One of the most interesting aspects of the tourism industry is that you often partner with other attractions or DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations)to create itineraries and packages. Whether it is a packaged tour idea for a group tour operator or a marketing campaign for the consumer market, it makes sense to partner.
But I can’t think of any other industry where businesses actively partner with direct competition to bring in more business. In the case of CityPass for instance, many attractions give a discount to be promoted as an attraction to visit, knowing that they are competing against other attractions in the same city. Yet the concept works.
Another way that 2020 is different
This year has rocked all of us. Most likely your visitors are coming from a closer range, and are looking for activities different than they have in the past. Because guests still want unique experiences, now is the time to think of partners you had never considered before. Is there an outdoor venue such as an archery range, nearby park with a great view or a small restaurant that was not big enough to consider before?
Near my home is a hiking trail with a secret all the locals know- if you bring sunflower seed, there are several spots on the hike where chickadees will land on your hand if you hold out some seed. It is the coolest experience and one I have been doing since I was little. A lodging partner could include directions to the trail and a small bag of seed. A different type of partner but a cool package! Here is some more food for thought.
Partnering with a different industry
What about the idea of partnering with someone outside your industry? This idea came from a drive my partner and I went on last year. He had to deposit a check so we drove to a branch of his bank. I was surprised to see the signage when we pulled up. A bank and a Starbucks in the same building? Genius! I have seen many instances of food businesses such as coffee shops and ice cream sharing a building, but hadn’t seen two completely different businesses sharing a space and customers.
Think about it- when you go to a bank it is because you have money to deposit or you are getting money out. Either way, you most likely have a bit of money for impulse purchases. Starbucks makes it so easy – they are right there. In this setup, you walk by the Starbucks counter as you enter ( or exit.) The hours for this bank branch are longer than most branches. Citizens bank stays open until 7:30 to align with the Starbucks hours. And that includes Sundays! So this is a big change from the usual bank culture and hours, but making that change has allowed them to be exposed to new customers and provide existing customers more options, flexibility and a nice perk.
Restaurants and a vendor
Another example of two different businesses partnering for success occurred when I was working at a regional DMO in New York State. A historic restaurant that was popular on group tours was buying its lettuce from a local hydroponic lettuce farm. I reached out to the lettuce farm and offered to help them become group tour friendly.
We talked about how to lead a tour, where a bus could park, how to do a ‘lettuce tasting” and how to sell some items to make additional money. We marketed this as a one day tour with the restaurant and lettuce farm as two of the elements of the tour. Success! Two completely different businesses found a whole new group of customers that benefitted both of them.
Taking my own advice
Partnering is so important that I have reached out to Catherine Heeg, a well known social media consultant in the tourism industry. We are both in the tourism industry but have different areas of expertise. So we agreed to guests post on each other’s blog! We have each been exposed to new readers, and we get to take a week off from writing a blog post. Check out some of her posts:
So let’s think outside the box this week. Who could you partner with? Who has similar customers to yours but may not be coming to your business? How could you partner together to bring more business to both of you? Let me know what you create and I will be happy to help you promote it here on my blog!
Guest post by Sally Berry: Sally Berry is a U.S. tourism industry expert and has an industry blog at SallyDavisBerry.com which helps attractions and destinations get more visitors through their doors.
She has been named a Top 10 Most influential woman in the Group tour market and a Top Innovator in the Group tour market by Groups Today Magazine.TourOperator.com named Sally a Top Tourism Networker and a Top 20 US Tourism Industry Professional.
Social Marketing Strategies for Travel and Tourism
About Catherine Heeg
Catherine Heeg is a recognized social media trail blazer passionate about social media and marketing in the tourism and hospitality industry. She takes the mystery out of marketing!
She creates and delivers meaningful, dynamic workshops that meet your unique needs in the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Industry.
Catherine and her team help travel, tourism and hospitality pros design and implement social media marketing strategies and tactics that drive traffic to their social and web sites. Learn more…
Professionals who are serious about taking consistent, winning actions every day to build their business and achieve measurable results love working with Catherine.