Tourism with a Capital "R"
There is no doubt that this is the time for domestic tourism destinations to shine. There are popular, more obvious, more promoted travel locations off the table for a lot of the population and now people are starting to research into where they are allowed to go for a memorable experience. As a seasoned NSW traveller I can certainly point people in the right direction for an amazing experience in NSW and the ACT but there is one thing that destinations and travellers have to get right for it to be a continual opportunity for the visitor economy and that is RESPECT.
NSW is full of amazing experiences, you just need to know where to find them and unless you have an experienced domestic travel agent in your back pocket it is hard to find those amazing must-do experiences! Destinations need to take a hard look at their marketing. Long gone are the days of 'tell them and they will come' or just promote the scenery and some accommodation options and bookings will flow. People are a little more complex today. Actually we always were, but now we are just impatient.
The on-demand style of products and services we have in our homes and work is creating the same on-demand requirement for our travel and holiday research needs as well. As destinations, we need to RESPECT our market needs and start getting better at giving our potential visitors ways to provide information and access on-demand. There are many ways we can do this, from the time people start looking for options for travel, the time they enquire, the time the book, the time they travel to destination, the time they are immersed in the experience AND the time they depart the destination and return to their home.*
Online presence has never been more important than now. Respect that this is the place people are every day and if they have a question they 'google' it, and this does not change when a family asks "where can I go this school holidays". If you are a destination or an experience, its hard (and can be expensive) to get noticed on your own, so here are some key things to absorb to get better at this;
Your Website - make sure you have as much content as possible that reflects your destination or experience and what people will feel at your business, treat your website is an extension of your product and experience as a website needs to be marketed to! Include and link the layers to your experience. Include destination content and link to destination or region information that can tell the destination-al story, and include other experiences that can give people more enticement to come to that location, list things they can do. But perhaps the most important thing you can do on your website is to be bookable and/or accessible. Respect the on-demand needs of your clientele and respond in a timely fashion, give people the option to lock-in the experience. Remember that time poor clientele are often researching these things outside of business hours.
Your Online Presence - once you have your website as the source of truth on everything for your experience, your marketing just got a hell of a lot easier. Use your other online content to direct people to this source (and the relevant pages) and filter people through your seamless access and bookable website. One of the most asked questions I get from my clients is "but where should I be online?" The answer is relatively simple "where your key target markets are"!
Which brings me to the final tip, Know who your target market is - there is no point being on Tic Toc if the Z Gen's and Generation Alpha aren't your key target markets. There is no point joining Caravan and Camping Facebook groups if you provide a luxury six start touring option. Understanding you market more gives you insights into the opportunities that you can match your product to.*
But finally, as I mentioned in the introduction there is a need for our visitors to also have the R (Respect) when it comes to a sustainable visitor economy. And unfortunately as tourism destinations and tourism operators we often have to remind our visitors of this, in careful, respectful ways. This often varies in messaging depending where your destination is but a great example is that of the Sturt's Steps Project, which can be seen pictured below. Places where agriculture mix with tourism can provide the most amazing experiences but come with risk of conflicting outcomes. I can't stress enough that destinations need to lead these discussions and get their stakeholders on the same page for an effective approach to sustainable tourism messaging.*
So if you are wanting to increase your tourism potential, understand your key markets for your destination, product and experience as best as you can. Respect their wants and needs by seeing how your promotion, your people, your place, your distribution can be matched to reflect their needs. Work with your regions stakeholders and respect your industry by showing you care for its longevity and show your visitors how they, in turn, can also respect your destination and industry.
*Visitor Economy Development can help you with options if you don't know where to start.