What Tourists Search For

The beautiful Boutique Hotel was built to raise the bar of accommodation establishments in the city and deliver high occupancies within a few months of opening.

Its facilities matched the needs of modern travellers and included innovative features for business travellers. The initial two months had looked very promising. The hotel had achieved an average occupancy of 45% in its second month and the owners and management saw their product achieving market leadership and 90% occupancies within the first year. Yet, 15 months later, the occupancies hovered at around 35% for the last three months. The General Manager had overseen the marketing and had ensured that their superior facilities were at the forefront of the campaigns. Yet these initiatives showed very little return on investment.

This scenario plays out so many times with new accommodation products. However good the facilities are, they have chosen to join the crowded category of businesses that compete on facilities and price. While these elements are important, they will never achieve the anticipated returns. The most compelling reason for this is that the Internet searches by leisure tourists are focused initially on the activities that are available in the destination. They are searching for activities that provide compelling experiences and these are the driving force behind their purchase decisions.

An Inn in British Columbia listened to their guests and realised that activities not only attracted guests, but often also caused the visitors to extend their stay. The photo at the top of this blog is taken from their website. Not only do they promote these activities, but they created many of them in partnership with the locals. They have achieved a consistent occupancy of 90%. The size of the activity section maybe a little over the top, but a highlighting of some top activity options on your website and on other promotional materials will be to your advantage.

Do you promote the activities in your destination as prominently as you do the facilities at your establishment? Experiences are the new driver of tourism purchases.

This trend will only grow stronger as Millennials become mainstream customers in leisure tourism. How will you respond? Imagine the impact of every establishment in your destination promoting activities and experiences.

What have you done to highlight the activities in your destination as you promote your product? 

NB. In next week’s blog I will give you some thoughts on how, as a tourism product or tourism office, you can meet the growing calls for transformation in the tourism industry in a proactive way. It’s a simple case of embracing partnerships that will enhance your reputation as a tourism player in your destination.

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