River Rafting, Eco Tourism, Niche Tourism and Marketing

River Rafting, Eco Tourism, Niche Tourism and Marketing

Today was a good day. I drank water out of a stream, paddled down a river, acted out a Native American legend and got to watch my students learn about Niche Tourism. There is no doubt that learning by doing is the best way to learn. I watched my students see the importance of Tourism on local populations first hand as well as truly appreciate the importance of Marketing.  We spent the day participating in several forms of Niche Tourism. Many of us not even aware that this experience could be found in our backyard.

As students of Tourism and Travel and Marketers we have to ask why are we not aware that experiences like this exist so close to home? As Tourism professionals it is important to provide tourism products that are easily accessible to the public…If you build it, they will come may be a nice mantra, but the reality is that if the public is unaware of a product they will not come. It is our jobs as Marketers to make the public aware of our product. Today is a case in point. How is it possible that I have lived 45 minutes away from the Grand River for almost twenty years, but have never been until now? The essence of Marketing is about meeting clients wants and needs. I have wanted this type of Tourism Product, Tourism Providers have developed the programs to meet my needs….but with out knowing it existed my Tourism dollars have gone elsewhere.

I have wanted to find a place like Paris for years. It offers a great product in the natural beauty of the Grand River, home to  Bald eagles, Deer, Otters, Beavers and more. It offers great providers of Niche Tourism in The Grand River Rafting Company as well as Tribal Vision Dance. So how do we Market this destination for Tourism?  How does a small town, with limited tourism dollars, spread the word about their amazing products?  I would start with Social media. With a limited budget and a few give aways, you could spread the word in a very efficient way.

The challenge I put out to you students, is how do Niche Tourism Providers, share their great products with the world? What would have worked to get you to Paris today, if I had not arranged this field trip? Lets talk about it in class next week.

river rafting pic 2.jpg-largeriver rafting 3

Developing A Twitter Page for Niche Tourism

Its official. After working though the basics of Twitter, we are beginning to see the real value of having an account for a Niche Tourism Product.

Here is what our Friday morning class thinks the Top five reasons to be on Twitter are:

1) It is an excellent source of news specific to the Niche Tourism Product. It helps with ideas and potential Blog Topics.

2) It connects you with Travel Industry leaders and Trend setters

3) It instantly connects you with people that are thinking the same way you are. Its like a meeting of minds. It lets you access information on the go, being connect using your mobile phone.

4) It lets you filter out what you do and don’t want to learn about. It helps guide your learning.

5) You can see what the industry is doing and be a source of current, real time news for your clients.

My Clients are not on Twitter/WordPress/Facebook so why do I need it?

It is true….not everyone uses social media.

A couple of students have come to me and said that they do not see the value in Tweeting, Blogging, having a Facebook page etc, because their Target Market is not using social media. What I say to that is…well maybe not yet,  but they will, and by having a digital presence now, you will be waiting for them when they come looking for you.

Five years ago, when texting was all the rage with the younger set, some of us in our thirties and forties were naysayers. I had not met the love of my life yet (my iPhone) and texting on my flip phone was cumbersome, time consuming and not very enjoyable. I used to say, if I wanted to talk with someone, I would phone them. Well, 2010 hit, I got my iPhone and everything changed. Texting as a form of communication is an integral part of my life now. I can’t imagine not using it. The same is true about many forms of Social Media.

There are those out there that feel about Social Media, the way I used to feel about texting. The absolute global reality is, however, that more and more people are using Social Media everyday to seek out information on Tourism and Travel, and if you choose to opt out of a digital presence you are missing out on clients looking for you and if they do not find you, they will find your competitors, because, there is a huge digital presence of Niche Tourism and Travel experts online already.

Having a digital presence will give you credibility, it will help your clients decide that you are the one they want to do business with. It is not necessarily about finding new clients off Google searches, but making the clients that you have, feel that they are dealing with a travel professional that is connected.  A travel professional that likes to be informed and follows the news, and shares that news with their all important clients. Even if your clients are “not” on Social Media, they will appreciate knowing that you are sharing news if they need it, its just another service that you offer that they can opt into if they so wish.

So get going guys, build your Blog. In class this week we will look at Twitter and Facebook Pages and developing your Niche.

Writing your Niche Travel Blog

Hi Students,

I have been thinking about our Blogging class yesterday and wanted to give some advice to those of you that are unsure how to begin.

1) Check out other Travel blogs…here is a good one   http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blog/

2) Just write. As I mentioned in class you are not writing the Ten Commandments or the Declaration of Independence! You can make changes. You can always edit later. You will not have much traffic on your blog to begin so just get writing. The more you write the better you will get.

3) Add some pictures

People like visuals…. If you don’t have anyTravel agent personal travel photos, its time to make some. Bring your camera on our field trip in two weeks. There will be LOTS of great photo opportunities. So in the mean time, look for pictures online, vintage travel pictures are cool too.

4) Write a commentary on an article, news clip, video or picture. Link the original source to your Blog, Put down your thoughts and opinions and you have a post.

5) Remember, you have been studying Tourism and Travel for over a year now. You have many important tips to share with the world.

6) Best practice is posts of around 250 words….this one is about 230…see nice and easy to read.

Best wishes to you all this weekend and happy blogging!