How online experiences driving economic growth – and jobs.
Since being sent home, RedBalloon has been working tirelessly with our experience supply partners to find a range of online and delivered to home experiences. In just over a month we have now published more than 100 new activities which provide much needed business for these small businesses in our network.
On 2 April RedBalloon published a Virtual Distillery Tour and Tasting Pack a month later more than 400 people have now done that experience in only a month. And new team members have been employed to help with the fulfilment of these experiences.
Our Market Manager Rebecca Madden took the time to sit down (virtually) with Tiny Bear Distillery founder Damien Anderson to see if what he has discovered could be useful to other activity suppliers.
Q: Tell us about your business.
A: Tiny Bear Distillery started in 2017, during our own personal haze of 2017. I had been a chemistry teacher for 8 years and I needed a change – a new challenge. Distilling spirits was something I’d been doing for a while at home in my spare time and loved doing it.
Q: Why did you start Tiny Bear?
A: My main reason, when I drank something I made, it made me smile, and it made my friends and family smile as well. I fell in love with it. I wanted to bring that same passion to everyone.
Q: What was the impact of social distancing on your business?
A: 90% of our customers (servicing bars, hospitality, as well as our regular distillery activities and visitors) were wiped out overnight. We essentially had to change the way we did things, otherwise we would be closing our doors.
Q: What you were your products prior to social distancing?
A: Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we had two experiences listed on RedBalloon. The first being our in-depth gin making masterclass, the second a gin and cheese pairing experience.
Q: What was your response to social distancing?
A: We have had to make massive changes to our business. Our first step was to help pharmacies develop sanitiser by making ethanol – putting our equipment to good use, but we really wanted to re-create that “smile” event for the business, from a safe distance.
Q: What new products have you developed for Experiences At Home?
A: We’ve launched a Virtual Distillery Tour & Tasting Pack. The pack includes everything you need. It’s as if you were visiting the distillery and having the tasting at Tiny Bear, except from the safety of your home.
Q: What’s been the impact of launching on Experiences At Home?
A: The major advantage we’ve had is Exposure and Reach. Our usual client base is pretty exclusively focused in the greater Melbourne area. Since launching online, we’re getting virtual visitors from the locals that are less than 2km down the road, to visitors from 2,000km away in the Northern Territory. It’s blown our minds really.
Q: Has Experiences At Home helped?
A: Without adapting to going online, we would almost certainly be closed. Going virtual with RedBalloon has allowed us to keep all our staff in jobs, seen us grow our brand and reach, plus kept us busy. For us to be able to grow our brand in a time of downturn is a major opportunity, and we are focused on coming out of this crisis stronger than we were before.
We are looking for more experiences
If you’ve been inspired to create a virtual experience, or know a business that you think could benefit from connecting with RedBalloon to bring a new experience to our business and consumer customers, now is the time to innovate.
- Name of the experience (idea)
- The contact details of the business
- Your contact details.
Our team will review the new experience idea against our supplier checklist and will work directly with local business to help make the experience idea a reality with RedBalloon. To reward your innovation skills as a ‘RedBalloon Researcher’ once the experience is launched online, we will send you a $100 RedBalloon voucher which can be used to enjoy our brand new Experiences At Home range right away or you can wait until we are out and about again and purchase any of the thousands of RedBalloon experiences already listed – vouchers are valid for 3 years.
Also published on Medium.