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How to Better Anchor Cerro Lodge Positioning on the International Bird Watching Niche Market ?
This document was elaborated for the Cerro Lodge in Tarcolès, Costa Rica, in a serie of works and studies allowing tourism professional to make their activity more sustainable.
Better Anchor your Hotel Positioning on the Bird Watchiing Niche Market by Hopineo
Become Hopinoer Spread the awareness, get together and act for a responsible tourism.
Hopineo for Cerro Lodge, Costa Rica- November 2014
→A fast growing nature-based tourism niche market.
→Main emitting markets: USA & UK
→Traditional destinations: African Countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana…)
→Emerging destinations: Morocco, Oman, Ecuador, Croatia, Sri Lanka and Georgia. Birdwatching Eco-Tourism
Become Hopinoer 3
2. Hotel Website
& SEO 3. Communication 4. Sales
HOTEL 1. Clear Understanding of the Market
•Blogs / Magazines
Become Hopinoer 4
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.
•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.
•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.
•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.
5 Birdlife Quality & Sustainability
Knowledgeable Guides Birder-friendly facilities & accommodation
Range of Other Activities Develop a list of local birds species and seasonality (http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org)
Emphasize especially on rare or endemic birds.
Link indigenous knowledge and heritage components to existing bird tours.
Guides listen carefully to the specific needs of each birdwatcher on arrival, to provide him good tips and personalized tours.
Invest in appropriate birding infrastructure such as trails, boardwalks, hides and observation towers.
Make sure you have more knowledge about local birds than your guest: varieties, behaviour, historical info, where to find them.
Train your guides in English language skills.
Inform on how you contribute to the conservation of birds and their habitats.
More comfortable accommodation for senior birdwatchers or groups, more basics for twitchers.
Adhere to, and insist on, ethical birdwatching behaviour, such as avoiding nests and young birds (Birds Directive).
Offer other nature-based and cultural activities.
Develop more small bird hideouts, provide nice light and backgrounds to enhance photographic opportunities.
Develop a special bird photography tour or add such optional modules to existing birdwatching tours.
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…
Your Website is your most important and central marketing tool, it has to be great!
My 10 tips for a great website: www.thehospitalitytour.com/10-tips-great-hotel-website
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.
Emphasize the different types of birds that can be seen at your destination, especially endemic ones.
Set up a dedicated page for birdwatchers (cf following slide).
Enhance your Google Ranking on Google using specific keywords related to birdwatching in your destination and in the different language (use Google AdWords and Google Domains).
UK / USA / Canada
Netherlands / BE
France / Quebec / BE
Observation d’Oiseaux, Ornithologie
→Photo Gallery on Flickr
→Local Guides with a Passion for Bird Watching
→Hides & Trails
→Birding Routes in Costa Rica
→Conservation and Bird Watching Ethics
Develop a list of the birds which can be seen around your hotel.
Indicate their status/seasonality, sighting frequency and if the ones which are endangered.
You can, for example, use the country list from this website to start with: Avibase.bsc-eoc.org, or to get also the French name of birds: www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/costa.rica.html
You can also contact a birding association, or write a message on a bird watching forum to offer room and board to an ornithologue in exchange for developping this bird list for you.
Use Flickr to embed artistic photos slideshows on your website: very convenient to share easily your nicest pictures of the hotel and the area, and people can share and download them in high quality in one click!
Start a Flickr Group so your past guests can easily share their pictures & make them visible to future guests.
Ask their authorization to use their best pictures on your website or brochures.
Open a DropBox file and share the link with past guests to share their pictures if they don’t have Flickr.
Join birdwatching groups and share some of your best pictures with the geo-localisation at your hotel!
More tips on how using proactively Flickr for your hotel:
Become Hopinoer 10
Introduce clearly the different local guides that you are recommended, their specialization and languages spoken, such as the rates of the different tours possible with them.
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Introduce clearly the different hides and trails that your guests can enjoy to emphasize their bird watching and photography opportunities.
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Help your future bird watchers guests to organize their trip through your country / region, and be sure that if it indeed useful, they’re going to share your website address around them !
Use Google Map Engine to create easily an interactive map integrated in iframe on your website.
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Adhere to, and insist on, ethical birdwatching behaviour, such as avoiding nests and young birds.
Get inspired by the European Birds Directive, and make your own Top 5 or 10 to be followed.
Inform on how you contribute to the conservation of birds and their habitats.
Bird photography code of ethics: http://www.audublog.org/?p=8351
Become Hopinoer 14
As 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.
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.
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 on a Flickr Group.
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Advertise or try to get articles published in magazines or websites of birding associations/clubs.
Engage and join existing conversations in birding forums / communities to recommend your destination, region and hotel.
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Personal blogs: offer bloggers a special rate in low season in exchange of an article featuring bird watching at your hotel.
Thematic websites: prepare unique articles to submit to them.
Patrick O’Donnell is from NYC, but lives now in Costa Rica
The Birding Club of Costa Rica.
http://www.ornithomedia.com/magazine/voyages/observer-oiseaux- serrania-lindosa-colombie- 01237.htmlw.ornithomedia.com
Write a pertinent article about ornithology at your hotel, and submit.
Start your own free Surfbirds blog.
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.
Look for them on Google, or using the following links: UK:
http://www.neotropicalbirdclub.org/pages/club.asp?ClubID=19 The Netherlands:
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.
Dutch Bird Fair
19 This presentation was mainly documented by one of the Dutch CBI study: « Product Factsheet Birdwatching Tourism by EU Residents » Find all CBI market studies online (in english and spanish) following this link: http://www.cbi.eu/marketintel_platform/tourism/136109/factsheet A few additional interesting links:
•http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org: Lists of birds per country.
•http://www.neotropicalbirdclub.org: UK club for birdwatchers interested in Latin America.
This document was elaborated for the Cerro Lodge in Tarcolès, Costa Rica,
in a serie of works and studies allowing tourism professional to make their activity more sustainable.
What is missing? Which improvments could be done?
Please, feel to free to share with us your feedback to continue
building together a better future for Hopineo, its partners, and more globally
for a more responsible tourism.
« The recognition of tourism as an economic powerhouse and contributor to all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social – underlined the enduring relevance of UNWTO’s mission to promote responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. »
World Tourism Organization, 2013