1
08/2020
AUTHOR
Caroline Asselin
IDEAS

The ABC of a seduction operation with residents

Read IN FRENCH

Staycation, or “locatourism”, does not date from the pandemic, but is a trend that has been growing in importance for several years. 

While tourism players often go to greater lengths to attract outside travellers, locals are increasingly attracting their attention. Indeed, this category of visitors brings opportunities: potential ambassadors, loyal customers, out-of-season visitors, etc. How to attract them?

In the specialized magazine Espace, Jean-Luc Boulin defines the locatourist as "a resident [who] discovers an unusual place or activity [...] outside of his usual environment" although close to home.

In 2018, the Tourism Intelligence Network presented residents as an underestimated clientele, a finding that still sounded right until recently. Indeed, many tourism authorities approached them for the first time in their COVID-19 recovery strategies, when they already accounted for a large proportion of the traffic of several operators. 

So here is a proposal for your seduction operation!

Understand their motivations

The first thing to do to attract a local clientele is to understand their motivations, especially in the post-pandemic context. Thus, through its campaigning process, Visit Greenland has identified three motivations behind staycations:

- The search for a deeper connection with the place where one lives;
- Solidarity with its citizens: to support local businesses and jobs;
- Meet family and friends we haven't seen in a long time.

Visit Greenland Nunarput Nuan campgain
Photo: Visit Greenland

Generally speaking, locatourists are looking for strong experiences that take them out of their daily lives. This is particularly relevant after this spring's gruelling confinement.

These motivations should serve as the basis for continuing your process.

Review your offer

Then, it is necessary to take a step back to analyze your offer.

1. How do local customers perceive your destination, your establishment and your offer?

As Jean-Luc Boulin puts it, "The activities consumed are not necessarily the same for a tourist and a resident. A distant visitor is keen to check out the must-sees. The inhabitants, on the other hand, test new activities, places unknown to them ... provided they are desirable to them."

So, ask yourself first if the locals know you? Are they already interested in your offer? Or do they perceive it negatively (too expensive, not addressed to them, etc.)? For example, Visit Greenland worked with operators in its territory to adapt the offer that was perceived as too expensive by residents.

To get an idea, you can ask around or conduct a house survey with free tools on social networks or SurveyMonkey for a more representative sample. 

2. What are the needs of this new target audience?

Then ask yourself what the locatourists are looking for. For example, is it a fun day with the kids? Relaxing as a couple? Indeed, they are looking for the possibility to book at the last minute and suitable duration of service and prices. So, do you need to adapt your offer for these new customers?

A good example, Open Tour Paris, which organizes guided tours by bus, has developed a new thematic tour for children (a new audience) and a shorter package at a discounted price offered exclusively to the inhabitants of the region. This approach can be adopted for a wide variety of products and contexts, both rural and urban.

Family tour by Paris Open Tour
Photo: Open Tour Paris

3. How do you trigger the decision to visit your destination or establishment?

The challenge for many will be to trigger the decision to visit today since for the resident, there is no hurry, you will still be there tomorrow (hopefully!). Here are some leads.

Time-limited events and products

As already mentioned, locatourists are looking for exceptional moments. With one-off events, you give a reason to come back to those who have already been there, and to others the opportunity to discover you!

For example, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Virginia hosts meals on summer Friday nights. Domaine Forget occasionally offers yoga classes in its garden. The New Brunswick Botanical Garden presents summer music performances. Three municipalities in Charlevoix are organising a family rally by car. The ideas are endless: film screenings, themed animations, exhibitions, special guests, limited time package, temporary menu update, etc.

Romantic Dinner package at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Photos : Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Packages

Partner experiences can be combined in the form of traditional packages such as the Roma Historic Site which coordinates accommodation, meals and activities of different providers, or can fit into your product as does Attitude Nordique. The company combines its outdoor activities with the tasting of local partner products.

Privileges

Another option is to grant privileges to a partner's client. The Acadian Historic Village followed this avenue by partnering with  Festival acadien de Caraquet.  All ticket holders will be offered a family pass to the historic village. An excellent approach for the local population to become ambassadors for their visiting relatives.

Communicate!

Finally, you have to communicate your offer.

To perform well, your messages must appeal to the motivations of the potential customers. And take into account their sensibilities. The resident wants, among other things, to be considered differently from a tourist.

And to reach this target, you need to place your communications where they consume information. Here are some suggestions: mailing tourist information rather than having it in a self-service display at the tourist information office, local radio advertising, local media news release, email marketing and social media postings.

This is what three adjoining territories in the Eastern Townships region did. They developed a campaign for residents within a 40 km radius, and sent them a guide to the gourmet Road Trip by mail, a first!

Coeur des Cantons Road Trip brochure 2020
Photos : Destination Sherbrooke


Opportunities at your fingertips

Approaching a new clientele requires a review of our habits. But the game is worth it, since the residents have the potential for repeat and off-season visits. Various surveys still show that many people plan to stay with family and friends. That's why it's important to attract residents who can become your ambassadors to their visiting loved ones.

Moreover, the presence of locals in your establishment makes the experience more authentic, a value more and more sought after by tourists ... When they come back!

Article written in collaboration with Experience Acadie.

