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Unlocking the Potential of Underutilised Spaces for Tourism

In tourism, innovation is key to staying ahead of the curve and maximising profits. One of the most effective strategies for tourism businesses looking to increase their revenue is to tap into underutilised spaces. These spaces, often overlooked, can become unique attractions that offer new experiences to visitors.

Conducting a space utilisation study can be a game-changer. It helps identify which areas of your business are not being used to their full potential and provides insights into how you can transform them into profitable ventures. For instance, an empty rooftop can be converted into a beautiful rooftop garden that serves as a venue for events or a serene café with a view.

Hotels and resorts can look into their existing spaces and rethink their use to drive additional revenue. Underutilised areas such as lobbies, courtyards, or even parking lots can be repurposed for social gatherings, exhibitions, or seasonal events. This approach not only maximises the use of space but also enhances the guest experience, making your property a destination in itself.

By bringing life to forgotten buildings or vacant areas, you can create a buzz that attracts tourists and locals alike. Imagine turning an old warehouse into an art gallery or a pop-up market space. These kinds of initiatives not only utilise space efficiently but also contribute to the local economy and culture, and minimise and sometimes even improve the environmental effects, especially in comparison to building new. They also often attract different target markets, and maximise opportunities for the spaces to work to provide additional income streams.

Heritage and historic uses are often an asset in adapting space. Approval bodies in Australia generally support adaptive re-use of heritage places for tourism uses, and the stories embedded in their walls are priceless. Even spaces that are not yet historic have their stories to tell, and can be adapted into beautiful and successful spaces. Read more on adapting heritage buildings here.

The key to making more money in the tourism business by converting underutilised space lies in creativity and strategic planning. It’s about seeing the potential in every corner and transforming it into an opportunity that benefits both the business and its customers. With a bit of innovation, those underutilised spaces could very well be your next big revenue stream. So, take a look around – what hidden gems are waiting to be discovered in your space?

Interested in knowing more? Check out our case studies of Bungaree Station, Torbreck, Wirra Wirra and Utopia @ Waterfall Gully to see how conversion of underutilised spaces have created incredible tourism assets from buildings and spaces for our clients.

Read more about Flexible Space in Hotel Design at this related blog post.

Our webinar ‘What Else Could I Do With This Land?’, hosted by the SA Wine Industry Association, discusses examples of diversification of land use for tourism and adapting underutilised spaces. Access the webinar here.


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.