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  • Wayfound Visitor Information Bays

24th March 2017

Visitor Information Bays – The key to the start of a great tourist experience

Tourism is now recognised as one of the main economic drivers for regional Australia with both intrastate, interstate and overseas visitors choosing to visit the Australian countryside. When visitors first arrive in your town one of their first stops will be the town or shire’s visitor information bay. The impression this gives can set the tone for their whole experience of the area. Badly designed or poorly maintained visitor information bays give the impression that the locals don’t care or don’t value your visit.

During 2016, Wayfound worked with many regional local governments to refurbish existing visitor information bays or design and project manage the construction of new structures. If you’re thinking about upgrading or replacing your existing visitor information bay, the following information will help you plan and implement your project.

Kingscote, Kangaroo Island visitor Information Bay

A common example of of a bay that has been neglected. This typically happens when there is no plan for managing content and maintenance. So, instead of providing useful information to help and inspire the visitor, it has become a chaotic and unattractive mix of information. The map is tiny and a lot of the advertising is not relevant for visitors.


What are the key requirements for a good Visitor Information Bay?

The key requirements for a visitor information bay can be broken down into three basic categories –

What can I see & do? – local history & attractions, activities & events, walk & drive trails
What services & facilities are available?  – services & amenities, accommodation options, key contacts
How do I find what I’m looking for? –  area and regional maps

It is important when planning the content for a visitor information bay to ask yourself “is this information relevant to visitors?” To often these projects can get hijacked by local vested interests who think they should be listed and located on visitor information bay information when in fact they shouldn’t. If you set up a criteria for listing at the start of the project you can head off these problems before they arise.

Shire of Shark Bay - Denham Visitor Information Bay

Shire of Shark Bay – Denham Visitor Information Bay (under construction). The wire frame drawing (top) gives the visitor centre staff a basic layout for each of the proposed three boards. This helps them flesh out the content required and plan for the final artwork (bottom)

Shire of Shark Bay - Denham Visitor Information Bay

Shire of Shark Bay – Denham Visitor Information Bay – Shark Bay Region information panel (under construction)

Advertising should we or shouldn’t we?

One of the big questions to consider when planning a new visitor information bay is “should we allow advertising?” The revenue from advertising can be good for to fund the ongoing maintenance but without guidelines it can quickly become a mess with operators each trying to make their ad stand out from the others. trying to out-do each other with their signs resulting in visual clutter that quickly detracts from what the project set out to achieve.

Guidelines should be established and all artwork approved before an advertising panel is approved for production and installation.  All advertising should be for a set period of time and renewable every twelve months. Best practice is to develop a template system that each operator has to comply with. Each operator supplies text, images and their logo  to the visitor information bay management, who then have the sign produced and ready for installation. This ensures a standard approach and maintains the focus on providing information to visitors in a clear, simple and accessible.

Shire of Toodyay Visitor Information bay

It’s not my job! Who’s going to look after it?

Nothing lasts forever. In many instances a visitor information bay is built but there is no planning or funding allocated for maintenance.  The information bay needs to be regularly cleaned and checked for graffiti and vandalism.

Apart from the structure the information panels are generally made of printed vinyl. These vary in quality and UV resistance, with the best materials having about a 7 year lifespan and even less in coastal locations . Check with your supplier and always request the highest grade vinyl and apply an anti graffiti laminate to give extra protection against vandalism.

Keeping information up-to-date

Each year an audit should be undertaken to check that all of the information is accurate and up-to-date. If information is incorrect it should be updated or removed. This can be done by replacing the vinyl on the information panel. The sections most likely to change are the town services, accommodation and tourism operators.  In most cases the local history and things to do section won’t change that often and this probably only need to be looked at every couple of years.

Pingelly Visitor Information Bay with mapping and information panels

Newly refurbished Pingelly Visitor Information Bay with mapping and information panels designed and produced by Wayfound.

We can help

We hope the above information is helpful and will make the planning and development of your visitor information bay project easier. If you’re planning a visitor information bay project this year please give us a call, we can help with community consultation, design, content creation and project management.