For tourism operators in 2020, there has never been a more important question to ask than: How do I attract local travelers in the face of a global international decline? COVID-19 and the associated travel restrictions have turned where tourism operators seek their customers on its head. Seize the opportunity to understand your potential domestic and local demand to stay focused on enticing travelers that you can bring to your business.
We’ve collated a couple of thought-starters on how to attract local visitors in the absence of international booking demand.
It might be easy for local residents to write off your business as one that was not meant for them. However, by creating valuable packages aimed directly at those who live in your destination, you can prove that there is something for everyone at your tour and activity company. For example, you could create a package that includes a tour or activity as well as a picnic lunch filled with local food products collected from other nearby businesses. This package showcasing all that your destination has to offer can be given at a discount to those who live there.
It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to purchase the gift of an experience rather than give traditional material items as gifts. Promote your tours as an experiential gift that anyone in your region can enjoy. These gift cards are the perfect product to promote during the holiday season, as people try to think of the best things to give that special person on their list.
Eventually, you can expect the tide to turn and your international bookings to recover. However, when you have put the effort into attracting local visitors, you will uncover additional market segments that you can continue to tap into for years to come. Local residents appreciate feeling like they are a part of the tourism industry in their own destination, and they will continue to recommend your tours and refer other locals to your company.
One of the best ways to grab the attention of local visitors is to showcase your commitment to the local community. As a travel-related business, you may have spent a lot of effort building your online visibility and creating a brand that is recognised around the globe. It’s easy to forget about your local community when you have your sights set high. However, being an active partner local community events and festivals is a great way to prove that you support the local economy as well as the international economy. It can help boost your recognition among local residents, who may not have realized that you have something to offer them as well. It will also help bring awareness to your experience from other businesses in your community which will encourage those businesses to refer you in kind.
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Read our blog on ‘5 ways to attract tourists to your tour or experience business’ here.