics for small hoteliers, technology, hotel marketing, design talks, revenue and distribution, sustainability and hotel leaders.

Whilst near to impossible to summarise the hours and pages of notes from conversations and presentations, here are a few of the key themes in the sessions:

Business Development

  • The 3 P’s = People – Train your People, Product – Improve your Product and Profit – Know your Numbers.
  • Vacation Deprivation – did you know 62% of people need to take a holiday. Desire is there.
  • Focus on staff retention.
  • Regardless of what stage the business is at; Set the Vision, Resource the Vision and Execute the Vision.
  • Complacency is the sworn enemy of excellence.
  • When it comes to rebuilding the industry, develop people, build the future with them or for them.
  • Invest into a culture of loyalty, so that everyone in the business is onboard.
  • There is a change required to lead the next generations, adapt rather than expect.
  • As a leader face your fears rather than run away from them.
  • Put energy to driving revenue growth rather than trying to reduce costs.
  • Do the little things well.
  • Care for the individual people who are doing the job day to day. How are you making them feel? As they are the face of the business.
  • It’s a mental fitness challenge now for tourism & hospitality leaders.
  • Training is the greatest tool we have at our disposal. We train staff in life skills experience.
  • Leadership and Culture are the two key drivers for people to love and perform best in their workplace.
  • Do you have a true loyalty program or a database at best?


  • Hire for Attitude and Train for Skills.
  • Look for personality and potential for development.
  • Train staff well in guest services and empower them.
  • No one gets in trouble for making a decision, they get in trouble for not making a decision. Back your people to think for themselves and make decisions.


  • To drive customer loyalty, how do you create guests for life?
  • Some guests want automation and some guests want connection. Know your customers.
  • Know the moments that matter to your customers and ensure you make the moments count.
  • Work on consistency across the whole customer journey to ensure best possible customer experience. Where are the gaps?
  • Create value through personalisation. If you create the value, they will pay, they will come.


  • AI will not replace humans, humans with AI will replace humans without it.
  • AI is meant to enhance the staff member’s role and ability to do their job quickly and efficiently.
  • Digital touchpoints can supercharge the guest experience.
  • Have you mapped out your digital ecosystem – does everything talk together or is the complexity or dysfunctionality of systems impacting the business and teams?
  • Clean up guest data, make sure it’s accurate and up to date.

The NoVacancy Conference provided valuable insights into the ever-evolving world of tourism and hospitality. These key takeaways emphasize business development, team dynamics, customer satisfaction, and the importance of a robust digital presence. As the industry continues to change, staying informed and embracing these principles will be crucial for success.

Let me know if you’d like to know more.





P.S Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you develop your tourism business leadership capabilities and achieve consistent business growth:

  1. Grab a free copy of our E-Book – How to Attract, Train and Retain Your Tourism Talent
    It’s the core principles for success in attracting new tourism talent, training new and existing staff, then retention strategies to ensure you keep the keepers — Click Here
  1. Join the Tourism Business Leader’s Facebook group and connect with like-minded leaders focused on building highly effective teams
    It’s our Facebook community where smart leaders get to learn more about creativity, leadership and performance for tourism business success. — Click Here
  1. Create Your Tourism Pro-Team and Drive Consistent Growth
    Helping tourism business leaders develop their skills to improve engagement, accountability and performance of the team and business. If you’d like to work with me so you can stop being reactive, have the difficult conversations and drive performance to get the results you want and know the business need and can achieve then… message PRO to me here and I’ll get you all the details.
  1. Let’s get the Whole Team Together
    Would you like a different perspective and someone else at the front of the room or on zoom/teams to lead regular and consistent team building, accountability, and engaging learning experiences, that drive results and outcomes for individuals, teams, and the business? If you feel a little challenged with everything going on, maybe sounding like a cracked record saying things repeatedly, or actually not 100% how to motivate and drive the team, given the current nature of business, it may be useful for us to chat. Message TEAM to me here… and tell me a little about the business, your team, and what you’d like to work on together.


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