Picture this…….it’s the middle of a very dry winter, the rising sun has finally helped the mercury climb into double figures but the wind whipping around us makes it feel much colder. We are waiting with a group of about 50 tourists who like us, struggled out of bed while it was still dark and drove for over an hour through the Mars-like landscape along a corrugated and dusty road dodging the local marsupials cleverly hiding behind a few stubborn clumps of spinifex grass. We’re in the middle of nowhere at Lark Quarry, in Queensland’s outback outside a small town called Winton. We’re in dinosaur country and we are about to see the best preserved dinosaur stampede in the world.

Australovenator Business Lesson

Our group is a mix of young couples, families and retirees, of dinosaur enthusiasts and those who don’t know their sauropods from their theropods. These people all have one thing in common, a fascination with dinosaurs that not only made them get out of bed on a cold winter’s morning but has also made them travel extraordinary distances (including from Germany). All to look at some tracks left at the water’s edge 95 million years ago.

Why? What makes people travel so far to look at some tracks in the dirt? What can these dinosaurs that’ve been extinct for 65 million years and the tourism industry that has sprung up around them teach us about being a success in our businesses?

Point of difference

While other dinosaur tracks have been discovered in other parts of Australia the tracks at Lark Quarry are the best preserved tracks in the world. They show a carnivorous dinosaur stalking and then charging at a herd of around 150 chicken to emu sized dinosaurs. The explanation and story attached to these tracks brings the stampede to life.

Business Lesson: Promote your point of difference, shout it from the rooftops. It may be why a client chooses you over a competitor.

Authentic

These aren’t the casts that you might see in the metropolitan museums (who often keep the real fossils safely out of view), there aren’t any fancy special effects, they are the actual impressions left in the mud by dinosaurs 95 million years ago. These are the tracks that palaeontologists from around the world come to study. They are the real thing.

Business Lesson: There’s no substitute for authenticity. Be yourself. Be honest and you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Be Relatable

While most people have heard of a tyrannosaurus there’s no evidence they ever roamed the land that became Australia. At Lark Quarry and at the nearby Australian Age of the Dinosaurs museum all of the dinosaurs they feature are local, all unearthed around the Winton area including Australia’s very own carnivore Australovenator wintonensis and several new species of enormous plant eating sauropods (a bit like a brachiosaurus). There’s something amazing about knowing these dinosaurs lived their lives on the land where we now live.

Business Lesson: Ensure your business isn’t alienating clients because they can’t relate. Make sure your copy and marketing material speaks to the right people.

Partnerships

The dinosaur attractions in Winton and those in the nearby (by outback standards) centres of Hughenden and Richmond are marketed as Australia’s Dinosaur Trail. They each promote each other’s attractions. After all why just visit Lark Quarry when you can experience a fully operational dinosaur fossil laboratory, participate in a real life paleontological dig and discover fossils from Australia’s ancient inland sea.

Business Lesson: Partner with other businesses to improve your visibility in the marketplace.

Passion

The palaeontologists and staff at the Australian Age of the Dinosaurs were extremely passionate about their work. They patiently and thoughtfully answered the questions of a five year old, excitedly talked about their latest discoveries and happily posed for photos afterwards. It was clear that their enthusiasm had spread through to the volunteers and other tour participants. This was the highlight of our tour.

Business Lesson: Love what you do and your clients will be rewarded with a great experience, one that they’ll most likely share with others.

Even if you think dinosaurs were rightly relegated to the pages of evolutionary history you have to admire them, despite being extinct for 65 million years they have some serious staying power. Just ask any five year old.

 

Have you had your own amazing tourism experience? What business lessons did you learn?