Building a Local Following: A Guide for Tourism Businesses

As a tourism business owner, developing a local following is crucial for sustaining long-term success and fostering a loyal customer base. While attracting tourists is important, nurturing a local audience can provide you with consistent business, repeat customers, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective strategies to build a strong local following for your tourism business – from leveraging community engagement to creating memorable experiences, we will cover actionable steps to connect with your local audience. Let’s dive in and discover how to cultivate lasting relationships with locals that drive business growth.

Step One: Define Your Local Audience

Before you begin, it’s essential to identify and understand your local target audience. Consider factors such as demographics, interests, and preferences. Are you targeting families, adventure enthusiasts, or culture seekers? Conduct market research or use customer surveys to gather insights into your target audience’s needs, desires, and pain points.

Developing 1 – 3 buyer personas will help you visualise your local market and align your strategy meaningfully to their wants and needs. Just imagine your target local consumer and describe them the way that an author might plan a character for a novel. You can evolve these over time as you gather research or examples.
You might start with their name, age, gender, marital/family status, location, income, and what other kinds of hobbies they have. Then consider what goals or aspirations they have, what challenges they may face, what they value in life and what could drive their decision-making process.
Next, add how they communicate and access information. Is this person likely to participate in sports leagues or clubs, or to read a particular newspaper? Would they commute and listen to the radio, or catch up on current events on social media?

You can blend your Wherewolf digital waiver demographic research with your own local market research and discover the perfect personas that you need to please!

Step Two: Create Relevant, Compelling Content

To attract and engage a local following, your social media content needs to be captivating, informative, and tailored to the interests of your target audience. Consider the following content ideas:

  • Local Highlights: Share stunning photos, videos, or stories showcasing the unique attractions, landmarks, and hidden gems in your area.
  • Insider Tips: Provide insider tips and recommendations on local restaurants, events, or lesser-known activities that locals would appreciate.
  • Seasonal Promotions: Offer exclusive deals, discounts, or packages specifically designed for local residents, emphasizing the benefits of exploring their own backyard.
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Give your audience a glimpse into your business operations, introduce your team, and share stories that humanize your brand.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage locals to share their experiences using your services or visiting your destination by creating hashtags or running contests. Share their content, giving credit, and showing appreciation.

Step Three: Engage With Your Local Community

You can get started right now by maximising your social media. It’s not just a platform for broadcasting messages; it’s an opportunity to build relationships with your audience. Engage in conversations, respond to comments and messages promptly, and show genuine interest in your followers’ experiences. Join local community groups or online forums related to tourism, travel, or your destination, and interact with your community!

You can share your expertise, offer advice, and become a valuable resource for locals seeking information.

Some other ways to engage with your community (that might require a bit more planning) are:

  • Sponsor local events and initiatives: Support local events, charities, or initiatives that align with your brand values. This demonstrates your commitment to the community and helps raise awareness of your business.
  • Collaborate with local businesses: Partner with complementary local businesses to create joint promotions, packages, or cross-marketing opportunities. This cross-pollination can introduce your business to new audiences and strengthen your local network.
  • Participate in local festivals and markets: Set up a booth or host activities at local festivals, markets, or community gatherings. Interact with attendees, offer giveaways, and provide information about your tourism offerings.
  • Offer local discounts and incentives: Create special offers or loyalty programs exclusively for local residents. This encourages repeat business and strengthens the sense of community connection.

Step Four: Hone Your Offering

Now that you’re active in your community, you can start thinking of waivers to tailor your experiences for locals – why not develop unique tour packages or activities that cater specifically to locals’ interests and preferences?  Highlight hidden gems, local history, or insider experiences that residents may not be aware of!

You might also host workshops or educational sessions related to your tourism niche. For example, if you run a wildlife tour, organize a 6-week photography workshop or a conservation talk.

Don’t underestimate the power of great, familiar service. Train your staff to recognize and remember local customers – personalized greetings and small gestures go a long way in making locals feel valued and appreciated, and your customers will develop a strong sense of loyalty for you and your team.

Step Five: Monitor and Improve

Now it’s time to track the results for areas to improve even further. Regularly monitor your social media performance and analyze the effectiveness of your strategies. Pay attention to engagement metrics, follower growth, and the impact on website traffic or conversions. Use social media analytics tools or platforms like Google Analytics to gain insights into audience behaviour and demographics. If you’ve used new forums, groups, or marketing channels, make sure you’ve added these into your Wherewolf digital waiver “Where did you hear about us?” responses, so you can see exactly how you did.

Adjust your approach based on the data and feedback you receive.

Cultivating a strong local following for your tourism business is a valuable investment that can lead to long-term success. By utilizing social media platforms, fostering community engagement, and creating memorable experiences, you can establish your business as a trusted local resource and generate loyal customers who will support your business consistently.

Embrace these strategies and watch as your local following grows – bringing increased visibility, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and sustainable business growth for your tourism venture.

If you haven’t already joined us at Wherewolf, why not request a demo with a product specialist about whether we’re a good fit for your business? That button has to look tempting!

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