Today, you’ll discover the secrets of how to use events to promote destination tourism in Ghana.
In fact, these strategies were used to increase visitation by over 100% at a destination in Ghana two years ago. Surprised? Don’t be because events are a great way of getting repeat visits to your tourism destination. It reminds past visitors of the past experience and wets their appetite for a repeat.
And the strategy is not rocket science, you can easily implement them.
Give your event a unique name.
How do you feel when someone mentions your name? Great right?
It’s the same with your event. Since your event is going to attract people to your facility, it is important to have a unique name that people can easily associate with.
In 2018, Kakumpark held an event called Kakum Easterfest. And the moment you hear the name Easterfest, you know they are talking about Easter. This makes it easier for people to associate their experiences with the name of the event.
Have a goal and set clear objectives
This might sound basic but trust me, many event organizers in Ghana begin without having a clearly written goal and objectives. And in the end, they have no realistic way of measuring their success or otherwise.
So, make sure you set a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) goal.
Here’s an example of a SMART goal.
To increase adult visitation to the site by 80% over last year’s Easter Monday visitation.
Here, your goal and objectives will also serve as a guide in your planning process. And it will serve as a benchmark for measuring success.
Include your team in the planning stage
Recently, an event organizer called me to seek my view on how to use events to promote tourism destination in Nigeria. My first question to him was “Have you asked your staff the same question?”.
And his answer was “No. Only management was involved in the planning but we are going to discuss with the rest of the team.” So I quickly interjected and said, go back and ask them the same question you are asking me. And then come back for an answer.
It would surprise you that the person you least expect, would give you the breakthrough idea. This was the case during my time as Facilities Manager of Kakum. For every event we organized, we held a general meeting to discuss and seek ideas on how to go about it. And the results were always amazing.
Involving your staff does not only give you ideas but also makes them feel relevant. When the staff feels they are a part of the event, they give out their all in ensuring that the event becomes successful.
So, even if you don’t know what event to do, bring them together, and they’ll do the magic.
Promote the event in advance
At least, you should promote your event for one month in advance.
Thomas Smith, in his book “Successful Advertising”, asserted that the average number of times a person sees an advert before making a purchase is 20 times.
It is therefore very important for you to start promoting your event earlier.
Here are a few recommended event promotion strategies.
Social media is one of the most effective means of promoting an event. Currently, Facebook alone has over 5million Ghanaian subscribers. So, take advantage, post about the event, and set aside a small budget to boost the event to reach more people.
Radio and PA systems
It is very important to not neglect the people in the surrounding communities of the destination site.
From my experience in Kakum, they are one of the best word-of-mouth promoters of destination sites. Community members feel proud to associate themselves with what ‘belongs’ to them.
And if you target them the right way, they will come in their numbers, take all the selfies in the world, and show to their friends that they were there some. So don’t leave them out, use nearby Radio and Public Address Systems in their communities to reach out to them. Nice.
Email tour operators and corporate institutions
social media and radio are good, but email is the best form of communication for the tour operators and formal institutions.
Simply write a letter to tour operators and corporate institutions like banks and invite them to join the joyful moment. But don’t forget to attach some appealing graphics about the event.
Engage social organizations like schools and churches
churches are usually looking for an opportunity to embark on a socializing trip. Get their contacts on social media or visit them directly, and talk to their youth leaders about your event.
Do the same for schools, and you could be fishers of buses to your event.
Create a content database on the day of the event
So, you observed all the above recommendations and the event is fantastic. But here’s an important thing most organizers forget: create a database for images and videos. As much as possible, hire a professional cameraman to take a thousand pictures and a hundred short videos.
Such videos and images can be used for subsequent event promotions. But they also serve as a great content source for your social media updates.
And after the event, share some videos and images on social media for your followers to know what they missed. Cool
Repeat event on annual basis
This is a very important point. Whether the event was successful or challenging, make it a point to review, modify some things, and repeat it year after year.
That’s how Kwahu ooh Kwahu! became what it is. They began from somewhere. And you too can.
Such a great day. We’ve learned about how to use events to promote destination tourism. And the strategies are simple and easy to implement.
The only thing that can stop you from becoming successful in promoting your destination site is if you don’t practice. So go ahead, meet with the rest of your management, and start planning. You can do it.
It’s your turn now. Which point was your favourite? And what did I miss? Sharing is caring.