Getting your tour, activity or attraction offering ready for international visitors involves hard work. As much as we’d like to tell you that you can be an inbound success overnight, the truth of the matter is that you have to factor in at least 18 months of lead time before you start seeing results. And that lead time is completely dependant on your inbound strategy and relationship building skills.
The Australian Tourism Export Council has developed in-depth training programs to help tour operators succeed in making their tourism products export ready. ATEC’s Industry Development & Education National Manager, Jennifer Bruce, talked about this in a recent #TourismTakeaway webinar, 11 tips to ensure your offering is export ready.
So what do you need to do to get your tourism product ready for international visitors? Here are 5 things you need to know before tackling the global marketplace.
Your business needs to be in check
Before you even consider stepping one toe out of Australia or New Zealand, you need to take a good hard look at your business. Ask yourself, ‘Is my operation running smoothly? How do I know if it is commercially ready? Will my offerings appeal to my ideal international target market?’
Cultural understanding is imperative
A brochure covered in bikini-clad girls laying on a Surfer’s Paradise beach isn’t the best way to attract travellers from more conservative nations such as the United Arab Emirates. This isn’t a joke, this is a real example of an inbound attempt gone wrong.
No matter which country you’re planning to target, you need to be culturally aware. Collateral that doesn’t appeal to your market won’t provide a return on investment and it might just offend some people.
The key takeaway here is: do your research to understand what’s appropriate and tweak your existing messaging to fit.
Relationships are paramount
Relationships form the foundation of success in most things business-wise. Developing your offerings to be export ready is no different. You need to cultivate relationships with people far and wide.
Attending trade events such as the Australian Tourism Exchange gives you the opportunity to develop and nurture relationships with international stakeholders. Having strong relationships gives you the option to validate your ideas, pricing rates, etc. It’s all about commercial connections.
An understanding of trade and distribution is a must
Getting the offering out is challenging. You need to have a strong understanding of what trade and distribution channels will reach your target consumers. But you don’t necessarily have to spend thousands of dollars on consumer trade to be successful. The most effective approaches are highly targeted and are often done in collaboration with relevant partners. Talk to your industry contacts and tourism boards to figure out the best way to reach your target market.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
You need to stand back and realise that getting your business export ready is a marathon, not a sprint, and it takes patience. Building networks, marketing, and developing contracts takes time, and not everything is going to work for you. But it’s absolutely worth it. If done well, not only is the return on investment great, it’s also a hugely rewarding feat to accomplish.
Want more tips on how to get your tourism product export ready? Watch our 11 tips to ensure your offering is export ready website with ATEC’s Jennifer Bruce to learn more.
Booking Boss is an online booking system for tour operators and attraction providers. Trusted by many in the tourism industry, Booking Boss is about getting you out of the spreadsheets and into the sun. We provide free education resources for operators like you, to make your business the best it can possibly be.