Staying Green and Growing During a Challenging Year that was 2020

Interviewed on December 11, 2020

In this episode digitally discover…

  • How the owner of Sky View Units, Jackie Burling seized every opportunity to stay green and growing by going digital during a challenging year.
  • The many pain points associated with owning/running an accommodation business.
  • Key takeaways for small businesses 
  • How to successfully apply for a grant.
Digital Discovery Show - Jackie Burling

Despina Karatzias 0:18
Hello, good morning Happy Friday. Welcome again and welcome back to the digital discovery show. My name is Despina Karatzias. Yes, and I come to you as a product Tourism Tribe and Navii Digital chief navigator.

Welcome to our final episode of 2020. We’ll be back in the new year with more digital discovery love but for now and today we are going to finish strong with a Queensland inspiring story to share with you. Now we’ve talked speaking of Queensland, Queensland State of Queensland and Queensland businesses has been very well placed in our mind this week as we’ve launched, and a newly available program uh, to all Queensland businesses, tourism and non-tourism businesses and employees looking to start a journey working for a small business and it’s called the Queen’s land business revival. So if I it’s something that to look out for if you are a Queensland business, and if you have been impacted by the years and the adventures that were 2020 through the pandemic and natural disasters, we’ve really had our fair share of challenges this year. So if this is something that might be of interest to you, the Queensland Government is supporting this Queensland business revival program that Tourism Tribe and NaviiDigital are very proud to launch this week. It is available to any Queensland business and you have free training to the value of over $2,000 available to you all you have to do is visit que el de bes to register. And you not only have access to training program and courses centred around job prospecting, SEO, Google ads, managing cash flow really important things. You also have access to our signature program that has been delivered tried trusted by many other businesses around the country. Our digital bs keeper 101 is also available to you for free within the program. If you are a proud Queensland business that could do with a little bit of support here, finish your year strong or start your us strong in 2021. So qL DB is is where you need to go. And all you need to do is specify if you’re a tourism, hospitality business, or if you would like as a small business in any industry like to receive that training. So thank you to the Queensland Government and all our friends there. And thank you to everyone that has already registered for the program. It’s been incredible start so far. Now, speaking of sharing, Queensland story and business operator that has really taken on board learning, growing and developing her business. I thought she was the perfect, perfect guest to come on the digital discovery show because if there’s anybody that has shown up this year, and if we had a Business of the Year for just committed to digital transformation, it is our special guest, Jackie Burling from sky view units now Jackie, she’s a true bornite Don’t you love that she is Skyview units a from Bowen in Queensland. She is, you know, as she self confessors She is a true bowenite born and bred in Bowen. And I love her goal. She says My goal is to see Bowen become discovered more for being a great family-friendly holiday destination. So without further ado, welcome to the discovery show, Jackie Burling. Hey, Jackie.

Hey, just know it. worry. Well, thank

you. Thank you so much for accepting to come on our show you really are such a perfect guest to come. And in the year on because there hasn’t been, or, you know, no, I’ve come across some group coaching sessions that we have, you went early on to do our big revival program. And, and I just Yeah, I just love how you operate. And I thought you will inspire many with your story. Now, speaking of your story, please let everyone know where you are, what you do, and how you got started in owning operating sky view units. Well, we actually started, my husband was involved in fishing, so we bought $1 off his dad. So that started in about 1994 when we had little children, and we ran that, and then we wanted to sort of get out of that. And the opportunity came up. We bought as a group SCADA units, and strata title them set up a management part, and we ended up buying the management of the other two couples. And, yeah, that was 16 years ago. So very proud of Bowen. I think it doesn’t get probably recognised as much, and we don’t have the infrastructure there. But for retirees, it’s a perfect place to visit, we’ve got the best beaches. And it doesn’t matter which way we’ve got beautiful wind break breezes, sea breezes, even through summer. It’s lovely and cool. And it doesn’t matter which way the winds blowing, you’ll always find a beautiful beach, we’ve got lovely walking tracks, it’s just a beautiful place to visit.

