It’s time to think beyond families and couples. Don’t let these visitors sneak beyond your CVB’s marketing reach.
Your marketing efforts probably have marketing to phone-glued business travelers, adventurous couples and memory-seeking families down to a science — and that takes work. But beyond these never-drying rivers of staple vacationers, fringe travelers are in need of a city guide, a weekend itinerary, and maybe a restaurant recommendation or two.
The Food Lover
They’re movers and shakers, but thanks to the Travel Channel and anything Anthony Bourdain ever touched, you now have vacationers hoping to eat and drink like locals. In fact, the word “local” is all you need to attract food tourists from almost anywhere — and a James Beard Award-winning or nominated chef helps, too.
Culinary excursions are in demand. They cover bustling farmers’ markets, brewery tours and, of course, distinct restaurants. The best thing for CVBs to do is to create itineraries to these culinary gems, much like the dining guide we generated for Visit Tucson – A Taste of the Southwest: Food Tour. Share cooking class schedules, nearby winery tours, or that no-frills lunch spot with the great noodles.
The more unique food experience offered, the better. Think Charlotte’s Southern Fare: A Field Guide for foodies interested in the cuisine of North Carolina’s most populated city, or Minnesota travelers looking for the Midwest’s take on burgers — many listed in Minnesota Burgers: Beyond the Juicy Lucy.
The Female Traveler
Sure, “Eat, Pray, Love” is more than a decade old, but the message rings true — the female traveler is a large presence. Whether it’s road tripping with best friends or extra time at the end of a business trip, women may easily wander your museums, fill your day spas, browse your bookstores or explore surrounding parks and trails.
Women are traveling together, and it’s not just for bachelorette parties. Women from all generations — college students to grandparents alike — are the primary travel decision makers. Will you target moms who could use a 48-hour refresh a couple towns over? Or boomers taking advantage of a cross-country trip with friends they’ve known for decades?
Explore Minnesota’s Four Great Towns for a Girlfriends Getaway is the best of both worlds.
And don’t discount solo travelers. The Travel Industry Association estimates about 32 million women travel solo annually. After all, a day of indulgence is often best spent alone. Female travelers may rather revel in the Beauty of Silence; the goal is “finding tranquility through inner peace,” which your visitor won’t do by conversing with travel companions.
The Reward Seeker
For some, stamp collecting conjures dusty volumes of historic postage. For others, it’s an adventure all its own. Passport programs are a unique and fun way to keep travelers engaged and moving to their next destination in your town.
Parks often equip their gift shops with handheld booklets ready to be filled with cancelation stamps, beloved by kids and adults alike. Travelers can find them in metro areas (think Eastern National’s Passport to Your National Parks at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry visitor center downtown) or venture into the Maine wilderness to collect a free season pass.
And it’s not just state park systems. Baseball stadiums and other cultural sites participate in some sort of passport program as well. If your city has an iconic landmark involved, it may be a good idea to let visitors know.