Gust Blog: Connecticut Office of Tourism
’Tis the season for hope in this very challenging year. The coming vaccine certainly contributes greatly to our industry’s prospects for a strong recovery.
Through it all, your innovative spirit and determination have continuously inspired us. You’ve gone the extra mile to prioritize safety, install new equipment and implement new protocols in your businesses. You have always put the health of your employees and customers first.
We are equally impressed by your efforts to delight guests during this time. From drive-through attractions, virtual experiences, and special getaway deals to creative outdoor dining structures and curbside pickup, we’ve certainly seen Connecticut’s famed ingenuity at its best.
All of us at the Connecticut Office of Tourism wish you a safe and successful holiday season. May the new year bring light, recovery and prosperity to you, your family, and your business.
We hope that our Tourism Insights: Tips for Recovery program can provide some help this season. Each month we field proprietary research designed to uncover things Connecticut tourism businesses can do right now to increase revenues, and we send you the top tips as well as the full report. Below are 12 new tips from December’s survey. In case you missed them, here are October and November’s, too.
1) Make masks a must. In almost all questions of our survey, respondents shared the importance of masks. They want to see signs requiring them, employees wearing and enforcing them, and other guests wearing them.
2) Collaborate with other local tourism businesses. There’s been an inspiring explosion of working together and packaging within the sector, and it’s creating better experiences for guests.
3) Remind consumers to support the industry. Almost half of the respondents in this month’s survey said “supporting destinations that have suffered severely” was a primary motivation for going out this winter. Use the hashtag #SupportCTBusinesses in your social posts to spread the word.
4) Let them see you deep clean. Before this year, your cleaning process may not have been prominent in your guests’ experience. But now, seeing deep cleaning activities is a comfort that increases guests’ interest in visiting – in fact, it ranks as the top consideration. The more professional and well-equipped your cleaning staff looks, the better.
5) Sell merchandise or gift certificates online. 54% of respondents intend to focus on online shopping this winter. Give them something to give to others and a way to show you their support.
6) Update your tech this winter. Even after the pandemic is over, we are likely to see new expectations and need for blazing fast internet, portable streaming device ports, and other digital services.
7) Provide safe entertainment. 41% of respondents reported that socially distanced entertainment options in hotels would increase their interest in staying. Things like socially distant stand-up comedy, cooking classes, guest lecturers, book tours, and live music were some of the ideas listed.
8) Keep innovating takeout! Restaurants are finding success with unconventional takeout foods, food subscriptions, and meal donations. Even just packaging takeout for family-style dining at home instead of individual portions is a win that keeps them coming back.
9) Support those who have lost jobs. 49% of respondents mentioned that they were more likely to dine in a restaurant that provides support to those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
10) Entertain them in their cars. Offering in-car experiences is the top way to increase interest in visiting a particular attraction this winter. Things like drive-through events or drive-in performances are very popular.
11) Stage the show on Zoom. We asked consumers what new experiences born during this time were particularly compelling. Zoom-filmed and presented theater was a standout answer.
12) Invent a new Covid-safe experience. 43% of respondents said they would be more interested in visiting an event or attraction that created a new experience specifically with safety in mind, like drive-in or drive-through events, outdoor exhibits, and socially distanced shows, classes and more.