A Marketing Strategy for Birdwatching Tourism Niche Market

How to better attract bird-watchers travelers? Which are their expectations and how can you adjust your hotel marketing strategy to enhance your visibility towards them? A few answers below using the precious information of CBI factsheet and the tips collected in hotels all along my HopTour through Latin America.

Birdwatching: Travelers Profiles

  • 40-70 years of age, likely to be members of local bird or nature organisations.
  • Use bird/nature books or magazines, organisations, national parks or recommendations from other birdwatchers when deciding where to go.
  • Travel more likely alone, in couples or in small groups.

10% of Twitchers:

Fanatical birdwatchers, they want to see quickly as many birds as possible to add them to their checklist. Twitchers are a less attractive marketing segment to target as their decision-making is difficult to influence.

BirdWatcher Costa Rica60% of Enthusiastics:

Birds and nature lovers travelling slower than twitchers, as they also like to relax and do other activities. Focus primarily on enthusiastic birdwatchers, as they could be a high-volume tourism base that is responsive to marketing.

30% of Casuals:

Outdoor and nature-based travellers who could be persuaded to add birding as an extra activity. Market your birdwatching tours to casual tourists on the spot, for example by distributing flyers in your area.

Birdwatching: Travelers Expectations

Birdlife Quality and Sustainability:

  • Adhere to, and insist on, ethical birdwatching behaviour, such as avoiding nests and young birds (Birds Directive).
  • Inform on how you contribute to the conservation of birds and their habitats.
  • Develop a list of local birds species and seasonality (http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org).
  • Emphasize especially on rare or endemic birds.

Knowledgeable Guides:

  • Make sure you have more knowledge about local birds than your guest: varieties, behaviour, historical info, where to find them.
  • Guides listen carefully to the specific needs of each birdwatcher on arrival, to provide him good tips and personalized tours.
  • Train your guides in English language skills.

Birder-friendly Facilities & Accommodation:

  • Invest in appropriate birding infrastructure such as trails, boardwalks, hides and observation towers.
  • Develop more small bird hideouts, provide nice light and backgrounds to enhance photographic opportunities.
  • More comfortable accommodation for senior birdwatchers or groups, more basics for twitchers.
  • Adapt your guests services to their specific needs: coffee very early at sunrise, WIFI to share pict, lunch boxes, books about local birds and wildlife.

Range of Other Activities:

  • Offer other nature-based and cultural activities.
  • Link indigenous knowledge and heritage components to existing bird tours.
  • Develop a special bird photography tour or add such optional modules to existing birdwatching tours.

Marketing Strategy towards Birdwatchers

Hotel Website & SEO

  • Great Website: Your Website is your most important and central marketing tool, it has to be great; My 10 tips for a great website.
  • High Quality Photos: Have a professional, high quality website with quality photos and videos; Show your Flickr Photos Gallery where past guests can also share their own pictures taken onsite.
  • Birdlife: Emphasize the different types of birds that can be seen at your destination, especially endemic ones; Make your bird list easily accessible and visible; Offer suggestion of birding routes within your country to help birdwatchers to organize their trip.
  • SEO (Google Ranking): Enhance your Google Ranking on Google using specific keywords related to birdwatching in your destination (use Google AdWords) and in the different language: French: Observation d’Oiseaux; German: Vogelbeobachtung; Dutch: Vogelreizen.

Social Media

Why using Social Media?

  • Icones Social Media BirdWatchersAs recommendations from other birdwatchers are one of the #1 key decision criteria to choose where to go to watch birds, using smartly social media is today crucial.
  • Ensure that customers have a great birdwatching experience and take advantage of their invaluable word-of-mouth marketing by inviting them to engage on social media.
  • Ask them to share their bird pictures and stories to enhance your message.

Facebook & Twitter: Set up Facebook Page linked to a Twitter Account “Bird Watching + Name of your region”; Publish your guests’ bird pictures with interesting facts and geo-marking them at your lodge; Once a month you can publish a picture of your lodge telling and showing how great is your hotel for birdwatchers.

Flickr & Instagram: These are the two most popular social media for photography; Set you put an account for the hotel and start sharing your pictures; Invite past guests to share their pictures.

Blogs, Magazines & Forums

  • Advertise or try to get articles published in magazines or websites of birding associations/clubs (cf. above presentation for a list of bird-watchers oriented websites).
  • Engage and join existing conversations in birding forums / communities to recommend your destination, region and hotel.

Specialized Tour Operators & Trade Fairs

  • Design a specific PowerPoint presentation personalized to underline how well your lodge knows about bidwatchers expectations and answers them.
  • Contact local tour operators and DMCs, and you can try to reach also foreigner specialized tour operators (cf. above presentation for a list of bird-watchers oriented tour operators).
  • Take part or be represented at special birdwatching trade fairs, or at least, go on their website to find out about tour operators specialized in birdwatching tours and holidays packages:

Bird-Watchers The Hospitality Tour