Small towns watch the endless parade of cars going by on the highway. How can we get them to stop?
That question from a reader got me thinking. I’d love your ideas on this question.
Before you worry about “getting people to stop”, recognize that “family and friends” visits are your primary source of visitors right now. Teach your locals how to be good “family and friends” tour guides and hosts. Give them things to do together. Start with small town things that you already do well:
- ball games
- star gazing
- church suppers
- local eateries
- farm visits
- artist visits
- cool local experiences.
Use your 8 Rural Cultural Elements. This exercise will help you realize the amazing things you already have. Read about how to do it in Developing small town tourism.
Adapt to people’s changing travel motivations. Visitors today want different things than they did in the past. Find out more in Changing travel motivations.
Ask recent residents what surprised and delighted them. Anyone who is new in town will have some idea of what is amazing that you take for granted. Ask them about it.
Tie in with other regional towns. You may not have enough cool things on your own to warrant a stop, but if you partner up with neighboring towns, you just might have it.
Be known for one thing. Pick your one best asset and go with it. The committee will probably argue to include lots more things. Resist. Show them Roger Brooks’ advice in How to market a small town.
What would you add? How can small towns get some of the people from that never-ending parade of passers-by to stop?
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