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1
08/2020
AUTEUR
Caroline Asselin
ÉCLAIREZ VOS IDÉES

The ABC of a seduction operation with residents

Read IN ENGLISH

Staycation, or “locatourism”, does not date from the pandemic, but is a trend that has been growing in importance for several years. 

While tourism players often go to greater lengths to attract outside travellers, locals are increasingly attracting their attention. Indeed, this category of visitors brings opportunities: potential ambassadors, loyal customers, out-of-season visitors, etc. How to attract them?

In the specialized magazine Espace, Jean-Luc Boulin defines the locatourist as "a resident [who] discovers an unusual place or activity [...] outside of his usual environment" although close to home.

In 2018, the Tourism Intelligence Network presented residents as an underestimated clientele, a finding that still sounded right until recently. Indeed, many tourism authorities approached them for the first time in their COVID-19 recovery strategies, when they already accounted for a large proportion of the traffic of several operators. 

So here is a proposal for your seduction operation!

Understand their motivations

The first thing to do to attract a local clientele is to understand their motivations, especially in the post-pandemic context. Thus, through its campaigning process, Visit Greenland has identified three motivations behind staycations:

- The search for a deeper connection with the place where one lives;
- Solidarity with its citizens: to support local businesses and jobs;
- Meet family and friends we haven't seen in a long time.

Visit Greenland Nunarput Nuan campgain
Photo: Visit Greenland

Generally speaking, locatourists are looking for strong experiences that take them out of their daily lives. This is particularly relevant after this spring's gruelling confinement.

These motivations should serve as the basis for continuing your process.

Review your offer

Then, it is necessary to take a step back to analyze your offer.

1. How do local customers perceive your destination, your establishment and your offer?

As Jean-Luc Boulin puts it, "The activities consumed are not necessarily the same for a tourist and a resident. A distant visitor is keen to check out the must-sees. The inhabitants, on the other hand, test new activities, places unknown to them ... provided they are desirable to them."

So, ask yourself first if the locals know you? Are they already interested in your offer? Or do they perceive it negatively (too expensive, not addressed to them, etc.)? For example, Visit Greenland worked with operators in its territory to adapt the offer that was perceived as too expensive by residents.

To get an idea, you can ask around or conduct a house survey with free tools on social networks or SurveyMonkey for a more representative sample. 

2. What are the needs of this new target audience?

Then ask yourself what the locatourists are looking for. For example, is it a fun day with the kids? Relaxing as a couple? Indeed, they are looking for the possibility to book at the last minute and suitable duration of service and prices. So, do you need to adapt your offer for these new customers?

A good example, Open Tour Paris, which organizes guided tours by bus, has developed a new thematic tour for children (a new audience) and a shorter package at a discounted price offered exclusively to the inhabitants of the region. This approach can be adopted for a wide variety of products and contexts, both rural and urban.

Family tour by Paris Open Tour
Photo: Open Tour Paris

3. How do you trigger the decision to visit your destination or establishment?

The challenge for many will be to trigger the decision to visit today since for the resident, there is no hurry, you will still be there tomorrow (hopefully!). Here are some leads.

Time-limited events and products

As already mentioned, locatourists are looking for exceptional moments. With one-off events, you give a reason to come back to those who have already been there, and to others the opportunity to discover you!

For example, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Virginia hosts meals on summer Friday nights. Domaine Forget occasionally offers yoga classes in its garden. The New Brunswick Botanical Garden presents summer music performances. Three municipalities in Charlevoix are organising a family rally by car. The ideas are endless: film screenings, themed animations, exhibitions, special guests, limited time package, temporary menu update, etc.

Romantic Dinner package at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Photos : Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Packages

Partner experiences can be combined in the form of traditional packages such as the Roma Historic Site which coordinates accommodation, meals and activities of different providers, or can fit into your product as does Attitude Nordique. The company combines its outdoor activities with the tasting of local partner products.

Privileges

Another option is to grant privileges to a partner's client. The Acadian Historic Village followed this avenue by partnering with  Festival acadien de Caraquet.  All ticket holders will be offered a family pass to the historic village. An excellent approach for the local population to become ambassadors for their visiting relatives.

Communicate!

Finally, you have to communicate your offer.

To perform well, your messages must appeal to the motivations of the potential customers. And take into account their sensibilities. The resident wants, among other things, to be considered differently from a tourist.

And to reach this target, you need to place your communications where they consume information. Here are some suggestions: mailing tourist information rather than having it in a self-service display at the tourist information office, local radio advertising, local media news release, email marketing and social media postings.

This is what three adjoining territories in the Eastern Townships region did. They developed a campaign for residents within a 40 km radius, and sent them a guide to the gourmet Road Trip by mail, a first!

Coeur des Cantons Road Trip brochure 2020
Photos : Destination Sherbrooke


Opportunities at your fingertips

Approaching a new clientele requires a review of our habits. But the game is worth it, since the residents have the potential for repeat and off-season visits. Various surveys still show that many people plan to stay with family and friends. That's why it's important to attract residents who can become your ambassadors to their visiting loved ones.

Moreover, the presence of locals in your establishment makes the experience more authentic, a value more and more sought after by tourists ... When they come back!

Article written in collaboration with Experience Acadie.

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