We love getting out to our local agritourism ventures – we are spoilt for choice with so many amazing enterprises in South East Queensland. But like any venture, entry into agritourism isn’t something to be taken lightly. Take the time to work through the risks (including legal, operational, reputational) and how you’ll manage them.
Do you have all the approvals you need for your new venture? Some of these may include:
- Shareholder or board approval
- Licences to serve food or drink
- Planning and building approvals (e.g. for new accommodation)
- Licences for camping (tents or caravans)
You’re the experts here but you might want to visit the Australian Government’s Biosecurity page to make sure you’ve got it all covered.
Amongst other things, you’ll need to educate your visitors about what they should and shouldn’t do, where they can and can’t go and why it matters.
Identify what could be hazardous to your visitors. Some things will be more obvious (livestock, chemicals, moving plant and equipment) than others (uneven ground might trip up those city slickers).
Assess the risk (severity, effectiveness of control measures, action you should take and how urgently). Consider in particular your new activities, but also your existing activities given there will be more people about.
When controlling risks, consider what you can do. Controls higher up the list are better.
- Is one of your proposed activities simply too dangerous and should be eliminated? Like riding wild brumbies
- Could you substitute it? With riding pet ponies perhaps
- Or isolate the hazard? Lock the kickers and biters well away from the public
- Perhaps introduce engineering controls like sealing off the moving parts of machinery so wandering hands can’t find their way in
- Administrative controls like warning signs might be there when you aren’t
- And finally, if you are running tours or conducting activities, consider personal protective equipment (hard hats, iridescent vests and so on).
Also consider other ways to mitigate the risks to your business like waivers and insurance.
4. Dealing with consumers
If you are new to dealing with end-consumers, there are a number of issues to be considered. Here are a few examples:
- Marketing: Do you have a process in place to ensure your ads, social media and statements on your website are not misleading and deceptive? If you are running an email marketing campaign, are you across the spam laws which include the need for an opt out?
- Complaints – While we all aim high, sometimes you can’t satisfy everyone. Are you ready to respond calmly, clearly and in compliance with the consumer guarantees?
Thank you for reading an Abledale Tale. As the name suggests, this isn’t advice, it’s just a story. Whether you are starting out or branching out, please get in touch to discuss how we may be able to assist you.