January 6, 2022
COVID brought a bounty of obstacles for the tourism industry, and we heard a lot of stories about the need to pivot during the last 2 years. Nearly all businesses had to make some sort of changes or tweaks to the way they operated. Thankfully the majority of the tourism operators we surveyed were able to keep their business afloat, which you can read more about here.
But as the travel landscape quickly evolves, it’s worth exploring this concept of pivoting and expanding. Perhaps the tour that you offered in 2019 is no longer the tour you wish to offer in 2022. Maybe the last few years had you rethinking the type of experience you desire to offer guests.
It’s normal to experience this feeling of wanting to change things up after a life-altering, worldwide pandemic. If you’re looking out at the world right now and feeling like the pre-COVID concept you created no longer aligns with your vision, then keep reading.
The idea of multi-concept is popular in the food, beverage, and hospitality space. It’s when a property becomes more than just a place to eat or a place to sleep. It’s the idea of combining or tacking on other activities and spaces to create a more layered and dynamic experience.
The multi-concept experience caters to the guest that loves to be fully engaged. They don’t just want to sit down, eat a meal, and leave. For example, instead of going to a restaurant and then a theater for dinner and a show, a multi-concept restaurant might bring the entertainment to the diner. We also see this with hotels, where a hotel might have its own art exhibit. This is when a hotel merges with the concept of a museum.
A big part of the promise you make as a tourism experience is “we’re going to show you what it’s really like to be immersed into ______________ (your destination)”. People are seeking a holistic, all-encompassing, multi-sensory experience of the local culture.
Many tourism hosts are already integrating multi-concept into their tourism experience to some degree. For example, a traveler may sign up for a kayaking tour, but you also serve them an authentic picnic lunch with foods from your destination. This is combining two concepts: adventure and dining.
This is, of course, a very standard example. Today we are challenging you to go beyond the expected. What are the other aspects of your culture that you can integrate into your tour? Consider both the surface culture and even the deeper cultural aspects of your destination.
Collaborating with other tourism hosts and leaders in your destination is one of the best ways to expand your experience offering. Is there someone you know that has a unique gift or talent that they can bring into your tour or activity? Or maybe there’s a business with a physical property that you have been dreaming of partnering with. Restaurants, museums, galleries, wineries, breweries… these are just a few that align nicely with tourism experiences.
Perhaps you have some new passions and interests that you would like to integrate into your experience. What have you been gravitating towards lately that you think your guests would really enjoy learning about?
Business is almost always a question of value exchange. The more value you can offer guests, the more money you can command for your tour or activity. But if you’ve been struggling to add more value in the limiting confines of the experience you offer, then it’s time to look outside of it.
Tweaking your tour or activity slightly in this way creates a competitive edge. If you struggle with heavy competition in your destination, this is an important step for creating success this year. To learn more, we recommend giving the Blue Ocean Strategy books a read.
In addition to this, partnerships not only add more value to your visitors & guests, they also create co-marketing opportunities. Imagine being able to combine forces with another tourism provider in your area? By sharing brand assets, marketing costs, and audiences, you could see a lot of growth potential here.
Most importantly, this idea of creating a multi-concept tour allows you to bring in more of your passions and what lights you up. If you’ve felt disconnected to your experience the last few years, consider this your permission slip to infuse it with whatever newfound enthusiasm you have.
Take this idea of the multi-concept into your everyday offerings, or explore the idea for one-off pop-up experiences and seasonal events. There are no rules – in fact, this is for the rulebreakers who are tired of coloring inside the lines! Experiment with this in ways that feel good to you. Not only will it help create a sense of wellbeing and connection to your business, but it will also undoubtedly result in more success as well.