Destinations and tourism businesses benefit greatly from peer-to-peer promotion and operators in the know prompt it from their guests wherever possible by creating “socialgenic” experiences. Need a refresher?
Social + Genic = Socialgenic: That which produces or causes a connection and an exchange between two or more people.
Past articles in our series have addressed rituals and mementos, two key tactics in making experiences more shareable by design. This article addresses infrastructure, another important socialgenic tool.
Infrastructure refers to the structures, systems, and facilities needed for the operation of an enterprise. Most often, infrastructure is tactile, visible and immobile, like a hotel’s front desk. But sometimes, infrastructure that can be neither touched nor seen has a huge impact on a guest’s inclination and ability to share their experience. Offering free Wi-Fi is a significant example of this, especially when it appears in places travellers might not expect it.
How can tourism businesses uncover and apply strategic infrastructure upgrades? Let’s look at the process Seawolf Adventures went through to arrive at their planned infrastructure investment for the 2017 season. Offering “boat-based wildlife viewing and cultural tours”, this Northern Vancouver Island, Canada operator participated in a Destination Think-led tourism business coaching program.
1) Analyze the visitor journey
While Seawolf Adventures guests already find the cultural and wildlife tours remarkable and are keen to share their experiences, in-the-moment posts aren’t possible, as no Wi-Fi or cellular data are available on the boat, which travels to remote locations. In particular, international guests from Germany and the US tend not to have roaming data plans.
2) Solve a guest or business problem
To support their guests’ desire to document and share their trips, Seawolf has decided to provide free Wi-Fi on their tour boats.
3) Look to your business’ Origin Story to add a remarkable element to your solution
Origin: The point at which something comes into existence or from which it derives or is derived.
Story: An account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something
Origin Story: The account of the point at which something comes into existence or from which it is derived.
Seawolf owner Mike Willie is recognized for his efforts to share his First Nations culture and in particular, preserve the traditional Kwak’wala language of Vancouver Island through everything he does, including his business. (Learn some Kwak’wala words here.)
4) Make people part of something bigger: A learning experience (K’ak’ut’ɬa, as they say in Kwak’wala)
The previous steps add up to a powerful combination. By applying infrastructure upgrades to solve a visitor problem while integrating his personal goals and Origin Story, Mike can create a truly socialgenic experience.
What will be the outcome? As part of the 2017 Seawolf Adventures cultural and wildlife tours, guests will receive a map that includes the traditional Kwak’wala words that describe much of what guests will see. For example, bo’t means “boat” and ga̱lda̱x̱dłalis means “long inlet.” Visitors will have a role to play in preserving and sharing the culture they are experiencing beyond simply witnessing it. They will be able to post, tweet or email photos using the Kwak’wala words and their English and German equivalents as #hashtags or in descriptions. All related posts will carry #kwakwala, helping create awareness for the language which is only currently spoken by 200 people fluently. In this way they are invested in sharing and preserving traditional language beyond simply witnessing it.
Destination Marketing is changing fast. It’s time to change faster.
Hundreds of tourism businesses have experienced the effectiveness of Destination Think’s Xcelerator™ training programs. The Xcelerator™ methodology transforms destinations with industry education and action. With a focus on tactics that boost the bottom line, participating businesses gain confidence and competence in experience design, digital marketing and social media.
To learn how you can invest your industry training budget in a program proven to help industry operators act and excel, add a comment below or get in touch by email.
When designing socialgenic experiences, remember that providing the necessary infrastructure to guide and support your guests in their desire to share their experiences can have a dramatic impact on the amount of peer-to-peer conversations your experience can generate. Consider that beyond the core tourism experience, the modern tourism operator or destination must give their guests value by providing opportunities to share online. Achieving social symbiosis will turn visitors into the destination’s best marketers.
Destination Think has helped hundreds of operators transform their businesses from traditional to shareable by design. To learn how to turn your destination’s visitors into your best marketers, contact us today.
Featured image courtesy of SeawolfAdventures.com