4 Ways To Activate Your Citizens To Drive Local Tourism

Drive Economic Development and Tourism by Activating Your Citizens

Pre-COVID travel is back! In 2021, NYC saw 33 million visitors as opposed to only 22 million in 2020, according to a report from NYC & Company. In 2022, they are expecting those numbers to reach 56 million. All of this to say is that people are ready to travel again and they want to visit your city! Through advocacy marketing, you can help propel your tourism industry and create memorable experiences for both visitors and residents alike. Check out these four ways to make tourism in your city fun again! 

How Does Tourism Help Drive Economies? 

Tourism is the third largest export globally, accounting for nearly 10% of the global GDP. Tourism is an integral part of every healthy city, as it: 

  • Helps drive economic development and interest. 
  • Boosts international investment.  
  • Protect cultural sites, 
  • sustain intangible pieces of local culture, 
  • facilitate conservation, 
  • spread philanthropy, 
  • Support local women, who make up 60% to 70% of the tourism workforce.

And that’s just the beginning.

Travel and tourism is a significant industry player as it touches many lives and industries. Rural tourism alone can help to support economic diversification and create jobs for low-income areas that otherwise would not exist. 

Through tourism, your city can help revitalize urban areas that once shined but now remain dull for various reasons, helping to drive money and people back into these integral parts of your city. Because tourism impacts so many different kinds of people, areas, and industries, there are more formal and informal ways for your citizens to make money. 

So, how can you grow your tourism footprint by activating your local citizenry? By leveraging the power of an advocacy marketing program!

4 Ways to Activate Your Citizens to Promote Your Tourism Offering

With advocacy marketing, your citizens can become a megaphone for promoting your tourism offering. Once you’ve launched your advocacy marketing program (say through a system like the award-winning SocialToaster platform), your citizens can create their advocacy marketing profile by linking their social media accounts to the advocacy marketing platform. 

Then, whenever you have new marketing content, you can send it straight to your advocacy members, who can share it directly with their social media following – 10xing your awareness and visibility without paying a dime in paid media.

Here are four ways to leverage your advocacy marketing program and citizenry to promote your tourism offering. 

Four Ways Local Citizens Can Support Your Tourism Industry

Collab with Local Influencers 

Local influencers will be your best friends when promoting your city, region, or country. These people know all the best hot spots, holes in the walls, and personal favorites. They’re like a living, breathing Yelp.com. 

Influencers come with more than just great recommendations to share; they also come with an audience of local, regional, and beyond individuals who are always looking for the next latest and most fabulous Instagram post or location for the hottest TikTok dance. 

Did you know that 37% of young people say they are influenced by their social networks when choosing a travel destination? Some young people even go as far as selecting a picture-perfect destination so they can capture the ultimate post for the ‘gram. 

When choosing a local influencer or team of influencers to work with, you don’t have to pick just food and travel influencers. Fashion, reading, outdoor activities, sports, etc., are all niche areas that influencers in your space share with their audience. And all great reasons why anyone would want to visit you.

Partner with your local influencers to create content. Then distribute that content to your advocates to share. 

Increase City Branding and Awareness 

Now that you’ve got your influencer team locked and loaded, ready to share all your city’s fantastic and unique intricacies, it’s time to create some share-worthy city branding. 

Most travel and tourism organizations consider photo walls, stickers, shirts, and hats to drive brand awareness. But city branding isn’t just about cool swag for your citizens. It’s also about the positive experience they have with the brand. 

73% of consumers love a brand because of helpful customer service. So how can a city help provide “excellent customer service” through increasing city branding? 

Your city can start equipping your local business owners with a directory of local businesses, important landmarks, and incredible sights and eats. Next, set up city welcome centers in the major pulse points of your city. These spaces should be able to provide a brief history, hold a host of local directories and brochures, and offer city tours to guide new visitors on a memorable time in your great city. 

Not only do directories, tours, and visitor centers allow visitors access to a one-stop space of everything they need to know about your city, it’s an excellent way for you to get face time with visitors. 

Once you’ve launched your welcome platform, use your advocates to build awareness of these tools – making it clear that your city or attraction is committed to providing a powerful, positive experience. 

Consider a Contest: Staycation Giveaway 

Convincing outsiders can sometimes feel like too heavy of a lift, so why not connect with the people right in your own backyard? 

Nearly 23% of employed individuals opt to use their yearly PTO for staycations. TripAdvisor has noticed a whopping 80% of searches are for local getaways. While restriction travel continues to decrease, exploring your home city or region as a tourist can be loads of fun. 

So what constitutes a great staycation? 

A stay in a beautiful hotel or unique AirBnB, within walking distance to excellent culinary delights with access to unique excursions, is a start. Your residents help make your city or region extra special, so reward them with a memorable staycation experience that showcases the best aspects of your tourism offering. 

Because you’ve already linked up and established strong relationships with your advocates, you can use your advocacy platform to share your giveaway with their extended network. Influencer giveaways can be as straightforward or as complex as you wish to make them. You can choose a theme like a cozy fall getaway to your best bed and breakfast or a weekend out on the town in your downtown area. 

Ask Your Advocates to Create Personal Testimonies

Everyone’s experience with your city adds another layer of amazingness. Personal testimonies can provide a first-hand account of what it’s like to experience your city through the words and voices of your valuable residents. It allows outsiders to briefly experience your city or region through words, imagery, or video that helps briefly transport them in a way that makes them want to be there physically. 

To make it even more social, create a city or region-specific hashtag. For example, #PureMichigan is a hashtag used when visitors or residents want to share their experiences, aka their testimony regarding their time in Michigan, with their followers. Social media users can explore food, beverage, sites, and excursions your advocates post within this hashtag, making it easy to plan a trip to Michigan. 

Share Your City with Help From Social Toaster

Ready to share your city with the world? SocialToaster can help! Our enterprise advocacy and social promotion platform make it easy to activate your citizenry and elevate your tourism offering. Contact us today to schedule your call.

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