7 Content Ideas to Create a Compelling Destination Visitor Guide
Destination visitor guides are still a powerful marketing tool DMOs can use to attract visitors. Especially tourists from older generations, who are comfortable with printed guides to plan their trips.
Well-crafted guides filled with relevant content, breathtaking images, and integrated with online resources have the power to inspire and encourage visitors to stay longer, spend more and reduce tourism leakage.
This article will give you content ideas to add to your destination visitor guide in order to turn it into a powerful planner resource and an inspiring tool to attract post-covid travelers to visit your region.
The role of a destination visitor guide in a DMO marketing mix
A destination visitor guide is a travel guidebook that revolves around a specific location. It can be focused on a whole country, on a region, or on a town. Its main goal is to entice the reader to visit a certain destination by providing specifics about it.
In general, destination visitor guides give details about the location, such as how to get there, its points of interest, the reasons why the reader should pay a visit to that place, its main attractions and a business listing of hotels, restaurants, and tour operators.
It can be distributed in the printed or online form, being the last more usual nowadays.
How effective is a destination visitor guide in attracting tourists to a destination?
Research conducted by Destination Analysts with almost 6,000 Americans between 2020 and 2021 and 12 DMOs shows the ROI per visitor guide distributed is estimated to be $48:1. Also, according to the study, visitor guides helped 85% of undecided tourists make a decision to visit the destination.
And is not only during the planning phase that the destination visitor guide is relevant. According to Google, 85% of leisure travelers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination. That makes the guidebook an important source of information to help tourists in choosing which experiences to book when they are already on the spot.
Now that you have a clear idea about how important a destination visitor guide is, let’s take a look at which content travelers are looking for when ordering a visitor guide.
Creating a destination visitor guide that is relevant and attractive
When planning your visitor guide you should have it clear who your ideal visitors and niche segments are.
All the content you will add to it will gravitate towards the type of tourist you want to attract to your location. If they are couples with kids, give emphasis to family attractions. If your audience is elder travelers, list attractions this public might be interested in.
The way you write your guide is also important to convince the reader to visit your destination. Great storytelling copy will make your destination visitor guide stand out. Avoid adding just factual information that can be easily found online. People order visitor guides to have a different experience than they would get online.
Finally, make sure there is a balance between text and images. Never underestimate the power of a breathtaking image to inspire someone to travel.
Follow these guidelines and you will have a good destination travel guide. But for a memorable guidebook here you go 7 content ideas.
1. COVID recovery and outdoor activities
After two years of a pandemic, many people are still unsure about traveling. For this reason, it is important to inform potential visitors regarding the COVID situation at your destination. You can mention which health measures are still necessary to visit your location and travel restrictions if there are any.
Right after this short update, start with a list of the outdoor experiences available at your destination. This will inspire even the more cautious traveler to meet the natural wonders your region has to offer.
This is the right place for a full-page image of a breathtaking landscape at your destination. Also list camping spots, national parks, cycle trails and hiking areas. To each attraction, add a background story and fun facts to make them even more interesting.
2. Touring map
This is a vital section of your guide, so make it unique. According to the previously mentioned study by Destination Analysts, 65% of travelers that ordered a destination visitor guide were seeking a map to help them plan their trip.
Why visitors would use a printed map instead of an online navigation app?
Touring maps have personality and can give all the information necessary for a tourist to plan a trip in a succinct and visual way.
After returning home, an eye-catching map could become a souvenir of the trip. If you will add one to your visitor guide, it should depict the destination in a fun and colorful way.
Regarding its information, it should contain the key experiences and attractions your ideal traveler is looking for. Also, it should be clear on how to navigate through the destination. Add bus stops, metro stations and main street names.
3. Road trips and suggested itineraries
At the beginning of 2021, 36% of Europeans with short-term travel plans said they would do a road trip. We are in 2022, I know, but this is a trend that can repeat for the next years, due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Because of that, including a section in your destination travel guide highlighting day trips and suggested itineraries isn’t a bad idea.
