A bookable experience is a visitor experience that has a set price and can be booked and paid for in advance.

By providing guests the opportunity to book and pay for a visitor experience in advance online, farmers can create tourism income in addition to their agricultural business income.

Bookable experiences also help you to manage where visitors can go on your property and when – ensuring it is safe, practical, and meets your biosecurity practices.

It is important that agritourism experiences can be practically delivered, and positively complement an existing agribusiness. 

Quick tips for farm gate experiences and farm tours 

Examples of farm tours, experiences, and demonstrations include:

  • Guided tour of your farm
  • Hosted session to pick and prepare, or take home, produce
  • Behind-the-scenes masterclasses, demonstrations, and interactions
  • Make or blend your own beverage or product
  • Meet the farmer or winemaker with a tasting and tour
  • Make your own souvenir with an artisan maker.

Look at your farm:

  • What are the farm’s best assets that make a great visitor experience?
  • Consider location, natural position, land use and permits required, people, animals, product, and existing infrastructure. ART Agritourism Toolkit (page 8)
  • Are there picturesque locations for picnics, morning tea or sundowners?
  • Are immersive tours that incorporate farms assets a possibility?
  • Consider the people on your property, who would be best able to host your experiences? What stories and expertise can they share?
  • Can farm produce be part of the experience? Provide visitors with an opportunity to taste, touch, smell and see produce.
  • Where will visitors be met and greeted? 
  • Signage – good clear visible signage, starting at the road is recommended. Provide visitors with maps and clear signage to show where they can picnic, meet animals, pick fruit, and explore your farm.
  • Road access – are any parking or road upgrades needed?
  • Where will bathrooms and handwashing stations be located? 

Tell your story

Visitors are looking for an authentic opportunity to see behind the farm gate and meet the people who live and work there. Every farm has a great story, and farmers are often passionate storytellers who can help create a memorable experience. 

Talking points to consider:

  • Tell the story of the farm’s region, its history and how it grows its produce. 
  • Tell the story of the region through food and drink and celebrate the local producers in the region.
  • Talk about the farm’s sustainable practices.

Find out more about telling inspiring stories here.

Think outside the box

Consider developing both ‘bread and butter’ and ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences

  • Your ‘bread and butter’ experiences can be booked regularly, such as picnics and farm tours.
  • ‘Once in a lifetime’ experiences are high value, unique and maybe available only at a certain time of year, creating a sense of exclusivity.

Create shareable moments, consider how your experiences could be Instagram-worthy. Set up beautiful moments featuring your branding that visitors will want to photograph and share on social media. For example:

  • A branded vintage tractor 
  • Picnic locations in an orchard during blossom season with branding on the glasses, basket or rugs 
  • Branded, colourful gumboots and raincoats to wear in the paddocks.

Work out what is practical

Ensure systems and processes are in place to streamline the farm business alongside agritourism experiences, so they grow successfully and sustainably alongside one another.

  • Think about the time and day of the week that will work best to conduct farm tours 
  • If you are not able to host visitors every day, consider opening exclusively for private, high-value bookable experiences by request, creating more opportunities for visitors to find and book your experience. 
  • Can the farm accommodate visitors during harvest or shearing? Is there a way that guests be part of this special time on the farm? 
  • What would be the best times for visitors to connect with your animals? Perhaps invite visitors to join in on a daily task on the farm, also consider the welfare of your animals and what would be appropriate for them.
  • An online booking system is beneficial for all visitor experience providers. This is important as it enables farmers to allocate time and resources towards the experience in advance. Find out more about selling bookable experiences online here.
“We have periods when it’s not possible to offer our full tourism packages due to harvest…To ensure we can keep our tourism business ticking along during these busy farm periods, we scale back our all-inclusive, hosted packages and offer what we call 'escape' packages which are self-contained and target a slightly different market looking more for an escape and relax.” Angie Armstrong, Callubri Station.

Image courtesy of Callubri Station

Quick tips for farm-stay accommodation

Farm-stay accommodation can range from providing camping sites on your property, to an all-inclusive fully serviced farm-stay in the homestead or other residence, where guests can enjoy meals, farm tours and activities.

