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10 Ways to Tap into Tourism

Hancock Shaker Village; photo by Jim FossettTourism is a largely untapped opportunity for the arts and cultural community in Massachusetts. In addition to furthering a cultural mission and creating additional income for a non-profit cultural organization, tourism collaborations in the arts, sciences and humanities can provide unique destinations for the industry to promote.

Here are ten things that you can do immediately to tap into the tourism market:

  1. Inventory What You Offer. Consider what your organization can offer to Massachusetts tourists. Ask questions like: What do you have that is unique? Who are the people most likely interested in your offerings? With what other organizations might you collaborate to create a package deal? But be realistic...consider how many or how many more tourists can you deal with successfully.

  2. Network Around Town. Make a list of other cultural organizations and tourist related businesses (hotels, restaurants, car rental companies, etc.) in your community. Invite them to meet with you to discuss common goals.

  3. Do a Literature Review. Take a look at currently available materials that provide information about your organization and other cultural groups. Is the information correct? Is it sending the right message? Check out websites, brochures, Chamber of Commerce listings, etc.

  4. Collaborate Creatively. Would it make sense to produce a joint brochure with, or link to, other local organizations that share your tourism goals?

  5. Take the Lead in Hospitality. Take time to meet local hotel and motel concierges and give them your materials. Don't forget inns and bed-and-breakfasts in your area. Distribute cultural materials to all these local outlets, and ask them to place cultural information in guestrooms or at the concierge stations.

  6. Get the Word Out. Call on the reporters, editors and freelance writers at your local newspapers. Send them updated information about your organization and any tourism-related activities that you are planning. Get them involved in your projects as sponsors or to write about the events.

  7. Get the Art Out. Create a traveling display of local cultural treasures that can be placed in public areas such as supermarkets or shopping malls - any place that people pass by, or go to regularly. Suggest that local tourism businesses adopt an artist, providing space for demonstrations or exhibitions.

  8. Don't overlook "Local Tourists." What do you offer specifically to a local audience, and how could you market it differently to them? Organize a "Local Children Go Free" Day at a museum, a theater and other tourism attractions in your town. When citizens know what's available in their towns, they are more likely to recommend them to friends and visitors.

  9. Join your Regional Tourist Council (RTC). Not only will you join an established network, but you have access to a host of benefits. Ask the RTC to help you set up a "familiarization tour" of your organization for regional travel agents, tour operators, bus companies, and other travel planners.

  10. Review and improve your organization's customer service side. Ensure that your "public face" staff (including box office, sales, receptionist and greeters) is friendly and informed about other local events, organizations, facilities, restaurants and so on.
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