Trending at TwoSix: The Importance of Engaging Locals

The travel, tourism, and hospitality industry gets wrapped up in the visitor mentality. Rightfully so! It’s our jobs to entice visitors, and convince them to return. However, the locals within your destination should be taken into consideration throughout the year. Here are some simple tips (and reasons) to engage the locals. After all, if it wasn’t for them – we wouldn’t have an appealing destination at all! Let’s get started.

Tip of the Week: Encourage locals to share photos of your destination by promoting your hashtag within the community.

It’s important to get your locals engaged, and using your official hashtag. We spend so much time trying to add content to the hashtag ourselves, and it would be great to get support from our community.

First of all, consider the nature of your hashtag. Typically hashtags using CVB lingo underperform. For example, #VisitCity, #DiscoverCity, #ExploreCity are not relevant to locals. You may need to rethink your hashtag, and promote one that makes sense to both locals and visitors such as, #CityLove.

Once you have an engaging hashtag, it’s time to promote it. Here are ways you can excite locals (and visitors) about your hashtag:

  • Provide window clings of your hashtag to put in the windows of local businesses
  • Make coasters for local bars and restaurants that promote your hashtag
  • Hang posters around your destination with your hashtag
  • Giveaway hashtag t-shirts at local hotspots (i.e. universities, coffee shops, farmers markets)
  • Find photos on Instagram that are relevant to your destination. If they don’t use your hashtag, send that a comment that says, “Hey this is an awesome photo! It’d be great if you used #CityLove on pics like this in the future.”

Get aggressive with your hashtag promotion! If your locals aren’t using it, chances are – visitors won’t use it either.

Fact of the Week: 61% of travel enthusiasts find things to do on Instagram when visiting a new place.

This fact of the week should absolutely motivate you to engage your locals on Instagram. The majority of travel enthusiasts use Instagram to conduct travel research when they are visiting.

Make sure when visitors research your destination, they find an array of photos not only from your account, but fellow travelers as well as locals.

Noteworthy Article: How Each State Feels About #Tourists

The bad news is, recent studies discovered most locals are not fans of “tourists”. This study examined nearly 65,000 tweets that contained the words “tourist” or “tourists”. These tweets were then classified as positive or negative. They found locals generally feel negatively towards tourists visiting their area.

Only 6 states were over 50% positive in their tweets:

  • Washington
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Vermont

The most negative states included:

  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Delaware
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho

Cities that were mostly positive about tourists included:

  • Key West
  • Cleveland
  • Nashville
  • Atlanta
  • Boston

Cities that were most negative about tourists included:

  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • San Jose
  • New York
  • Charlotte

Your CVB can make a positive impact on the perception of visitors in your area. Provide research to key stakeholders about the economic impact of travelers. Find ways to communicate with locals during major events that cause traffic and surplus in restaurants. These small efforts can go a long way in a world that so greatly despises the dreaded tourist!

TwoSix Client Pic of the Week: Visit Hamilton County

Rest assured, if you visit Hamilton County Indiana, you will be welcomed with open arms by the Visit Hamilton Co team! For now, enjoy this beautiful red, white, and blue photo before the holiday.

Stay tuned for more weekly blogs from TwoSix Digital. In the meantime, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for constant tips and information on ways to improve your digital impact.