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If you aren’t familiar with the concept of the attention economy, it’s based on the fact that consumer attention is limited and always comes at a price—that price has skyrocketed in recent years. Every single day, there are more companies, with more brands and more products to advertise, which means there’s more demand for consumer attention than ever.

Before launching a communication campaign to promote your destination, it is important to know it well. Here are our tips for assessing the tourist potential of your destination and defining your objectives.

You will find in this blog post all the tips for evaluating your destination. You must know that I am able to help you for free in this task. At the bottom of this post, you will find a link to my Destination Attractiveness Survey (2017) which will allow you to make an initial self-assessment. Upon receiving, I will be able to take over the task of carrying out a more detailed study of your destination.

Within 15 days (this period may vary), I will send you my complete analysis, indicating your strengths and weaknesses as well as my recommendations for your communication campaign.Finally, I will be available for 1 hour to exchange by phone around this study and I will provide you with an Excel version so that you can adapt the tool to your needs.

Please note that I will distribute the studies, but on the other hand, I allow myself to summarize all the feedback received and distribute it annually. This will allow you to benchmark yourself.

Knowing your destination is essential!

As I said in the introduction, there is no point in launching a communication campaign if you do not know your potential and, above all, if you have not clearly defined your objectives. Let’s start with the beginning, the analysis of its destination.

We can identify 6 themes to assess your destination that are:

  • Attractiveness of the destination
  • Infrastructures
  • Competition
  • Visitors Profile
  • Getting data
  • Satisfaction

1. The attractiveness of your destination

This is one of the major criteria that will influence travelers in their choice of trip. In fact, some destinations are so attractive that they communicate very little or no communication at all. They left the good old “word-of-mouth” working. To find out if you are one of these, you will have to try to measure your attractiveness. For this reason, it is recommended that you simply consider the following criteria:

  • Number of classified sites
  • Number of UNESCO classified sites
  • Number of places to visit with an international reputation
  • Number of places to visit with a national reputation.
  • Number of places to visit with a local reputation
  • Do travel guides talk about your destination specifically?
  • Do you have beaches? If so, do they have quality labels?
  • Do you have hiking trails? If so, are they well maintained? Are the available maps up to date? Are the circuits marked out?
  • Do you have mountains? If so, do you have ski areas?
  • Do you have national parks?
  • Do you have national marine parks?
  • Do you have bike paths?
  • Do you have streams or rivers where river tourism is possible or already in place?
  • Do you have thalassotherapy centers?
  • Do you have casinos?
  • Do you have zoos? amusement parks? water amusement parks? aquariums? Each time, evaluate whether they are international, nationally or locally renowned.
  • Do you have unusual accommodations? If so, do you have any really unusual ones (other than the classic trailers and cabins)?
  • Do you have any starred restaurants?
  • Do you have vineyards? If yes, are they internationally, locally or nationally renowned?
  • Do you have tourist routes?
  • Do you have nationally recognized cheeses?
  • Do you have internationally renowned local products?
  • Do you have motorhome areas?
  • Do you have a strong local culture?
  • Do you have cities where you can make urban getaways for a weekend with museums, shopping areas, architecture…?
  • Do you have any major events?
  • What activities or experiences are possible in your destination?

The main idea of this first questionnaire is to identify your assets and determine whether your potential attractiveness is local, national or international. For each question, ask yourself if this sector is being developed at home, if you wish to develop it and if it has local, national or international recognition. Let’s take some examples, cycling tourism is a strong trend in France and other part of Europe. Does your region lend itself to this? Do you have updated tourist infrastructures and maps? Would you like to develop it in the short or medium term? Do these circuits have or will have local, national or international potential?

2. The infrastructure

Good infrastructure is essential to bring travelers. Of course, this involves transportation to reach the destination but also transport on site. There are also accommodation and restaurants to be taken into account. Here are the questions to ask:

  • Infrastructure to reach your destination:
  • Do you have ports?
  • Do you have airports?
  • Do you have motorway connections?
  • Do you have bus lines?
  • Do you have high-speed lines?

For each type of transport, look at the cities and countries served, identify travel times and frequency of transport. It is also important to see if you are only a passing city or a city to visit. Take airports, for example. If you have many routes to the UK, it would be interesting to contact the airlines to find out the filling rates and seasonality of flights. If the filling rate is low or medium, then you have a potential to look for. Try to see if it would be appropriate to run a communication campaign with these destinations. Conversely, if the rate is high, check with the airlines to see if there is any additional tourism potential.

Regarding hotel infrastructure, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What types of accommodation are there?
  • Campsite
  • 1-star hotel
  • 2-star hotel
  • 3-star hotel
  • 4-star hotel
  • 5-star hotel
  • Gites
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Youth hostel
  • Residential accommodation (Airbnb or Homestay)
  • Unusual accommodations
  • How many per categories do you have?
  • How many nights or people can them accommodate per category?
  • What are the filling rates for each category?
  • What are the services offered (pool, TV, parking, breakfast, catering, etc.)

