Is your small town ready for the explorers?
Travel expert Wendy Perrin presented these changing travel motivations from the Condé Nast Traveler Research Center at an event in Australia. I had to share them with you.
- THEN: Planned “cultural experiences”
- NOW: Local immersion
In small towns, visitors can dive into local events and experiences. Help them with calendars and explanations of local experiences. Find out who has immersive and interesting hands-on activities. Promote them.
- THEN: Checking sights off a list
- NOW: Finding new sights off the beaten path
Hey, we small town specialize in off the beaten path! Play up your discoveries, your little-known assets, and the things you’d take a friend to.
- THEN: Visit museums and monuments
- NOW: Visit local artists and artisans
Oh, we have local artists! In small towns, our local artists are more accessible and friendly. Add more artist visit options to your tourism.
- THEN: Eat typical tourist fare
- NOW: Find residents’ favorite hidden gems
All our eateries are hidden gems! Talk about your local eateries and give the local view of what tastes good. Forget about your chains.
- THEN: Going by guidebooks
- NOW: Listening to friends and fellow travelers
That’s good advice: start thinking of your tourism info as talking to friends and fellow travelers.
- THEN: 80% of travelers cited culture as top motivator in 2009. (It dropped to 69% in 2013.)
- NOW: 85% are driven by the “need to know, explore and experiment.”
Now we’re talking! Small towns are the perfect place to learn, explore and experiment! Add lots more exploration and discovery to your tourism.
What do you think? How else can small towns adjust their tourism to tap into the changing motivations of travelers?
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Dominique-Midwest Guest says
As a traveler and a writer, exploring the unique features of a small town is among my favorite things. Traveling to, and writing about, big cities can be exciting and fun, but it is more interesting to me to travel to, and write about, lesser known destinations where I can develop more unique stories that haven’t already been covered and over-covered by others. We recently visited a small town in northern Ohio (1,500 pop.) to research a ghost legend (for a Halloween story that will appear on a client’s site). While I was there, I checked out a number of other things that will appear as a “other things to do in town” list included in that assigned story and will probably appear later in the year as several other stories at my own blog. We did a little geocaching, explored an historic cemetery in town, checked out a nice rail-to-trail route that ran past the town’s historic train depot and a restored log cabin, and took a few pictures at a lovely garden and arboretum just outside of town. We stopped at a little indie coffeehouse/diner in town where local ladies lingered over lunch to play dominoes, and we checked out the large display of historic school and sports memorabilia from the town that lined the dining room’s walls. I know I’m not the only one out there who is interested in these types of experiences!
Becky McCray says
Dominique, this is exactly the kind of exploring that more and more of our visitors would love to do in small towns. Now part of our job in small towns is to make this easier, to share slices of our best experiences online to help you better connect before you come and while you’re here.
Small Biz Survival says
“There has been a big uprise in traveling to smaller towns that have some quirky and regional appeal,” said Arabella Bowen, executive editorial director of Fodor’s Travel. “There is a want for a local, authentic, mom-and-pop experience.”
Hey, small towns have quirky and regional appeal nailed!
Source: CNN report