With all of our county’s natural assets, it’s tempting to think that marketing Cornwall destinations requires little more than hanging up the Vacancies sign.
But there’s a lot of competition out there. And a race to the top when it comes to meeting visitors’ expectations. Even in Cornwall you need to offer something exceptional to make your tourism business thrive.
What tourists want
For several years I was the managing editor of VisitEngland’s Quality Edge, a magazine for owners of B&Bs, small hotels and self-catering accommodation. In that time, I wrote and commissioned dozens of articles and developed a good sense of what matters to tourists. Here’s 8 things every business should think about when marketing Cornwall destinations.
1 Wellness packages
The Independent Hotel Show has been bigging up the wellness trend for some time now. But what if you don’t have the experience to teach yoga, the space for spa treatments or the cooking skills for elaborate vegetarian fayre? That’s where I’ve seen operators thrive by teaming up with local providers. Relaxing, calming guest house + tai chi instructor (on or off site) and packed lunches from a vegetarian restaurant = a well positioned, marketable offer.
And this principle can be applied to other areas too, such as walking and water sports holidays.
2 Disabled access
Here’s a fact. One in five people in the UK are disabled. In other words, 20% of your potential market. Catering for people with mobility issues, hearing loss, or visual and mental impairment could make a real difference to your bookings. You can market your tourism business’s approach to disability by publishing an Accessibility Guide. See here for more details.
3 Themed rooms
I’ve come across a Harry Potter-themed guesthouse, a large hotel with the décor of an ocean liner and even a hotel themed on, er… llamas. So why not embrace a trend that is on the up and up by finding a theme for your Cornish B&B, guest house or self-catering apartment? It could be a Poldark-inspired 18th century interior with nooks and crannies and open fires. Or something more subtle with an airy beach theme. Whatever it is, it might be a great hook for marketing your Cornwall destination. Just be very careful about copyright infringement and take professional advice if necessary.
4 Good local food
Food with a local flavour will never get old. In Cornwall, we have great food handed to us on a plate. Why not serve homemade jam, fresh free range eggs and locally baked bread at breakfast? Oh, and how about some artfully wrapped Cornish fudge on the pillow?
5 Free WiFi
No ifs, no buts, good-quality WiFi is essential. In fact, visitors expect it just like they do hot and cold water and a selection of teas in a little basket. It won’t cost you a fortune to sort, so never neglect this essential service.
6 Promotional videos
According to some estimates, by 2020 80% of internet traffic will be video. Which means if you want to keep getting visits to your website, you’ll need to create your own promotional video highlighting your destination’s unique appeal. Shaky cameras, zoom-happy operators and deadpan narratives are out – standards are getting so much higher these days and you really ought to consider bringing in the professionals. If you want to go to town, you could commission a drone for those fabulous aerial shots, another growing trend even among smaller operators…
7 Tailored marketing
Catering for and marketing Cornwall to a particular visitor segment could give you an edge on the competition and a real focus for
your business. From the Chinese and the Americans to age-defined segments such as baby boomers or Millennials, there are very distinct markets you can target to bring in the bookings. To find out more about different segments and how to cater to them, visit www.visitbritain.org/visitor-segmentation.
8 Digital presence
Almost all of the successful tourism operators I have interviewed have a strong digital presence. This means a regularly updated website with good photography, a social media presence (many tweet or post facts about their local area) and a willingness to tackle negative reviews promptly (without getting argumentative) . Follow their example. And play the long game. Start tweeting and posting now regularly and watch your presence – and bookings – slowly but surely grow.
Martin Philp is a freelance copywriter based in Penzance, Cornwall. He helps brands and SMEs find creative ways to talk to customers and attract sign ups and sales. Get in touch on 07414 865222, email, or find out more about how his professional copywriting services can help Cornwall businesses now.
All under Creative Commons License.