The other day, I was talking to a group of folks who had set up a tourist committee for our local region. Their job was to get people from other regions to come in and spend their money, enjoy the sights and things to do. There are many activities in our area, and it does draw a tremendous number of people from outside the area. Nevertheless, it occurred to me that they were spending all sorts of money in nearby counties and even other states. They were involved with all sorts of other groups and associations and travel networks. Okay so let’s talk about this for a moment shall we?
That’s all well and good, but that can also get quite costly. What I had recommended was that they additionally concentrate on the local area too, perhaps even first. After all, in the nearby area there are millions of people along the California coast here. It seems we should have people who are local enjoy what there is available and then go back and tell all their friends, talk about it on their Facebook page, and refer other people to our area through local word-of-mouth. Once the referral process gets going, and tends to go viral online, now we’re talking.
Interestingly enough, the tourist committee thought they knew what they were doing, and did understand the value in promoting “buy local” or the concept of “Stay-cations” but, I they didn’t quite fully get it, so I had to explain it all to them. You’d be surprised how much the local communities will support the local tourist attractions if you give them a chance, and invite them to participate. Each time friends or family come from another area come to visit, they’ll bring them down to the local sights and attractions. After a while the word gets out, and people like to come more often, and they tell their friends in other areas.
The reality is an economic development tourist committee doesn’t have to spend a huge amount of money blanketing the country with national advertising, or getting in all the brochures, and magazines abroad to seek international travelers. The reality is that the 6-degrees of separation is probably down to three now due to the Internet, that’s plenty enough people and it makes sense to start a whirlwind in your local area, in your own backyard to get the ball rolling. Before you go and blow a tremendous amount of money on large marketing campaigns outside of your regional area, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.