Developing your Tourism Product
Your product is the combination of ‘goods and services’ that make up the visitor experience, including the standard of your facilities and equipment, the level of service you provide and the quality of your interpretation.
An individual product will make up only part of the total travel or tourism product for a consumer. The complete travel experience includes all the elements that a tourist consumes from the time they leave home until they return. These individual elements include transport, accommodation, attractions and activities. These may be purchased independently by the consumer or bundled into a package for sale by an ITO or wholesaler.
The development of your product should be guided by the type of experience or holiday needs your target market seeks. A backpacker may be happy to share a room with other travellers and place more value on the quality of their experience. A honeymoon couple may look for five star indulgence in secluded, romantic surroundings. An Asian traveller may seek soft adventure experiences but want to return to a city hotel each day.
When developing your product you should:
- Always consider the product from the consumer’s view and focus on the benefits for them, otherwise you might have a product that nobody wants;
- Think about the characteristics that make your product unique and define your unique selling proposition (USP), your point of difference from the competition; and
- Remember that the characteristics of your product or service that directly meet your consumer’s needs may differ according to the market and the traveller you are targeting.
Not all products are suitable to be marketed internationally on an individual basis, particularly smaller products located outside of major gateway cities, not linked to major wildlife or heritage destinations or off established tourist routes. It is essential that these products demonstrate an appeal that is not available in more accessible destinations. It is often difficult to attract international visitors to an area outside established destinations as they may have limited time and knowledge of the area. However, by working cooperatively with your region to promote the destination as a whole, there is a better chance that visitors will take the time to visit.
Work in cooperation with local operators and create a package or bundle that will make your product more enticing. (More information on ‘bundling’ your product to create an enhanced product offering will be posted in “Lorton Scribblings” in coming weeks).
When planning your product for inbound travellers consider:
- Location – are there attractions and facilities nearby which enhance the appeal of your product?
- Price – is the product competitively priced and does it allow for all levels of commission?
- Accessibility – how do visitors get to your product? Is transport available?
- Seasonality – are you open to coincide with peak arrivals from your target market?
- Hours of operation – are they regular and compatible with transport times?
- Time – how do you fit into an international itinerary? Do visitors need to stay overnight? Will they miss out on other attractions if they visit you?
- Information Availability – for both tourists and your distribution partners; and
- Reservations – How easy is it for consumers to book your product?
As tourism is essentially a service industry it is essential that quality standards permeate every aspect of your operations. The foundations for quality are comprehensive training, evaluation and accreditation programs for both management and staff.
Lorton Consulting has a wealth of experience in destination visioning; strategic master planning; concept development for tourism products and drivers; conducting demand assessments and feasibility studies for new tourism regions, destinations and sites. Learn more about our services here.
Contact Lorton Consulting about your specific tourism planning needs — we would be more than willing to advise you.