“Seduce” your clients!
Within ten years, more than half of the world's population will be living in cities. Tourism regions can get ready to capitalize on the business potential represented by stressed-out urbanites. Mutually beneficial relationships could develop between city-dwellers in need of a short-term getaway and the surrounding areas, rich in wide-open spaces and numerous opportunities for relaxation.
Hoping for a magic solution
Most participants who attend conferences, conventions and workshops are hoping to discover the next big trend that will magically solve all their problems. All too often, they are presented with information they already know: growth in short-term trips and nearby destinations, rapid urbanization, extending the tourism season, strong competition among destinations, etc. Is there anything to be learned here?
How about combining trends?
We all know about the rapid growth of urban populations. By 2015, more than half of the world's population will be city-dwellers; by 2020, close to 90% of Canadians will be living in the country's 25 greater metropolitan areas.
“Urbanization” means a large number of tired, stressed-out people, many of whom are desperate to escape to the country and enjoy nature. Rapidly increasing urbanization, combined with the growing trend towards short-term stays, could well be the magic solution we have all been hoping to find.
First seduce, then pounce
Rural areas are blessed with a natural resource that can meet the physical and mental needs of city-dwellers year-round. How can these stressed-out individuals resist the invitation to relax, slow down, drink in the fresh air, escape the rat-race, reconnect, enjoy interacting with others, savour a sense of well-being… these all constitute persuasive arguments for companies eager to attract this kind of clientele.
Some Club Med brochures have been designed with this principle in mind. The first two or three pages flaunt the country's charms and highlight its most seductive aspects. The contact information for the relevant Club Med offices is printed on the final page, to capitalize immediately on the customer's decision to purchase.
Your “seduction campaign” will be even more effective if, in addition to highlighting your region's assets, you segment the information based on the lifestyles of your prospective clientele. For example, the marketing strategy developed by the CDT (Comité départemental du tourisme or Regional tourism committee) of Orne, France focuses on the “sheer pleasure” of its weekend getaways:
Experience a weekend of Sheer Pleasure in the Orne region of Normandy, France.
- If you love golf or riding, click the Great Outdoors icon
- If you prefer setting your own pace, click the Relaxation icon
- If you'd rather laze in the sun, click the Beach Bum icon
- If you're the get-back-to-nature type, click the Country Style icon
The Aube region in Champagne, France is marketing itself as “Aube, the place you've been longing for”. A number of French tourism organizations have used the slogan “Go ahead; indulge yourself” to emphasize the pleasure factor of their weekend getaways, resorts and other tourism products. And, the phrase “No artificial colours or additives” is the perfect endorsement for a region's natural charms!
Perhaps reading these examples has inspired you to develop a strategy that relies less on enumerating the various activities on offer, and more on seducing the potential consumer with your region's unique appeal.
– Dany, Carole. “Enjeux et pratiques de désaisonnalisation dans les territoires ruraux,” Agence de communication Cadran Solaire, colloque Imatourisme 2004, Moliets – Landes, France, 5 octobre 2004.
– Laliberté, Michèle. “Boule de cristal, que nous prédis-tu?,” Réseau de veille en tourisme, 31 mai 2004.
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