How to organize excursions to your farm
If you don’t have your own farm yet, here you can find tips on finding funding.
And if you have already opened your eco-business, then here are 5 tips for those who want to increase the “volume” of word of mouth. And income.
We studied reviews of out-of-town excursions and figured out what pitfalls agribusiness needs to avoid.
In order for ecotourism to bring money, the farm will have to be prepared for visiting guests, and also to come up with leisure activities for them.
Tip #1: Prepare your staff
Review: “We were pleasantly surprised by the huge territory and polite employees. The tour guide spoke very interestingly about all the wards, answered our questions. It was informative for us and the children to see incubators and ostrich eggs. There are a lot of animals, children are delighted too.
Inviting tourists to the farm, telling and showing what and how you produce is one of the ways to increase brand loyalty. Nadezhda Krasnenko, owner of the Viva-Speranza cheese factory speaksthat “people ride people”: most tourists want her to guide the tour. But this requires a lot of time and effort, and on weekdays Nadezhda, like all employees, is busy in production.
Tourists will tell how the tour went. You can hire a professional guide to entertain people and give them enough attention to keep them satisfied.
The farmer can partner with a tour operator – he will gather a group, organize a transfer and find a guide. So the flow of visitors will become more predictable, and the tour operator will also help organize excursions so that they do not interfere with production and are interesting. You can find a partner, for example, on the platform “Own. Outside the city“.
Tip #2: Remember the basic needs of your guests
Review: “Very nice place! The friendly staff organize tours of the farm with a visit to the stables (with the opportunity to ride horses) and tastings of local products (delicious!). Very convenient with children! Toilets are civilized, there are no problems with washing hands after interacting with animals.”
In reviews, tourists often describe the condition of the restroom and other amenities on the farm. This is especially important if guests come with children, and the program includes tastings or culinary master classes.
Organize a place to rest. There people can discuss experiences and agree on what to buy on the farm. It may be important for parents to somewhere to feed, change clothes or something to occupy their children in order to relax themselves.
Review: “After the tour, we were invited to the tasting room – this is how the most interesting part of the program began.”
Impressions after a walk or tasting are a good motivator to spend money on farm products. If a person interacts with the product, it can add symbolic value and turn the product into a memento. For example, at a winery, you can not just sell a bottle of wine, but offer to first sign the label for it yourself; in a plant nursery – arrange a bouquet, choose a ribbon and packaging, or decorate a pot.
Tip #3: Connect your tools to sign up for a tour
Review: “The recording takes place via WhatsApp (first I went to the site, and from there – a direct link to the chat). What I liked: they immediately sent all the free dates and hours. Since I wanted to get in as soon as possible, I had to choose from only three options, the nearest one was already a week later at lunchtime on a weekday. So you need to sign up very early if you want to come on a weekend.”
Ilya Smirnov, owner of the Russian Alpacas farm, tellsthat he used to manually record walks around the farm, and so it was easy to mix something up. Now customers book all excursions on their own through the Bukza service.
Review: “There are tours of the farm every day. I learned about the event from a lively and very interesting blog about pets, which you can get to know virtually even before visiting the farm. From the photographs, I remembered a few who I most wanted to see.
Introduce people to the farm, its employees and inhabitants in advance: tell interesting facts and show beautiful places. Let the guests look forward to the visit.
Review: “Hooray! Action again! We will definitely come back this month.”
The campaign with promo codes on aggregators is especially relevant in the low season. And at high levels, it allows you to predict demand and assess your strengths. Sometimes the conditions indicate the days and times of the visit: this way you can redirect the flow of tourists to weekdays.
Tip #4: Diversify Your Activities
Review: “At first, my friends and I walked around the equestrian complex and the stable, learned a lot about horses, admired the beautiful horses, learned about the features of their keeping, the history of horses, and types of equestrian sports. Those who wish to ride horses. After the horses, we had a tour of the goat breeding complex. White and fluffy babies just want to be stroked and treated to something tasty. City children who see a live goat for the first time are delighted! Well, after that we had a tasting of cheeses, tea, jams – everything is very tasty.”
The more diverse activities can be found on one farm, the higher the chance that the tourist will be satisfied. And the more impressions, the more reasons to tell friends and colleagues about it.
Moving along the route is more interesting, but different activities can be carried out in one place. For example, in a paddock, tell about the characters of local goats, and then demonstrate how farmers shear their wool.
Photographs will help to share impressions of different activities. Consider stops at picturesque farm locations or set up areas with footbridges, hay bales, or vineyard views for the ultimate photo shoot. An additional option is the rental of dresses with a train (in which guests will want to effectively run across the field in front of the camera), as well as national costumes, hats and blankets with picnic baskets.
Animal watching reduces anxiety. Tourists – especially children – can get more positive emotions if you show them a variety of animals. For example, in the Russian Alpacas farm, in addition to the alpacas themselves, sheep and Scottish cows live.
Review: “We celebrated a children’s birthday, which was just wonderful. Lots of animals for such a small area. First there was a tour of the farm, then we rode a pony and finished with a master class on making crafts.”
The master class will interest the visitor if it offers him a new experience: milking a goat, making cheese, weaving a rug in the traditional way. And the result of their own labors will be a memorable gift.
Tip #5: Offer Unusual Souvenirs (Anything)
Review: “In the house there is a corner with tea, coffee and snacks, souvenirs. You can buy toys and clothes made of alpaca wool.”
In addition to standard magnets or T-shirts, among the souvenirs there may be unusual options – they will want to talk about them on social networks.
Keychain with alpaca excrement in epoxy resin costs only 300 rubles, and the opportunity to play a trick on friends for many is priceless.
Souvenirs can be related to stories and affect emotionally. For example, it can be a pendant in the form of a hoof print of the same goat that the tourist has just treated to a carrot.