Attracting agritourism group travelers | Living the Country Life

Attracting agritourism group travelers

The more authentic and unique the experience, the better chance a tour bus will pay you a visit.
Photo courtesy of University of California-Davis

Baby-boomers are inundating the leisure travel market and are a niche audience for agritourism businesses. Now more than ever, group travelers are looking for experiences rather than shopping opportunities. Tour busses, car clubs and bikers will veer off the traditional routes if an attraction generates a strong pull.

Diane Van Wyngarden is an Extension tourism specialist with Iowa State University. She recently completed a five-year study on what the group travel industry wants and how rural America can capture that market. She found there are three key things that will increase your magnetism. The first one is the opportunity for learning.

"So for example if going to a goat dairy farm, visitors today want to do more than simply look at a pen of goats and buy cheese," she says. "They want to learn about the goat husbandry, what obstacles the business owner faced and what solutions they found to overcome those challenges. They like the opportunity to milk a goat and see how the cheese is processed. They want to sample the cheese flavors."

She says incorporating humor into your presentations relaxes the tour group and melds them together. The group leader will love you if you can make them laugh. And the third key is to offer an experience that evokes emotion.

"Often this is a speaker or guide’s personal story, but it can be something such as music, or food, or a smell which brings back memories."

Van Wyngarden says if you can offer all three of these principals you’ve nailed it, and tour groups might change their route to visit your place even if you’re off the beaten path.

Read more about  trends in agritourism

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