I have just returned from a weekend in Lakes Entrance, Victoria where I have spent some time with my friend who runs a motel and is about to open a restaurant.
Having lived their previously, and knowing the dependence that the town has on the tourism dollar, it constantly amazes me how businesses in smaller markets can sometimes be their own enemies.
The shrinking domestic market and the dwindling lure for international travellers because of the rising dollar has made tourism a competitive field. Many businesses, however, don’t look beyond the boundaries of their own local area to realise that the person next door to them is not competition, but potentially an ally in business.
Cheap accommodation signs, discounts from group buying sites and battles to win the off-road dollar don’t do well to promote a destination as a whole or attract a market, they cannibalise the market that is already there.
My friend has told me that he refuses to play the cut-price accommodation game. While he will provide offers on accommodation sites like Wotif.com, he will not market his accommodation for less than its worth, believing that if you provide a great product and good service at a fair price it does well not just for the business but for the local economy.
Instead of playing the cut-price game wouldn’t tourism-reliant economies serve well to band together to increase the exposure of their market to their target audience?
While local tourism bodies do this job for the market as a whole, tourism businesses can also support (and benefit) through directing their marketing, public relations and social media strategies towards promoting the benefits of visiting a local area and ensuring that visitors have a great experience and keep in contact with the area long after they’ve gone.
This way, rather remembering the cheap price that they paid for a holiday (and forgetting about it when the next good deal comes along) tourists will remember the experience, tell their friends about it and come back again.
What would you rather have, a cheap holiday or a great holiday?
And I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t give my friend’s motel a plug. If you are down that way, visit the Comfort Inn and Suites Emmanuel in Lakes Entrance.
….,” says David