Tulip Top Gardens won’t let COVID-19 restrictions stop them from delivering their popular tulip garden experience to the public – even if it means revamping its entire business model.
The spring destination, located at Bywong just north of the ACT border, was informed last Friday (31 July), it could only permit 20 people into the venue at one time due to recent tightening of restrictions and social distancing measures in NSW.
Deciding that the family owned and run business wasn’t viable at this capacity, marketing and administration manager Molly Rhodin immediately started thinking of ways to bring the experience to the public.
“We were very disappointed when we got the email on Friday afternoon but once you get past the initial slap in the face you need to just think ‘things happen’ and choose your attitude,” she said.
“I started to play around with the idea of how people could still connect with the gardens, how we could play around with the idea of a visit and how to keep it interactive and COVID-safe,” she said.
Ms Rhodin thought of offering customers a digital subscription of the gardens, including professional quality video, time-lapse footage and filming of the gardens at sunrise and sunset.
The company put a call-out on its Facebook page on Saturday, asking followers if they would be interested in the idea and they received an overwhelming response.
“We have had over 900 comments on that post of overwhelming support, and had over 400 people share it,” Ms Rhodin said.
“Overall, we have had 10,000 engagements and the post has reached almost 66,000 people.”
Tulip Top Gardens were originally scheduled to open on 12 September this year and run until 11 October, and usually welcome thousands of visitors across its month-long season.
Now, the Rhodin family are working with videographers to bring their digital idea to life.
“Part of my engagement with these companies will be scoping out what it actually looks like,” Ms Rhodin said.
“Considering there are a lot of people attending the gardens that aren’t overly IT savvy, we need to think about not having live digital opportunities that customers might miss.
“My initial thinking is filming for the whole month we would usually be open for and then moving to the professional editing stage and distributing it as a downloadable file as a whole package.”
The venue usually charges $40 for a whole season pass but will be charging a reduced fee of $20 for the digital subscription.
They are still working through details on the subscription and hope to have more information next week.
“We want to use this opportunity as rather than see this model as a deficit, to promote it as a wellbeing opportunity for people, knowing they won’t miss out on the annual event,” Ms Rhodin said.