What do our visitors want?

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What do our visitors to St Kilda want?

How we can provide the right information to them, at the right time, through the right channels?

We’d all love to know the answers about what we can do as businesses to meet our visitor’s needs. For small businesses (and large) there are some things we can all do.

Smartphones have changed the way our visitors seek information. They are increasingly reliant on digital content to shape their experience. This is great, but it raises questions about the role and value of traditional channels of visitor information such as visitor information centres and even maps. Most people I know now research most of their holiday online before they go, then use social media whilst on their journey to fill in the gaps. Visitors want information that is current, accessible and easy to use. They are seeking out opinions, rather than information.

The City of Melbourne commissioned research into the ‘visitor journey’. They asked visitors about the information they wanted at different stages of their journey – at the planning and booking stage, on arrival at the destination, and when they’re exploring the place. Visitors were also asked about their preferred channels for sourcing this information, and the formats they wanted it in.

They discovered some insights that we can all learn from – no matter what type of business we run, and regardless of which suburb we’re in.

We now know that the number of visitors to Melbourne is increasing (but in our case, the number of visitors to St Kilda is decreasing) the number of contacts with our face to face visitor services is decreasing, and more visitors are using digital devices than ever before. This doesn’t surprise me, but what did, was that people still believe that the staff at Visitor Information centres tell the truth, they aren’t selling you anything and they are the most credible source of information.

This is great for St Kilda, as we now have a Visitor Information Centre. A mobile one actually! It’s the St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi, and you may have seen it cruising the streets of St Kilda and parked out the front of events and shows, directing our visitors to business in the area. Need a bar? Place to stay? A cheap burger? Our volunteers can point visitors in the right direction.

 

What do we do with this information?

The City of Melbourne’s findings have shown us that information for the visitor is abundant – but what do they really want, and when do they need it?  Does everyone really want everything online these days?

We now know that before the trip, visitors are sourcing traveller and insider opinions and reviews online. Then on arrival they are accessing local visitor information services online and in person.  During the trip they update and check into Facebook, and use mainly Twitter and Instagram. Then finally on departure they update Facebook, attractions, update Twitter and start posting reviews about their journey.

Interestingly, 78% of people interviewed in the study were using Facebook as their primary source of information. Is your business on Facebook? Maybe it’s time for a refresher in social media for small businesses……

 

So to sum it up…

We still know that visitors prefer visitor centric information, so don’t throw out all your maps and brochures just yet.If you need help with your marketing, build on relationships with destination experts. Your social media presence IS important; you can’t hide from Facebook forever, and finally – do some well, rather than try to do all.

  • Understand more about your customers
  • Make sure your customers have access to your information
  • Map out the information and marketing that will attract them
  • Deliver the experience your customers want, identify gaps and recognise opportunities
  • Understand and correct the weak spots in your visitors’ experience
  • Create loyal visitors who want to recommend and return.

 

St Kilda Tourism recently launched its new membership program for businesses in St Kilda. By becoming a member you receive access to the St Kilda Visitor Info Kombi, collaborative marketing opportunities, and direct links to the tourism industry. If you are interested in finding out more contact us at info@stkildamelbourne.com.au.

 

Find us @VisitStkilda and facebook.com/VisitStKildaMelbourne

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