Natural disasters, civil or political unrest, and a variety of other factors combine to deter foreign travelers from visiting your local destination. During times like this, it can be challenging to keep your business going, especially since you rely on getting a high number of tourist bookings to keep your business thriving. International bookings are good to have but just because those numbers are down, it does not mean that you can’t salvage your tourism business. This is the perfect opportunity to shift your focus towards attracting local visitors.
For a travel and tourism business, you might have spent time and resources to build a global brand that it’s easy to overlook local prospects. If you can’t entice enough foreign bookings, these are the best strategies to use to bring in local bookings instead.
Promote Local Events and Festivals
Tying up your local tourism efforts with events and festivals is a smart strategy. First and foremost, it is one of the best ways to showcase your support towards the local community. You could sponsor a local festival or community events. This will help boost the local economy and also get your business exposure among the local prospects.
Another benefit to promoting local events and festivals is that you will establish your business identity as part of a specific community. There are a lot of people out there who are inclined to support local businesses and tourism – you can use this opportunity to target them.
Create a Travel Guide About Your Area
Travelers are the lifeblood of any tourism- and travel-related businesses. It is a smart marketing strategy to focus on their needs (and wants, too!). While you might be targeting locals, there are some people who might get a kick out of an informative guide. Some will be excited to learn new things about the local area they have come to know. This could incite their curiosity and try the destinations and/or activities you recommend.
Make sure to tie in your guide with some of the tours and activities you offer. Keep your guide as informative as possible and include recommendations that are not often included in other guides.
Start a Social Media Challenge
Challenges are very common on social media these days, especially on Facebook. You can exploit this well-loved internet sensation to start your own challenge and increase visibility for your tourism business.
An idea for a challenge is to convince a certain number of people to participate in a challenge over a certain amount of days. As they challenge more people to participate, it will expand your reach as they share it to people within their networks. An example of this is to challenge people to post activity ideas they did (or they want to do) in a specific location. This could generate a lot of buzz for a specific destination and for your business as well!
Share User-Generated Content
User-generated content is another powerful tool you can use to attract local tourist bookings for your business. The concept of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is strong on a lot of social media users, especially millennials. Get them excited about a particular location you are trying to promote and entice them to book a tour by showcasing real-life examples of people who have visited or enjoyed your destination or tours.
Offer Gift Cards
Nowadays, it has become a norm to purchase and give the gift of experience versus material items. You can exploit this by offering gift cards to your local target market. These gift cards can be used towards any of your tours and travel experiences. The best part about this type of gift is that it is suitable all-year round and not just for the holiday season.
It’s okay to seek help when you feel overwhelmed by the challenges your business is facing. You can seek experts like Tourism Accelerator for ideas and strategies that will propel your business forward, even during challenging times.
While the travel and tourism industry is volatile, it does not mean that you should watch your business sink as the numbers of foreign bookings go down. You must learn how to adapt to the challenges and recognise other potential markets you can tap, such as your local visitors.