In today’s fiercely competitive world of travel and tourism, being an ordinary destination is simply not an option. The stakes are higher than ever, with budget-conscious travelers, intense competition, and the omnipresent scrutiny of social media. Let’s delve into why destinations need to be extraordinary and explore strategies to achieve that status.
Why Extraordinary Matters
- Discerning Travelers: In an era where travelers are meticulous about how they spend their hard-earned money, ordinary experiences simply won’t cut it. Visitors seek value, uniqueness, and memorable moments, making it imperative for destinations to stand out.
- Intense Competition: With countless destinations vying for travelers’ attention, the competition is relentless. Being ordinary means being forgettable, and forgettable destinations struggle to attract repeat visitors.
- Social Media Spotlight: The age of Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook has transformed travel experiences into viral content. Ordinary experiences receive limited attention, while extraordinary ones become social media sensations, bringing positive publicity.
- Word of Mouth: Negative word of mouth spreads faster than ever before. A less-than-stellar experience can quickly tarnish a destination’s reputation, deterring future visitors.
How to Be Extraordinary
- Proper Expectation-Setting: Begin by setting the right expectations. Your destination’s marketing and promotional materials should accurately represent the experience visitors can expect. Honesty in advertising builds trust and avoids disappointment upon arrival.
- Online Trip Planning Tools: Offer user-friendly online trip planning tools, including customizable itineraries. Help visitors craft their ideal experience by providing a platform to select attractions, activities, and accommodations tailored to their interests.
- A Feeling of Safety: Safety goes beyond crime prevention. It also involves creating an inclusive environment where visitors feel comfortable being themselves. Embrace diversity and promote a culture of acceptance and respect.
- Smart Design and Wayfinding: Invest in smart design and wayfinding solutions to ensure that visitors can easily navigate your destination. Clear signage, well-designed maps, and intuitive layouts contribute to a stress-free experience.
- Tech-Friendliness: Embrace technology to enhance the visitor experience. Provide robust Wi-Fi connectivity, utilize QR codes for online maps and information, and consider installing map kiosks for quick reference, similar to the successful model used in Blacksburg.
- Audit Your Online Reviews: Regularly monitor and analyze your destination’s online reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google. Pay attention to visitor feedback, both positive and negative, and use it to make necessary improvements.
How to Know If Yours Is Extraordinary
Rather than relying on traditional methods like focus groups and surveys, turn to social listening and reputation management. In the digital age, online conversations and reviews offer valuable insights into how visitors perceive your destination. Monitor social media mentions, engage with comments and reviews, and adapt your offerings based on feedback.
The pursuit of an extraordinary visitor experience is not a luxury but a necessity for today’s destinations. With careful attention to proper expectation-setting, online tools, safety, design, technology, and online reputation management, your destination can rise above the ordinary and become a remarkable and unforgettable experience for all who visit.