Tourism is an ‘industry’ and accounts for almost 12% of Italian GDP, which is why private operators have now been placed next to traditional industries and the new national development program is called ‘Impresa 4.0’.
With factory closures, many operators seek to activate tourism initiatives but most of these operators do not have the necessary entrepreneurial training and the real risk is a scatter of energy and the few available resources.
110 million tourists arrived in Italy last year (data from the Ministry), 1 out of 10 arrived independently and did not follow the tour operators; yet it is often invisible to the same territories they visit. Since there is no attention to the tourist and no services are offered to the person, this is organized autonomously: the territory does not realize him and the wealth comes elsewhere.
For example, the millions of tourists who use Booking.com drain a 15% resource outside Italy (the percentage that takes the booking site) or the thousands of foreign operators who sell stays and services in Italy. Many houses in Umbria are rented by German portals and this stream remains invisible. Our incoming and direct business contacts with potential tourists grow but operate in a difficult situation because the territories are not told.
The situation is similar to that of agri-food: large resources go to those who organize large distribution and crumbs to small operators. Things can only change with a shift in the management culture of small operators and with a rise in the cultural level of customers through targeted communication and information (infotainment or edutainment).
WHAT TO KNOW TOURISM INDUSTRY?
Often as a tourist operator is meant who has a hotel or a restaurant or a travel agency. In fact, this is reductive and tourism is a true service industry for the person and every kind of experience has the potential to create a small business.
A small well-managed museum has the potential to have tens of thousands of visitors and become a catalyst for development.
Every personal trainer, assistant, translator, shopper, driver, sommelier, baby sittering, photographer … but also tourist guides, sports guides, and local dance dancers are all potential businesses. The list could be much longer. You need to have entrepreneurial spirit and managerial training.
ROLE OF THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
Touristic companies are generally private but the public can play a key role in at least 5 aspects:
- Cleanliness and hospitality of the city with particular emphasis on the historic center
- Administrative facilitation to the opening of service companies
- Support for the enhancement of a territory image with communication campaigns
- Organizing Callback Events
- Quality Supervision
All this has to go through a coordinated and constructive exchange of experiences with the idea of supporting each other and not overcoming. Private operators must be able to do the best for the general interest of the community.
First, you need to engage with those who already work in the area, hear the results you have achieved, and understand how you can support your growth. The growth of a tourism enterprise means the growth of a territory, especially thanks to the effect of social media.
WHO IS THE TOURIST IN MINOR TERRITORIES IN ITALY?
Minor territories are visited by people looking for experiences and probably are on the 2nd or 3rd trip to Italy. Understanding what your target is means to understand how to get in touch with potential customers to offer them services.
In general, cultural story readers are older than 40 years, but they lower when choosing a family target with younger children or when you have particular targeting of sports enthusiasts. For example, paragliding, rafting, skiing, horse riding, football, volleyball, etc … dedicated to a particular foreigner.
It should be remembered that a foreign tourist is worth 3 times that of an Italian tourist because he stays and uses all local services.
HOW DO YOU ATTRACT THIS TOURIST?
If 9 out of 10 tourists come independently, it is clear that they are organizing a trip seeking information from the web. In our story telling site we have seen that there is a great demand for information and after only a few months 30% of the audience comes from abroad. It means that every day there are people asking for news and details.
So the first thing to do is to explain the territories and do it in multiple languages, at least in English, which is the third most popular language in the world, but the most popular second language.
The web has its own rules and to be attractive to the searches you have to post articles every day, make a good SEO (search engine optimization) and work on the images as well. Then you have to make a social strategy, especially on Facebook and Instagram that reach the different age groups you wish to attract. The strategy must be aimed at having the right contacts with the target and becoming an influencer in the travel industry. In our experience (www.discoverplaces.travel) we have seen that part of the audience also comes from Pinterest, especially the female audience, from 30 to 45 years.
The role of the web is therefore crucial in its broadest sense and needs to be studied with a targeted and well-designed strategy every day. Making a website and not managing it can sometimes be counterproductive and the static image is reflected in the territory it promotes.
TOUR AND EXPERIENCE
Once you are in touch with a potential tourist and they are curious then you can propose experiencing a stay in the place being referred to. A trip that needs to be calibrated and customized on its desires: whether it be making homemade pasta, cooking, visiting art galleries, playing sports, doing wellness tours.
During and after this experience you can then think of selling local handicrafts and enhancing the small businesses of the place.
ACTIONS TO BE INCLUDED
There is not much time and money to spend and it is necessary to work synergistically and professionally. Actions must first be understood by those who already work in the territory, reading the National Strategic Plan on the ministry site. You need to have data and analyze that of local operators. Then you take the individual decisions on the case knowing that, in any case, the first thing to do on the web is to tell the stories in English of the territories and the experiences that you can have.