Road trip touring is booming.
Thanks to international border closures and the risk of swift border closures to covid hot-spot flare ups (as we saw in November 2020) people are turning to the last-minute simplicity and social-distancing friendly option of jumping in the car for future trips.
Your destination has a major opportunity to capture this drive market boom through specific marketing tactics that attract your high value visitors and encourage them to explore your destination more widely.
Following are 6 marketing activities you can roll out quickly to attract more drive touring visitors to your town or regional destination in 2021.
1. Website Itineraries: Get specific and detailed
You most likely have suggested itineraries on your destination website.
However, we find destination website itineraries can be a little general, or they are trying to support too many different visitor groups, which ends up not really helping anyone.
The more specific and detailed your itineraries are, the better chance they have of ranking for search terms that your visitors are typing (or speaking!) into their search engines, and will also add much more value to your visitors by providing really specific advice.
Niche down suggested itineraries for your destination. Get really specific and detailed for a single high yield visitor or niche interest traveler for your destination. Address their ‘why’, and how they can put the itinerary into place in your destination.
Do some brainstorming with your colleagues on road trip themed itineraries ideas for all of your your High Yield Leisure Travellers and Niche Interest Visitors. Also, consider the seasonal or holiday specific itineraries that you could put suggest for certain times of year.
- Be really specific and detailed with the itinerary inclusions and recommendations
- Hone in on one specific High Yield Visitor Segment or Niche Interest Traveller only
- Include great photos (user generated is great, just remember to get permission to use)
- Write enough copy for each itinerary segment to share the ‘why’ of that itinerary inclusion
- Link through to the business listing or direct to the business to find out more
- Simple text based itineraries are an easy start… Just get them written and up on your destination website.
Great destination itinerary examples you can check out include:
2. Social Media – Get Location Specific
Use the understanding of your High Yield Visitor to share social posts based on their likely drive routes to and around your destination.
We’re currently managing social media for Visit Limestone Coast on Instagram and Facebook, and putting this into practice by getting under the skin of the region’s High Yield Visitors and the different drive routes they most likely take to and around the region.
When borders reopened to Victoria after nearly 6 months of hard closures, we shared a Melbourne to Adelaide “Story” that encouraging travellers to stop and spend a bit more time on their journey instead of the common straight through 8 hour inland drive. This itinerary is now saved in ‘Highlights’ for future visitors to see (see the ‘Towns’ highlight to view the story). We’re also sharing road trip highlights from around the Limestone Coast such is this recent one of Larry the Lobster.
So, in amongst your stunning hero experience posts on Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds, don’t be afraid to share lesser know gems around your region that may prompt them to visit more towns or areas across your destination – stunning photos are the key here to get great engagement. These include experiences such as:
- Public art
- Short walks or lookouts with views
- Historic attractions
- Specific foods or beverages unique to your destination
People will tag/save and use these help plan their itineraries when in your destination.
3. Australian Tourism Data Warehouse
We know destinations have a huge focus on getting tourism businesses on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW).
However, what we often see missing from destinations we work with are ATDW listings for publicly owned and managed attractions, such as Walking Trails, Lookouts, Small Towns, Beaches, Lakes, Forests, Caves, Jetties, etc.
Without these listings, attractions won’t show up on destination websites using software such as Alpaca. Your Regional and State Tourism Organisation are also less likely to talk about these experiences if there isn’t somewhere to send visitors to find out more.
So the action here is to look at undertaking an experience audit for your destination. Then work out what listings are missing and work collaboratively with your colleagues and/or wider regional stakeholders to get these listings added to the ATDW asap.
4. Online listings
Many visitors use platforms such as TripAdvisor, Google My Business (eg. Google Search) and Wikicamps to refine their drive itinerary within a destination.
Therefore, like your destination’s ATDW listings, make sure all your key public attractions have listings on these platforms, you have claimed them so you can keep them updated, and you also listen and respond to customer reviews.
5. Visitor Guides and Maps
Visitor guides and maps still play an important role with road touring visitors, especially for rural and regional destinations.
Evolve and adapt your destination visitor guide or touring maps to help support regional road trip travellers through the 15 tips we shared on how to evolve your Visitor Guide in 2021.
Ensure your visitor guides and maps are also distributed around your destination at key visitor touchpoints, including your Visitor Centre’s along with tops spots for road touring visitors such as petrol stations, bakeries, cafes, local shops, pubs, and all your local tourism experiences.
6. Leverage State Itineraries
Finally, whilst this may not be as quick win, you could do an audit of your State or Territory Tourism Organisation’s suggested itineraries. Are there any glaring gaps in itineraries for your destination?
Using the right channels and forums, find out more about their website itinerary strategy.
- Are there opportunities to share more itineraries that include your region or town?
- Is there an opportunity for your destination to submit a stand alone itinerary to their website?
- Are there particular experiences missing from their itineraries that you could lobby to have included?
Have a chat and see what opportunities you can leverage.