Finally, you will need to look at the infrastructures you have on site:

  • Do you have roads in good condition?
  • Do you have public transportation to serve tourist sites? If not, do you have private services? or car rental companies? What is their filling rate, seasonality? the type of visitors?
  • Do you have car parks and parking spaces? What is their attendance? their locations?
  • Do you have congested areas during peak tourist periods?
  • Do you have areas for motorhomes?
  • Do you have tourist offices? Are they frequented? Where are they located?

Don’t forget WiFi coverage, 4G, 3G,…, websites and mobile applications. Of course, it is immaterial, but for me, it is part of the infrastructure that facilitates preparation and travel on site. A point to be taken into account is the number of so-called “official” sites that promote the same territory. I encourage you to gather around the same site because otherwise, you will cannibalize each other.

3. Competition

It is important to evaluate your destination, but it is even more important to compare you with the competition. There are three ways to approach this analysis. The first is proximity competition. Which is the one right next to you? Identify their strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to take a look at their latest communication campaigns to find out what they are doing. This can be for example gastronomy, cycling or family tourism.

The second competition is the one that has the same core target as you. For example, Vienna’s competitors are Rome, London or Barcelona, all of which target the same clientele. The approach is the same as for local competition, we must evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, observe their latest campaigns and measure their tourist performances (frequencies, tourism-related turnover, average spending per day and per visitor, etc.).

With this analysis, you will be able to measure yourself against the competition. This is called benchmarking. This will allow you to estimate your growth potential and why not identify future partnerships or clusters around the same brand.

4. Visitor Profile

It is important that you know the profile of the visitors who come to your home. Especially if you have the ambition to change your target.  There is no better way to do this than to review these criteria:

  • Type of travelers (Solo, couple, family, business…)
  • Socio-Professional category
  • Provenance
  • Stay duration
  • Average spending per day and visitor

I wanted to focus on business tourism. Very often we are interested in leisure tourism while business tourism has a huge potential that is under-exploited in France.

5. Getting the Data 

The data are essential to properly evaluate the tourism of a territory. It is even recommended that you archive measure your performance and evolution. Numbers and unencrypted data can be very numerous. It will, therefore, be necessary to indicate which ones are essential. Here are for me the ones that are, in my opinion, essential:

  • What are the most visited sites?
  • What is the annual attendance of the destination?
  • What is the number of visitors over the year? Seasonality?
  • What is the distribution of tourism on the territory?
  • Which infrastructures are most used?
  • What is the frequency of hotels, restaurants and tourist activities?
  • What is the turnover generated by tourism?
  • What is the average expense per day and passenger?
  • What are the competitors’ figures?
  • How many visitors to your websites? your applications?
  • How many subscribers on your Social Networks?
  • What are the ratings of the most visited tourist sites on Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor?
  • What are the ratings of the accommodations of my territory on Booking, Google and TripAdvisor?
  • What are the global, national and local tourism trends?

When you have all the data in your possession, compare the potential you have identified with the data collected. The best thing is to map your territory. This facilitates comparison.

It is sometimes useless to build more accommodation and infrastructure because it makes you less flexible in times of crisis, it takes time and huge budgets. And then few destinations manage to distribute tourism well over the territory and the year. So there is enormous potential.

6. Satisfaction

The satisfaction of its travelers is paramount and the attention paid to them is regularly at the center of the tourist offices’ concerns. We need to develop satisfaction surveys on your territory. This can be done in tourist offices, in accommodation, places of activity, on the ground or even via the Internet after their stay.

As I said, when you think about satisfaction, you think of the customer. But he’s not the only one who deserves attention. There are also tourism professionals and locals. Tourism professionals can be a very good source of information and their satisfaction is essential because they participate in the tourist development of your territory. As for the premises, their happiness deserves your full attention. Of course, I’m not talking about politics, of course, because that’s not the point. On the other hand, anger is rumbling in the capitals of southern Europe. The locals no longer want tourists because they distort their way of life and their culture, they raise prices, they invade the homes reserved for them,… So you have to deal with them. The easiest thing is to do a survey to identify the sources of their dissatisfaction, but the most important thing is to answer them by publishing your study and indicating the actions you have taken to improve the situation. Don’t forget that locals and tourism professionals are your first ambassadors!

7. Define the objectives

Now that you have assessed your destination well and clearly identified your strengths, weaknesses and future tourism trends, you can define your objectives. For that, nothing could be simpler, just follow the SMART method:

  • Specific: the objective is clear and specific
  • Measurable: it must be possible to quantify it and, above all, assess the current position in order to measure change.
  • Ambitious
  • Relevant
  • Timely

In order to help you better and assess your destination, you will find below a link the Destination Survey. If you send it, I will carry out an extended analysis of your destination and send it to you by email. We will also be able to exchange by telephone on this one. Finally, I will send you a file in Excel format to adapt the file to your needs.

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