Are Motorcyclists a Good Match for your Rural Tourism Town?

by Joanne Steele on May 11, 2010

You’ll notice that I didn’t use the term “biker.” On purpose. I wanted you to read further and the biker image might not match the perfect visitor in your mind. But for many small towns, they may be a perfect visitor. Here’s an article about how they’ve affected rural communities in the northwestern United States.  “Bikers stimulate small-town economies.”

Here’s the truth about most motorcyclists:

  • They’re middle to upper middle class people.
  • They have a passion for the open road, and ride for fun.
  • They love the challenge of scenic uncrowded back roads.
  • Their bikes are like their children – they take very good care of them.
  • They are consistent, good travel spenders – some camp on the road, but most use local lodging and dining.
  • They’re, as a rule great, community spirited people who put on local biker fundraisers and events to benefit their local communities.

This is a great market for rural communities because:

As long as you have uncrowded, scenic roads in your area, you don’t have to create anything new to attract motorcyclists. Offer them a nice, clean motel room and an interesting local restaurant and they’re likely to love you.

It’s relatively easy to attract them, especially if you’re within a day’s ride from a city. They have clubs. They use the Internet to look for biker friendly towns and great rides.

They are the ultimate viral marketers. Show one group a great time and the speed at which your efforts will travel through the biker community will make Facebook look like snail mail.

Bikers are the ultimate Explorer Tourists. They will love your town and take an interest in you just the way you are if you’re nice to them.

How to get started attracting motorcyclists to your town.

1. Make certain your town is behind this. Your biggest job may be to transform your town’s attitudes toward bikers. A town in our area give up a huge, lucrative event at the local fairgrounds because of misconceptions about the bikers who would be attending.  Talk to your local bikers to get some help with this.

2. Use local bikers to help you learn everything possible about this new Perfect Customer for your business and your town. What types of accommodations work best? How do they like to socialize when out on a group tour, ie. do you need grassy areas with barbecue pits? Restaurants with moveable tables? What needs to they generally have on the road re: services, clothing, replacement parts, souvenirs?

3. Once you’ve organized some biker friendly local businesses, contact clubs in cities a day’s ride from your town. Use the Internet to find them. Check for motorcycle dealerships to find out about clubs.

4. Put out the word that your town is biker friendly. Use pictures of happy bikers on your website. Use phrases like “we welcome motorcycle clubs” and “motorcycle enthusiasts welcome” as well as the slang, “biker friendly.”

If you go to Google Adwords and type in “motorcycle enthusiast” and “biker” you can learn what types of search words and phrases your bikers might be using that you need to add to a motorcycle page on your website.

5. This is long-tail marketing (read the segment about long tail marketing here, if you missed my past post on this vital concept). Use social media to listen to what this market talks about, and chime in with a helpful answer when appropriate. You’ll find biker groups and forums online. Some will be for your Perfect Customers and others will not. Listen and learn.

No matter where in the world your small town is located, there are bikers looking for a great road. If you have one, you have the possibility of attracting this valuable niche.

Photo by Anne Oeldorfhirsch

1 Joanne Steele June 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

Thanks Sheila. Great suggestion about integrating Facebook with an existing website. Your expertise is so valuable for tourism pros. We’re all pretty good at classic marketing and thinking up great things for visitors to do, and with your able assistance, integrating social media can become second nature too!

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