1. Define clear objectives for visitor numbers and economic benefits

The first point is to establish clear, specific objectives for the season, in terms of visitor numbers, economic benefits and service levels, as well as sustainability.

Studies have shown that the level of visitor numbers is directly correlated with visitors’ feelings (positive or negative), all the more reason to define realistic and coherent objectives in this respect too.

All these objectives will serve as a guide to direct the preparation efforts.

2. Analyze trends and previous data

When you have the benefit of visitor numbers or survey results, preparing for the season also involves analyzing statistics from previous seasons to understand trends, visitor origins, and the most popular places or attractions.

Surveys or polls carried out among tourists help define the strengths and weaknesses of the local tourism offering, and can provide invaluable information for preparing the season.

In this pre-season analysis, economic impact information is also a key indicator, as it makes visible the benefits of tourism development for territories, particularly rural ones.

It provides an indicator of economic dynamism, and for cycle tourism in particular, also serves as a reminder that cycle tourists tend to spend more per day than other tourists: the average expenditure of a cycle tourist is €68/day, 70% of which is spent on accommodation and catering.

How do you calculate the economic impact of bicycle tourism?

A large number of methods are available, but the best-known and most reliable for analyzing economic impact is undoubtedly the Eva-VELO method, developed by Vélo & Territoires.

It combines four different data sources: automatic counts, manual counts, short interviews and in-depth surveys. The analysis provides information on ridership, and then consists in correcting the main biases of the surveys carried out: response rates that differ according to users, extrapolation of survey results obtained over a few days to the whole year.

To find out more, you can download the guide here (in French).

 

 

3. Define a marketing strategy

Once the objectives have been defined and previous trends analyzed (attendance, economic spin-offs, more qualitative survey information), it’s easy to define a marketing strategy!

It can include the various means of communication adapted to the desired tourist clientele, and highlight the strong points previously identified for the tourist destination, for targeted, high-impact communication.

4. Recruit and train tourist personnel, and match needs to resources

In order to respond to customer needs in the best possible way, it is of course important to match needs with resources. Here again, analysis of visitor numbers enables you to plan your resources accordingly, knowing the peak and off-peak periods of the season.

Attendance data analysis can also be coupled with a meteorological analysis, making attendance predictions even more reliable!

 

Preparing for the season also involves training staff in direct contact with tourists (guides, reception staff, etc.) in local information, customer service, foreign languages and so on.

 

 

5. Develop partnerships involving local players

Meeting and talking with shopkeepers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and tourist attractions is also an important prerequisite for getting to know the local tourist offer, and thinking about special offers and events, or even attractive programs combining several activities or services.

6. Optimize your web visibility

The web plays a major role in preparing a trip. According to a Google study, 87% of travelers use web search at some point in their purchasing process when booking a holiday.

To get the tourist season off to a good start, particular attention needs to be paid to the web, with up-to-date information, attractive photos, visitor testimonials, SEO checks and, if necessary, corrective action to guarantee the presence and visibility of the tourist destination.

7. Implement measures to limit pressure on the environment

To anticipate the tourist season, and limit pressure on the environment, programs can be set up right from the start of the season to raise awareness of waste management and the preservation of local flora and fauna, typically in partnership with competent local organizations (associations, etc.).

Peaks in visitor numbers or over-tourism practices require day-to-day management to limit or reduce impacts on natural areas.

8. Plan solutions for managing tourist flows

Always in line with the knowledge of visitor numbers in previous seasons, and the objective of reducing pressure on the natural environment, it is possible to anticipate peak periods and propose alternatives for distributing visitors over different attractions or regions.

In Perros-Guirec, for example, visitor data collected on the emblematic customs trail can be used to identify the busiest periods for taking the right decisions, and in particular to manage tourist flows on the Ploumanac’h site, a major tourist attraction.

On a day-to-day basis, the data is also used by the commune to adjust visitor numbers and avoid saturation of the emblematic site (estimated at 5,000 people/day, a level that can be reached quickly). The aim is to preserve the quality of the visitor experience; and to do this, organize the distribution of visitors to other points of attraction in the commune, communicate on ancillary events and reinforce the appeal of certain events.

9. Monitor and adjust over the course of the season

And because not everything can be anticipated in the pre-season, it’s also important to prepare a system for monitoring the key elements defined, thanks to dashboards shared with all the players involved, so as to be able to react quickly during the season, and also analyze the results a posteriori.

Example of a dashboard used to monitor several sites, directly in the Eco-Visio software, to make the right day-to-day management decisions during the tourist season.

 

10. Communicate results with partners

Once the season is over, the results can of course be shared with all our partners to draw up an assessment of the season.

Reports

Our Eco-Visio platform provides you with the business expertise you need, from raw footfall indicators to more in-depth studies, saving you precious time in producing this type of report.

Pre-designed dashboards enable you to save your key figures and easily create hourly, weekly and monthly profiles. You can also obtain an overview of your site as a whole, as well as a breakdown by site to identify the most frequented locations and special features.

If additional studies have been carried out on profiles, behaviors or economic spin-offs, they are also a formidable communication tool, to be shared with partners and the press.

Again for the town of Perros-Guirec, the data collected makes it possible to assess the tourist season, and to compare trends in visitor numbers, in line with the promotional actions carried out to attract visitors to this tourist destination (Ploumanac’h was named “Village Préféré des Français” in 2015, a title that earned it a 40% increase in visitor numbers over the period following the broadcast of the program).

Sharing via the web

National, regional and local observatories are also flourishing on the web. They enable a different kind of data exploration, and easier access to visitor data. See, for example, Vélo & Territoires’ regional atlases, which provide a wealth of information on bicycle tourism in each French region.