Last Updated on February 19, 2015 by Mark Lavington
Great food, fine wine, a relaxing atmosphere; these are things that many visitors will be looking to enjoy in local pubs and restaurants during their stay.
The food and drink industry has long been synonymous with tourism and as the burgeoning reputation of British gastronomy continues to rise it’s a synergy that seems certain to stay.
So, are you utilising local eateries to the fullest advantage when looking to secure bookings and add value for your visitors?
If not, we introduce to you the concept of ‘culinary tourism’ and how embracing culinary tourism can boost bookings for your self-catering holiday home, especially in low or off peak seasons.
What is ‘culinary tourism’?
Culinary tourism depicts the rising importance of food and drink to your visitors.
Envisage a nation of food lovers, spurred on by the increased popularity of celebrity master chefs and bake-offs, now actively searching for the vest best food and drink in your area.
They’re not only looking for great food, they want an experience, a memorable meal, a fantastic feast.
Food now plays a vital role in their destination decision; all of your visitors will eat at least three times a day and more often than not, many of these meals will take place away from your holiday home.
Are you promoting the culinary excellence in your area?
The celebrity chefs in town
It’s no coincidence that many celebrity chefs have opened restaurants in popular tourism areas. Here are just a few examples to whet your appetite:
- Rick Stein: Padstow, Falmouth, Porthleven, Newquay in Cornwall. Winchester in Hampshire. Sandbanks in Dorset
- Nathan Outlaw: Rock and Port Isaac in Cornwall
- Mitch Tonks: Dartmouth, Devon
- Shaun Hill: Legendary chef at the Walnut Tree Inn, Llanddewi Skirrid on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
- Galton Blackiston: Morston Hall, near Blakeney, Norfolk
If your holiday home is near any of these locations, are they on your website, in your welcome pack, highlighted in your social media activity?
The very best eateries are usually the most popular; if they are likely to need advanced booking do you highlight this during your own booking process to ensure visitors don’t miss out?
Promoting local food and drink – do your research
You’ll always want to be sure of the quality of the food and drink you’re promoting which makes doing your research essential, particularly if you live a good distance from your holiday home and are not familiar with the lay of the local culinary land.
Try visiting a selection, and also ask your guests to recommend and share where they’ve eaten on social media during their stay. Remember, almost 8 out of 10 guests will update their Facebook status during their holiday and this will often be related to food and drink.
It’s not just restaurants and pubs
The fantastic thing about food is that we’ll all want to enjoy something different; and that will change from day to day and even mood to mood.
Highlight a full range of options; from farm shops and family friendly pubs to romantic venues and great gluten free menus. Not forgetting the annual food festivals that are increasing in popularity throughout the UK.
Are there low season promotions?
Teaming up with local eateries can be a great way to get people through the door in the winter and lower occupation periods. Are they able to offer a promotion to people staying in your holiday home? If they are ensure you use all of your promotional tools to make sure potential guests know.
Where to promote?
All of the following should be used in your promotional armory;
- Website – consider having a specific section for local food and drink. You can also update your blog with the latest menus (great for special events such as Valentines Day and Easter).
- Welcome pack – ensure a good range of options are readily available and that menus and information are kept up to date.
- Social media – Promote the local food and drink industry on your Facebook Page and Twitter feed; you’ll find the more you promote them the more this will be potentially reciprocated.
If you have any thoughts or experience of how embracing culinary tourism has boosted bookings for your self-catering holiday home please leave a comment below.
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