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    A GUIDE TO BUILDING AN AUTHENTIC TRAVEL EXPERIENCE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS ALREADY DOING IT

    By Mallory Feeney, PRSA Colorado Communications Committee Member, Marketing Coordinator at Visit Aurora

     

    We hear it all the time: Live authentically. Customers, client, and travelers crave an experience that is unlike anything else. It is easier said than done. In honor of World Tourism Day (Sept. 27), discover applicable tips and tricks that make the experience for your attendee, visitor, client or anyone you are trying to impress personal and profitable.  

    Play up your strengths

    If you’ve got it, flaunt it!  Every company and destination has something that is completely their own. Dig around for your hidden gem and make it the centerpiece of your selling points. For example, Aurora, Colo., might not have mountains in its backyard; however, they do have the state’s largest indoor marketplace filled with 50 different places to eat, drink and explore. Showcasing what makes you different is the key factor in building authenticity with your audiences.

    Meet & greet

    Host a gathering between your community’s movers and shakers. Invite business owners, local celebrities and people making a difference to share their stories with your guests. Authentic storytelling comes from people who live, work and play in your community. Offer a roundtable discussion or a quick coffee networking hour to set the scene. The locals are often your biggest advocates in sharing the success of a destination.

    Where do the locals go?

    Visiting a chain restaurant while traveling? That is a little off-brand for the new-age tourist. The End of Tourism As We Know It, highlights a push for “localhood” or giving everyone the opportunity to live like a local while traveling. Prepare activities, restaurants and must-sees that are frequented by the people who live there. In Colorado, mountain casual attire is in boardrooms and happy hour events. Give your travelers or clients the tools they will need to blend in with the locals.

    Set them up with something good

    Consider giving your clients or travelers a local gift to enjoy. Local cider can be enjoyed after an evening of work rather than hassling with security at the airport. Handmade stocking caps will be appreciated on cold nights. Locally-sourced gifts that guests can use during their visit makes them feel like you are creating an experience unique to them.

    Creating a unique experience can be difficult when competing with other companies or destinations. Leveraging what makes you different in addition to customizable opportunities will help you stand out from the rest. In an age of attention-hogging advertisements and social content, do not underestimate the power of simplicity. A handwritten note, a private tour of a local business, or dinner at a local, cozy restaurant could be just the authentic experience your clients or travelers are seeking!

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