A Tried and True Recipe for Success
Tourism packaging has traditionally been defined as a pre-arranged travel plan that includes more than one element of travel. For example, an air and hotel travel plan bundled together for one rate would be considered a “package”.
Let’s try to look at packaging from ‘outside the box’, without the confines and limitations of Air Canada and all inclusive tropical resorts. In reality, successful packaging is a perfect union of like minded businesses, working collaboratively to create a visitor experience that showcases the unique landmarks, culture, characteristics, talents, tastes, creations, and offerings, of their little piece of heaven.
A package adds value to the tourist experience. It enlightens potential visitors as to what our community has to offer, and can generate increased sales and longer stays. Packages present options that visitors might otherwise have never considered when planning their vacation or getaway.
A package, from a regional tourism perspective, is the linking of a number of individual products and services into a single experience, typically for a single price and for a set period of time.
And packages sell! The thinking has already been done, thus simplifying the planning for the visitor, who is looking for a destination that has the type and variety of attractions and services they prefer. By creating a new experience through packaging, you can give your business a competitive advantage by offering a combination that is not offered by anyone else. And best of all, packaging requires little or no investment!
Many first-time packagers will have trust issues when it comes to working with competitors. However, given a little time and after your initial success you will become a believer – the experience can be a positive one and new relationships will be built that can result in increased business during off season, or mid week periods when business is generally slower.
Packages don’t have to be complicated. They can be as simple as offering discount vouchers from local shops and merchants that are handed to the visitor when they check in to their B&B, Inn or campground, or a romance package that includes a bottle of local wine and locally made cheese awaiting them in their room, a round of golf, tickets to a play or dinner at a local restaurant.
This is exactly the right time to start planning packages you could offer this spring. But where do you start? Like any effective marketing plan, there is a recipe for success in developing packaging. The first three ingredients are the most important;
- Know Your Market – start with what you know. What activities are in growing demand? What local resources are available that can address this demand? What are your customers asking for? What can you offer that will help you retain your existing customers?
- Know Your Competition – that’s any business or activity that will be competing with what you are offering, for the attention and money of tourists. What are they doing? What are they offering? Who are they partnering with?
- Know Your Demographic – the most important ingredient! Who are they? Locals? Tourists? Seasonal residents? Who do they travel with? Family? As a couple? With friends? Alone? What do they enjoy? Adventure? Culture? Wine and culinary? Shopping? Ecotourism activities? History? What is their income bracket? Will they be seeking value based, or a high end experience?
Once you have this key information in hand, you are ready to take the plunge and get started with this proven and relatively painless marketing activity. In my next article, I will talk about defining your packaging potential, identifying packaging partners and successfully deploying your plan.