Depending on your ideal visitor profile, you can create an itinerary that includes nearby vineyards, amusement parks, historic cities, spas, and other attractions that are not in your location but can be easily accessed from your destination.
4. Heritage, accessibility and inclusion
The modern traveler wants to learn about the history of the region they are traveling to and feel comfortable visiting a destination that embraces diversity.
The visitor guide is the perfect place to tell the background story of your destination. Save a section of it to talk about the tribes that used to populate your lands in the past and highlight their heritage. This will help create a connection between the visitor and the place, which will make the landscapes and sights even more interesting.
Diversity also means inclusion. According to Destination Analysts research, 75% of travelers that have ordered a destination travel guide were baby boomers or older, which means they had 55 years or more.
This data shows us how important is to add accessibility travel advice to the guidebook.
Elevate the host community and its diversity by listing local restaurants, regional museums, cultural sites, LGBTQIA+ friendly spaces and experiences that are accessible to travelers with mobility issues.
5. Neighboring towns and communities
I’m sure that are interesting things to do and see around your destination. Why not add this information to your visitor guide?
According to the UN’s Ocean Atlas, in some places, 95% of a holiday cost ends up outside the destination. A way to fight back tourism leakage is to help your visitors disperse around your region and visit lesser-known towns and communities in your area.
Not to mention that a better distribution of tourists will reduce the crowds and make popular sighs even more inviting. As a result, visitors will have an enhanced experience at your destination.
When promoting neighboring communities, don’t forget to list hidden gems, facilities and popular attractions. Always keep in mind what your target visitor wants to see in those areas. I’m sure this will enrich your guidebook and surprise the reader in a positive way.
6. Expand your guide with digital content
Printed guides are limited in terms of content and interactivity. Fortunately, with the current technology it’s possible to connect your offline guide to the digital world.
The QR code is an example. It has been around for a while, and after the pandemic people got more familiar with it. Use this to your advantage and expand the content of your guide.
You can place a QR code on the map page connecting it to a more detailed online map that users can use to navigate through your destination. You can also place QR codes with links to pages with detailed information or videos regarding the businesses and locations listed in your guide.
When promoting local businesses and attractions you can place a QR code connected to their booking page. This will increase their number of bookings, and as a result, also the daily spending of your visitors while in your destination.
If you have enough budget, you can bring the reader’s experience to another level with augmented reality. Similar to Pokemon Go, you can add 3D models of attractions that are only visible through mobile devices. When the user positions the camera toward a specific page of your guide, they will be able to visualize the virtual content on their mobile screen.
7. Social media integration
Social media has a huge influence on travel planning. This is something you can’t ignore in your destination visitor guide.
To integrate your guide with the most popular platforms, it’s important to make the social media accounts visible to the reader. Also, list the official hashtags connected to your destination. This way visitors will know how to share the content they will create while traveling to your location.
As we are talking about user-generated content or simply UGC, it is a good idea to use the pictures travelers take while in your destination to illustrate the pages of your guide. People will feel more connected with your location by seeing actual visitors enjoying it.
Also, invite travel influencers and local influencers to give their personal impression and travel advice about your destination. Ask them to suggest an itinerary for the reader, and also to list their favorite Instagram spots where tourists can take the perfect picture.
Destination visitor guides are still relevant. They are an important tool for potential visitors to plan their trip to your destination.
A compelling visitor guide uses storytelling to delight the reader and amazing images that inspire travelers.
In this article we have presented 7 content ideas that DMOs can use to write their guidebooks:
- Mention the COVID situation at their destination and list outdoor experiences
- Add a fun and colorful touring map
- Suggest itineraries for day trips
- Tell the history of the destination and show its diversity
- Promote nearby attractions
- Connect the offline guide with online content
- Promote their social media accounts, hashtags and stimulate UGC
SmartDestination has the travel-tech solutions DMOs are looking for to get their destination ready to receive the connected traveler.
We can help you integrate your destination visitor guide with online content that will inspire visitors and make their travel experience smooth, from booking to the post-trip.
Check out here how we can help destinations all over the world become smart.