Why do we travel? Why do we want to get away from it all? It is different for all of us. Our motivations are particular to each of us. The key for the tourism destination, their marketing staff, and those part of the greater value chain, are to develop a message that tugs, and pulls you to make a decision. It is hard though. It is hard to understand why people choose one place over another. There is a plethora of research out there, hinting at the various angles.
Motivations change over time, even minutes. It is not an exact science, but more relative, and qualitative. It will always have air of mystery. The crystal ball will be murky, clouded by the mist that is our minds, those internal and external forces that exert some influence on that decision. What drives me today, is not the same tomorrow?
So how do we get into the mind of the consumer? How do we dig for nuggets of information in order to craft experiences that they would want? What goes in to making those marketing messages that bombard us on TV, and other distribution channels?
Can we employ words, videos, music, and other methods to create visuals that plant kernels into the minds of our potential consumers? That means we need to dive into the breadth of the soul of a destination. Not just from a customer’s point of view, but also the destination itself.
I know you might get tire of my ongoing use of Scotland, but Scotland is the birthplace of organized tourism in modern times (IMHO). Think Sir Walter Scott and the search for the honors of Scotland…just noodle around Google. Their representation of the country align the tangible products of the country with the mystique, and mystery, the colors, the culture, the taste, the music, the words…the soul.
If we understand ourselves as a destination, then strike out to understand our potential customer, who they are, what drives their motivations; their lifestyle, then we can pinpoint on the mosaic of products all that they might be interested in, and craft an experience.
As I said in today’s class, 140, we are visual thinkers. Books, words, transform into pictures as we read. Therefore, the image is currency. We develop a sense of that destination from what is on the page. Likewise, any encounters with the people of differing backgrounds, those conversations can give you a sense of their background, their lifestyle, their home. It may just be enough to prompt us to investigate, even if it is from the arm-chair in front of our computer.
After we get them to move, make a decision, we wonder how their stay was…and that gets into a whole different arena
So, enough to chew on….more on the conversation later…