And sky view is it’s more of an affordable family

type accommodation and we do other accommodation for long term people if they want to be self-sufficient and cook for themselves. So it’s it’s a lovely place. We’ve met some beautiful people being part of Skyview made some lovely friends from all over the world and, and a few of my really close friends actually when they moved to Berlin, stay with us. And one lovely girl that is like my other daughter. She’s got three little boys, and I was there for all of the boys. Her family live in the UK. So I yeah, I’ve made some beautiful friends and made more family from being a skivvy. What a great story in your perfect, what an amazing ambassador, you are for your destination. And this is something that we talk a lot about. And what also even looking at Skyview Units in sharing that story. That destination story is really important, not only for your business, but as a collective as a community. How important is that? Do you feel in that collaboration? Because I know you do a lot of work in region as well. You’ve you’re on many boards, you’re you’ve become a great advocate for the destination. Is that something how important has that been in your journey that not only when you’re promoting your business? Now you’re obviously we’re talking from the travel sector, when you’re promoting your business? How important is it that businesses that we do look how naturally you’re able to also talk about all the benefits of your destination and also showcase that is equal to understand where you are, and the benefits and the features around you. I think businesses bone businesses will bow and people in general everyone is very proud of their town. And we’ve got a lot of connection with withstand day tourism like we’re a group. So Bowen Collinsville, and the Whitsundays is all one region. So our council is Whitsunday Regional Council. It’s everyone is telling the same story. And I think it is something that even if people choose to go and stay at Ailey, if you stay for five days, come and visit Bowen, have a day trip, go out to Collinsville, and have a day trip. It’s about an hour away from each of them. And then I think if the more people that are telling that same story about you know, you can spend a week in the Whitsundays But not necessarily all of them at elite, you know, you can have your day trip away to bow and and all of those are other areas and you just it’s just a different type of holiday but beaches in Bowen, you walk on the beach and you’re not, you know, one of 50 or 100 or, you know, like you just got, you can find a beach that you can have by yourself. Beautiful, beautiful scenery. It’s just yeah, I can’t talk enough about when and how beautiful it is. And another friend of ours, Amanda who who does, as you know, the success matrix, she’s, she’s was a Townsville girl. And she used to bring her families to bond all the time, because, you know, get away from Townsville, and she’d, her kids were little land. So she loves bone as well. So yeah, I’m, I’m very lucky, I’ve met some really lovely people doing this digital journey, and I’m not very good at it. I do try very hard. And I do all the courses and only workshops and have good intentions and then go away and then being the only one that does it all. I’m the cleaner when the clean is down sick. And I’m all of those other things. So it is hard to fit the digital part in. But it’s so important. And I hopefully will get better at it now and embrace it, Amanda, she’s a great friend of ours, and she’s been on the show as well. You and and her you know you love both so much. I want to be up all night to who I suspect is a loving family member. But Jackie,

thank you for joining us. Now, Jackie, through COVID. And through this year. Now you talk about that, you know, wearing all the hats being with the Lena and the accountant and the reservations and everything that goes with running a business through COVID. What were some of the point pain points that you experienced that really propelled you to say, Okay, I’m going to take this time to really put the focus in the digital side of my business, you have you have a call an aha moment there that this is where I need to focus my time on through these journeys. It’s funny because Fabie lead magnet and yeah, lead magnets and, and hooking people, you know, if they’ve, if they need your, they need you or they they need your services to be able to get them to then that they can access you and I had done a course with Fabie about a couple of years ago, a workshop on Instagram. And I love to and I had all good intentions of going onto Instagram. I don’t think I did anything at all. But then she then had my email address because I wanted to know more. And I think it was just when everything was going into lockdown. And je sent an email out to everybody saying there’s this fantastic lockdown 12 week course. And I thought right, I’ve got to try to do something. While I’ve got the time. And I had to change my target market we put in seasonal workers, which definitely wasn’t what we had planned. But we were fortunate enough that we’ve actually we haven’t really had any issue as far as occupancy. But yeah, I did spend a lot of time with both. I’ve got a lot of nights I’ve got a lot of to dues but I don’t think I could have done it without them. Yeah, it’s it’s been amazing. The knowledge that you can get from the course from this being a member I actually joined Tourism Tribe as a member and I think I sent Fabie message and said, well, you’re stuck with me forever because I’m I’m just changed. You know, everything’s updated regularly so you’re getting the best and

