Travel Marketing can be a little intimidating if you are considering starting a new regional tourism business.
Don’t believe the fashion hype. Starting out small is smart and a beautiful thing, and here's why.
Just where has all this fashionable aspirational tourism stuff come from? Do you ever flick through a magazine and wonder how the childhood road trips to visit the grandparents has evolved into needing luxury luggage, or nothing less than a trip for four to the Gold Coast, for a Disney-like experience? So much marketing focuses on aspiration, high end, as though we all want the same thing from our travel as we move about for fun or business, or out of necessity. Do you ever wonder, just how did travel come to be such a fashionable status symbol? And how can your region or your tourism idea, modest as it may be, stack up against the weight of such glamorous expectations, anyway?
As you start thinking about getting into tourism, this might help to keep it real and keep motivated despite being bombarded with aspirational marketing woo-woo. In all of the great ‘journey stories’ such as The Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Thelma and Louise, the New Testament, ok you get it…. the main characters do a LOT of travel. As they seek refuge from armies, try to win their wives back, sail past sexy hussies, wrestle golden jewellery from goblins, collect new disciples, and outrun the cops, they still need transport, shelter, food, company, directional information, companionship and the odd souvenir (Wookie mug, anyone?).
My point is, hospitality is fundamentally a service industry that's evolved from a basic bed night and meal to Instagrammable ‘experiences’ by influencers on elaborate adventures to very cool places. It’s become ‘aspirational’ for many, a status symbol. But while travel is an escape to some, it’s a necessity for others, a chore, part of a job, or a regular vacation. People are travelling for ALL sorts of reasons, not just leisure or fashion – and herein lies your opportunity.
Consider the business travellers, the groups of tradies who need to stay in region overnight for a large build or roadworks, teachers’ conferences, workshops and year-round government events. Families travelling to regions for funerals, parties and special occasions (Weddings, Parties, Anything?). They have budgets and needs.
Small business can work smarter, for example;
- If you offer breakfast in house, linking with a local café you can add $30 of value per head in your accommodation or van park, without having to set up a commercial kitchen yourself.
- If you link your attraction with another attraction with a two-for-one deal you share visitors, keeping them longer and split the profits with half the marketing costs.
Small is beautiful and as Paul Kelly sings, from little things, big things grow.
This is an excerpt from Susan's new book. Buy your copy of Booked Out! How to Start and Grow a Successful Regional Tourism Business here.
Contact us, call Susan Lee