Consider the following:

  • The level of service you would like to provide and what will work practically around usual farm business. Will it be a self-contained, self-sufficient experience, or more of a hosted experience that incorporates breakfast and other meals or tours as part of the stay? 
  • Look at existing assets/building/structures on the farm to see if there is potential to modify an existing building, such as the shearing shed, shearers/workers quarters etc. into accommodation. 
  • Plan where accommodation should be built. Is there an incredible view somewhere on the property?
  • Starting with non-permanent structures or moveable dwellings such as a tiny home to understand if agritourism is suitable on the farm long term.
  • Prefabricated modular buildings, many of which are architecturally designed, can be built offsite, are developed to reduce environmental impact.
  • Sustainability, how will you strive to make your accommodation sustainable? Get more information on sustainable tourism on our website and with our guide: Quick Tips for creating sustainable experiences.
  • The kinds of experiences you could offer your guests including walks, farm tours, and star gazing experiences. Try and think outside the box such as an outdoor bath or fine dining under the stars.
  • Any upgrades that will need to be made to the property to host farm-stay accommodation, such as roads and access, installing a deck or platform for glamping tents, or cooking shelters for camping.
  • Whether your farm will accommodate families or be adults only.
  • Whether dogs will be allowed to stay onsite.
  • Showcase local produce and wine by including a picnic hamper for guests to enjoy at the property.
  • Check what is available in the region, around the state and in Australia, and do a competitive analysis of accommodation. Start by looking at NSW farm stays on VisitNSW.com

Quick tips to maximise seasonality

An ‘always-on’ visitor experience is available throughout the year. A seasonal visitor experience is available only during a particular season. There is an opportunity for agritourism businesses to harness NSW’s strength of diverse seasonal appeal by developing experiences that showcase and celebrate our seasons, even if they are available only for a short period of time.

Agriculture has exciting seasonal periods such as harvest, vintage, shearing time and more. Often something different happens on a farm at any given time of the year. There is an opportunity for farmers to maximise these exciting times and invite visitors to immerse themselves in the experience.

Examples of seasonal experiences include:

  • Vintage – provide behind-the-scenes experiences during harvest or in the winery allowing guests to taste juices through fermentation.
  • Fruit picking – pick-your-own fruit experiences and tours of the orchard.
  • Sheep shearing – demonstrations of shearing to provide a safe and engaging way for visitors to be part of the action.
  • Truffle season – offer truffle hunts, truffle tastings or degustation.
  • Orchard trees in blossom – offer long lunches in the orchard while the trees are in flower.

Think about the experiences you can create that celebrate seasonal moments on your farming calendar and allow visitors to share in the moment.

Creating experiences during seasonal times may be challenging as these are busy periods on the farm with staff and resources. Consider what is possible within the parameters of the business.

If the farm already provides an exclusive seasonal experience, such as a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery during vintage, ensure it is promoted as such – these opportunities are a rare insight for visitors to experience. Tell your local tourism organisation, Visitor Information Centre and Destination Network who can help promote your experiences.

Quick tips for being sustainable

Sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, industry, the environment and host communities.

Read more about sustainable tourism:

Quick tips to make it accessible and inclusive 

Ensure your experiences and marketing are accessible and inclusive. Accessible and inclusive tourism creates an environment and visitor experience that is welcoming to people of all ages and abilities. Read more:

Quick tips for pricing your experiences

  • Learn more about setting up your pricing in the Develop Your Visitor Experience guide.
  • When setting your price, factor in the time needed to host the experience. If a tour requires two hours to deliver, ensure that the price reflects that commitment.
  • Consider offering a variety of experiences at different prices, to appeal to a range of travellers.
  • Including distribution costs (commission) into the price for bookable experiences enables you to sell your experiences to a worldwide audience through travel distributors. The maximum amount of commission you can expect to pay is 25-30 per cent. Learn more here.

Quick tips for promoting and selling agritourism experiences 

  • Ensure your bookable agritourism experience is easy to find and book online. Showcase new experiences clearly on your website, with inspiring imagery and clear descriptions and access details.
  • Ensure experiences can be booked via a clear ‘book now’ button on your website. Find out more here.
  • Promote bookable experiences in advance, before the season occurs, to attract visitors planning their next trip. Some experiences may open to visitors for a limited time each year, such as during truffle or cherry season, so ensure these experiences are promoted well in advance.
  • Create an ATDW-Online listing with your experiences to promote via VisitNSW.com.
  • Advise your local tourism organisation, Visitor Information Centre and Destination Network of new experiences and opening hours.
  • Find out more about promoting visitor experiences here.
  • Watch our webinar on how to create world-class agritourism experiences here.