yeah, it’s so affordable for somebody that can’t afford Good to pay a lot of money format.

It’s just Yeah, it’s a good place to start. Excellent how much we all love Fabie. And we will happily Have you for life because we did it and love having you onboard because it just it does. And I’ve titled this show green and growing, when it comes to us specifically, because that’s, that’s how that’s I guess the whole reason for our been keeping ourselves green and growing, and particularly in the space. It’s always evolving, it’s not a set and forget, there are only Yeah, I can’t really think of too many things that you could do and just leave it, we always have to be in evolving. So it’s lovely to be part of a community with like mindedness like that. Now, in terms of the challenges outside of our most precious resource of time, to apply a lot of what you’ve just shared that slowly, slowly, you could start applying the knowledge. And I know we’ve spoken offline. And I do say this to a lot of our businesses and our members, that sometimes it’s even helping with your key decision making. That is the that is the value in this that you can be in the driver’s seat of strategy, strategic bus moving forward. So guess what’s been the most challenging thing that you’ve found going digital in, in your business and how you’ve been able to overcome, overwhelm and overcome any of those challenges that you’ve experienced? I found it really difficult. I’m, I’m someone that has to learn by hands on and it is quite frustrating, even when you do get more knowledge. It’s not, it’s not that easy, until I’ve done it a few times. So I’m not sort of, at the age where new things come easily, but it’s just even having the knowledge that if you then employ somebody to fix your website, or you, you know, you get somebody to help you say, you know, whether they’re, you sort of got enough knowledge that you know, whether they’re doing the right thing by you or not, and whether you’re getting value for money. I yeah, I think it’s something that I think knowledge is, I go on to the with the course you got two, two hour sessions a week that you could actually sign on to, and there were small groups. And if you had a problem I would get on and they would help you. And even if I didn’t have anything particularly that I wanted done, I would go and sit and listen. Because you’ll always learn of somebody else’s problems. And and then maybe be able to pick up something along the way and every time I always pick up something that’s a bit helpful. I think the main thing for me is time. But yeah, that will always be a problem. And I think I’ve sort of tried to learn to be a bit blind because I had so many things on the to do list. And I still haven’t done most of them. I’ve made some really great friends through those small groups. One lady Karen from the Gold Coast, she has the same booking system as me.

And she’s just she must help a lot of people but she’s just so lovely.

Despina Karatzias 18:55
That must be Karen’s door sorry. Daddy’s not

Jackie Burling 19:06
me so isolating when you’re on your own finding like minded people that are sharing the same experiences. And I’ve found it’s a shame really that in in your own town and it’s probably not anything that that like minded businesses can’t all working together because even if you have 10 accommodation places every place is different. And I believe that if you get people to own first before you sort of, you know if they don’t necessarily are going to get a beach view at my place, but I can tell them where to get a beach view if that’s what they really want when they come because I just want people to come and enjoy bowling and come back again and tell their friends and I think that’s where I found, you know, there’s been people on this course that are from the Great Ocean Road and a lot of places that I’ve met an avid gorge, you know, it’s just great to be able to listen to their stories and, and, and get inspired by them and what they’re doing. And and I think it’s just nice to know that you can sort of share a little bit. And I don’t know whether you still build or not. But Friday afternoon used to pay the happy hour. And I got to meet quite a few people on that. And it’s just lovely. We did a, we had one fellow that was had a winery, and we did a wine tasting nice. So we all bought his wine in and I got my friends over. And we were joined in and it’s just lovely to get, you know, I’ve learned a lot about Australia, and different places that I want to go and visit these people afterwards because I sort of class them now is nearly my friends, you know that they’ve helped me a lot. So yeah, it’s, it’s been fantastic. I love I actually miss now that I’m finished the 12 week course, catching up them. But I still I part of my membership was I get to small group sessions a month, and try and come to those as well. So it’s just lovely to just be able to get a little bit more knowledge, but also just to see everybody’s, I’m as you probably gathered, I love, I love people. And I yeah, I appreciate everything that Debbie and Ms. have done for me in that 12 weeks. And Amanda You know, there’s so many good

