British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide

Newsletter November 2011

Tuesday Nov 15, 2011

Free Listings for All Art Galleries
GoBC has always provided free listings to individual artists to promote their studios, as well as to studio tours and not-for-profit galleries and organizations. We are now extending the same offer to all galleries, including ‘commercial’ galleries that show work by a variety of artists. Help us spread the word!

Why free listings? Because the value of art to our communities and to tourism industry is ever increasing. Recent market research affirmed again that visitors expect art and culture as part of their travel experience. (Read the article below on new consumer trends for more information.) While the artists in our communities help us to attract tourists, we also know that far more tourism dollars are spent on meals and accommodation, tours and transportation. Artists’ profiles and images are also an integral and valuable part of GoBC tourism portal, and we are pleased to offer space and exposure to artists and cultural venues - including all galleries.

Emerging Consumer Trends: The New Traveler
Have you been wondering why some businesses are thriving, while others continue to feel the impact of the economic slowdown? Why some businesses continue to attract customers, while others, including some well-established businesses, are losing their market share?

We would like to share with you our own observations, which were confirmed by new, in-depth market research. If our experience and approach resonate with you, you might be interested in finding out how GoBC Arts and Cultural Tourism, Inc. fits into this evolving marketplace and might benefit your business.

The marketplace is re-inventing itself.
To be successful, you need to understand who the new consumers are - the people who defy uncertainty and somber predictions and continue to treat themselves to art, vacations and life's little luxuries. You need to understand what they are looking for and of course, how we can reach them.

Recent research, conducted on several continents, has provided us with a concrete profile of these consumers:
  • Today's consumers are no longer characterized by age, income, education, or even location.
  • Instead, they share a passion for new experiences and discoveries, for learning and expanding one's horizons.
  • They are inspired by new, original experiences; they are risk-takers and are not interested in the tried-and-proven.
  • Their choices are driven by social and environmental values and by authenticity and personal service. Price, including specials and deals, are secondary considerations.
  • They are frequent internet users and are perfectly comfortable conducting online financial transactions. However, personal contact is all-important! Responding to enquiries, a personal confirmation e-mail make all the difference.

As travelers, these experience-driven consumers are not enticed by attractions alone, nor do they want their vacation served on a silver platter. Instead, they want to experience nature, culture and people. They enjoy genuine experiences, learning and meeting new people. Souvenirs and photos are no longer enough – these travelers want to leave their destination with stories to share. They are the leaders - less adventurous vacationers will follow in their footsteps.

How can you attract the attention of these new consumers?

The new consumers are not enticed by advertisements. Before deciding on a destination, they will want to explore online, in travel media, on television or in travel books to learn about their destination.

Much research happens online. To get these travelers’ attention, you need to invest in your online visibility. It’s the most accessible and least expensive way to promote your business. Be imaginative, authentic and engaged. Let them know how you are socially and environmentally responsible. Show how you will contribute to their experience, explorations and discoveries.

Here is how we engage with these demanding customers:

To be honest, we at GoBC are not entirely surprised about the changes in the marketplace. While the challenging economy has propelled the experiential consumer to the forefront, they have always been a target audience - even when more traditional consumers were still the top spenders.

Why? Because we are passionate about BC and we want to share it with the world. We are an independent business with no other agenda. We don't focus on tourism hot-spots alone, we include equally BC's lesser-known areas to offer an authentic online tourism portal, one that appeals travelers who want to discover and explore, one that invites people to explore local art and culture as well as natural attractions. And we meet them on their turf – our Facebook and Twitter sites engage, entertain and inform, and bring more traffic to GoBC.

We’d love to hear what you think and whether our observations about the changed market place and consumer profiles are borne out by your own experience?

And lastly, we would like to give credit to The Neo Group, whose research forms the basis for some of the information above. You can read more on this website: