Gastronomic tourism is growing again and the demand of “travel food lovers” is increasingly interesting to intercept. Agri-food producers can improve their sales and their visibility for the final consumer by augmenting their products with digital contents that tell their territory. This approach, coordinated with tourism organizations, triggers a virtuous cycle in which gastronomic products and tourism experiences linked to a territory promote each other. The tourist experience thus extends beyond the moment of the visit, creating a new link with the territory and its products.
The end consumer wants the quality of the experience, not just the product
In this post-pandemic phase we are witnessing an even more marked trend of polarization of the demand for gastronomic products. For high-end products, the future is founded on the uniqueness and emotionality of the experience that is transmitted to the final consumer. A significant component of this experience is linked to the territory of which the products are an expression (think for example of PDO, PGI, TSG products). There is in fact a wide range of consumers, travel food lovers, in which tourist and gastronomic interests coexist. Just to give an idea of how the food component and the travel component interact in the final consumer, consider that from a survey conducted in Italy it emerged that 55% of the interviewees have made at least one trip in the last 3 years with gastronomic experiences such as primary motivation and that 64% of them would like to participate in proposals that combine food and wine with art.
Differentiate with digital content on your territory to intercept the demand of travel food lovers
An excellent way to differentiate your products and amplify the emotionality of their experience is to leverage the territory to which the products belong. This can be done by providing the final consumer with a series of digital content, before, during and after the consumption of the product. In addition to the contents on the product itself (nutritional properties, tasting and conservation tips), these contents may include the local gastronomic traditions and culture, the natural and artistic beauties of the area and the possible experiences to be done on site. In this way, a series of interactions can be triggered between the final consumer and the territory, which ultimately strengthen the link with your agri-food products.
Reach new consumers with tourism partnerships
To increase sales by leveraging the territory, it is necessary to make your products known to new travel food lovers and to strengthen the link between them and your products through your territory. In this perspective, it is also necessary to present yourself as an ambassador of your own territory, creating partnerships with local and non-local tourism organizations (e.g. tourism bodies, companies that organize experiences for tourists on site, travel agencies in the countries where the target final consumers reside). Through these alliances, you can stimulate demand through targeted digital communication, bypassing the distribution intermediaries in the various sales channels: it will be the final consumers who ask for your product!
For tourism organizations, the compensation is very high
If well coordinated in terms of communication and marketing, this “neverending food tourism” approach brings excellent results to the organizations involved and to the local community. Through the sale of local gastronomic products digitally augmented with tourist information, it is possible to extend the tourist experience beyond the onsite visit (hence “neverending”). In fact, before the visit, potential tourists are inspired with information and offers, through the products and the gastronomic culture of the area. During the visit they can take advantage of exclusive offers to be consumed on site. Finally, after the visit, it is possible to reconnect again, strengthening the link with the territory, through contents, products and promotions of a gastronomic and tourist nature that increase and exploit the desire to return. Therefore, in addition to the tourist organizations involved in the project, the local community also benefits from it in terms of greater qualified tourist influx and better dissemination of knowledge of the area and its attractions.
Where to start
The starting point for following this approach is to have your products online with the right digital content to stimulate the interest, including tourism, of the final consumer. With the assistance of experts and with partnerships at GLOCAL level (both on the territory and in the countries where there is demand) you will be able to implement a communication strategy to better position your brand and products, which will bring excellent results in terms of sales and of retention.