Unknown Speaker 22:00
along the way.

Jackie Burling 22:02
Oh, look, Jackie, and what is notable about yourself too, you see the journey, because I know in the in the group coaching sessions, and that is, I guess just staying connected this, and you can pay just from the emotion that’s come out of you, when we talk about a challenging year, and particularly that period of time, we all have the uncertainty. But it’s also been wonderful that you pass on that knowledge as well, you’ve come on to the coaching calls, and now you’re, you’re you’re imparting your knowledge, tell me about some of those wins that you’ve had, that you’ve been able to either eternally internally, in your, in your business or things that you’ve been able to accomplish on your own, that you once thought I you know, that you’ve done it as a as a challenging task and saw it through to completion. I, I’ve Well, I’ve recently just applied for a grade, which I was successful at. And just probably just actually, I was lucky, I was down with my daughter. And she sort of encouraged me to, to do it. And it was, it was something that I probably didn’t have the knowledge to actually know what I actually wanted the grant money for. So, you know, I’ve, I put down a big list of things and

very, very fortunate that I got accepted a lot more help with doing extra pages on our website and and making it all,

you know, SEO friendly, or, you know, Google friendly, that people can find me trying to sort of get more you know, with my target market sort of so that people are if they are searching for, you know, a family holiday that they do get to come to my website. So it’s it’s a lot of it’s amazing. I hopefully they’re going to set up templates for me, all of that sort of stuff that I don’t have time to do. But hopefully then that that will make me be able to do it a lot easier. So yeah, I’m I’m really excited. I couldn’t believe that I got it. And I probably your specific grants that you applied for or was it when you put in the proposal? No, no.

So it’s, it’s through the Queensland Government and it was a small business adaption grant. And then

they had a first round. And I started to put in and the money went straight away really quickly. So I missed that opportunity. And then they did a second round. I think down your way or not you were in Victoria, but down in the bigger area of Brisbane, the money went pretty quickly. But regional Queensland there was still money available. So I thought, well, I’ll probably miss out again, but I’ll try. And I was lucky, I was down with my daughter. She’s just had our first grandbaby. So, yeah, it was good. Because probably, I was just nursing the baby, and I had a bit of time. So I probably wouldn’t have done it otherwise. But it just, it just worked. And I’m very grateful. But I don’t think I would have had the knowledge if I hadn’t done that. That’s incredible. And there’s a key things that they said there’s been a lot of support for small businesses through education grants, and, and even something like the Queensland business revival program, but good on you. And that’s incredible. That’s a great way to see also the value that you’ve put in your you’ve taken time, out of your business to work on your business. And what an incredible reward for that coming in at the end of the year that you’ve been able to have a lot of clarity on exactly what it is that you want this funding to go towards. Yeah, I’ve had a really lovely message here from Emily, thanks for joining us, Emily, this is so sweet. It’s so great to see how like-minded individuals can connect, grow and prosper together over a common interest, such as the tourism industry. And it is so true, because I love that there’s, there’s your you know, you’ve got your local community. But that’s the another benefit that we’ve really, we’ve really seen and appreciated and not taking for granted in 2020. And beyond is this ability to connect in this way. Together, that takes away all the geographical boundaries that we could come to our stories and our challenges and our learnings. And that’s certainly what I’ve admired about you that you’ll come to group coaching calls and said, Oh, no, no, I don’t have any question. But I know I’ll get something out of this. Others through what others are experiencing. Now for anyone listening that joined us live or watching the recording, what would be some of the key things that you’d like to share to our audience and other like minded operators that have a finding themselves now at that crossroad that really need to, you know, they put it off long enough to start exploring ways that they can improve their digital capabilities. What would you? Yeah, what would be some things that you would impart, you know, any knowledge or wisdom to impart on them? On what they could they? Yeah, how they could take. Take that journey to that next level? I think that it is pretty scary, particularly if you’re older, like me, because I don’t like Instagram is I’m on there, but I don’t really post. I don’t really understand it enough. But I know I have to. I know. You know, Baldwin’s beauty is all I have to do. Really. It’s just just getting to that next point. I do think there is so much value in Facebook and Instagram. And I didn’t like to admit it, but I think that that’s that’s the way everybody has to go. And I do think that you need to have your website looking easy to to navigate. And I do think you have to have the information there for people.

Unknown Speaker 29:20

Jackie Burling 29:22
I think there’s a lot of importance in it. And even if i a lot of the times I don’t put my own post, but I’ll share something else that I’ve seen that that’s happening in Boeing. Because I figure Well, you know, if they can see that, then that’s something that maybe they’ll come to bone and they’ll remember that they saw it on Sky view and look us up.

Jackie Burling 29:47
Yeah, I’ve I just think it everyone’s got to try and just think that’s the way it has to be. I don’t think you You will get seen if, if you just sit back and wait for people to come in. And book, you’ve got to, you’ve got to be seen as, as being there. Yeah. There’s a lot of other things. You’ve appreciated things that you it’s putting, it’s appreciating that whether you have an opinion on social media or Facebook or Instagram, you’ve recognised how its benefited your business. And even seeing that in my Facebook that I’ve just shared with them. I love, you know, again, you can really see that you, your community-mindedness. And taking that approach that if it’s, you know, it’s even if it’s not something directly related to your business, that you have that as part of your marketing mix, to share what’s happening within your local community to spread the word and, you know, ultimately, you’ll be rewarded for you get rewarded for it. For that, as leaving, I guess, as a leader in that community and in, in your patch. Jackie, what a What a joy to have you how to best connect with you now. skyview, if you’ve been bone inspired, and want to connect with Jackie. And that’s how to find out more about Jackie’s business. And to follow Jackie’s journey on Facebook and Instagram. You just look up skyview units there too, and find out some more information. Jackie, it’s a it was a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you for taking the time. I know you’re you’re even enjoying a little break of your own at the moment and making the time to come and join us. Look, it has been it has been wonderful to see your journey and what a treat to see you come to see you on the other side of of 2020. With this incredible grant that now you are completely leaving you are the driver on your bus and make paving the way for all of the things that you’ve learnt. Yeah, we know it now. You know, we know what we don’t know. And now you’re empowered with the knowledge to make some great decisions. Thank you, Julie. We’ve had Julie, join us love and appreciate your honesty, Jackie, it can get trickier to stay abreast of social media. As an older person you’ve got to try absolutely spot on. absolutely spot on. So Jackie, thank you, everybody, that’s joined us thank you have a wonderful Christmas to you and, and your family, Jackie and to all of our audience out there. Thank you for joining us on the live show. Thank you for joining us on this journey. This has been Episode 17 of the digital discovery show. We’ll be back with more guests like beautiful Jackie, to share this story and experts that we meet along the way that have valuable, invaluable I should say information that we all must get, get across and share with you. As I mentioned earlier, the Queensland business revival que el de bes For anyone that’s missed out on grants or missed out the opportunity. There’s plenty of great stuff for you that is available for Queensland businesses there. So just be mean Jackie, one last time. And until next time, Jackie, I wish you all the very best for the remainder of the year and I look forward to more I guess more sharing, sharing in 2021 Thank you, Bye.


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