Tap into new business from England Coast Path walkers

Tap into new business from England Coast Path walkers

The number of walking festivals is increasing and growing in popularity. Stay up to date with your local destination management organisation to see if there is a festival near you and link with the promoters. Walkers who come for a festival (usually a series of guided walks) will often go back to the same area independently.

Check out this handy resource from Natural England

Promoting your business to England Coast Path user on the National Trails website. Natural England is creating a new National Trail around the whole English coast - the England Coast Path. If your business is near a National Trail, the National Trails website is a great opportunity for free and easy promotion. Check out more info here.

Our top ten tips for attracting walkers to your tourism business

  1. Can your b&b or hotel offer facilities for walkers to clean their muddy boots? all you may need to do is put a boot scraper outside your entrance doors.
  2. Can your accommodation offer a drying room for walkers? they’ll appreciate not having to leave dirty or wet clothes in their bedrooms.
  3. Could your b&b or hotel offer packed lunches for walkers? providing packed lunches (or facilities for walkers to make their own) is a sure way to be walker-friendly
  4. Could you keep a stock of local maps for walkers to hire, borrow or buy? walkers still use maps (even in the days of satnavs) and sometimes forget to bring them with them. they’ll appreciate you having a stock for their use.
  5. Could you offer to transport walkers’ luggage to their next destination? a good way to be walker-friendly is to take walkers’ luggage to their next destination (and offer safe storage for any luggage sent ahead from their previous stopover point).
  6. Could your café, restaurant or pub be more walker-friendly? all you need to do is offer a boot-scraper, shoe lockers, or a dedicated area where it won’t matter if the floor gets muddy.
  7. Is your destination making the most of what it can offer to walkers? you can take advantage of the long-distance coastal footpath to promote your town as a destination for walking breaks?
  8. Could your destination do more to promote walking routes and trails? can you develop and promote clearly marked trails in your town and the surrounding countryside. you could develop a range of trails to cater for different abilities as well as themed trails for special interests.
  9. Is public transport in your destination integrated with local walking routes? walkers often use public transport to get to/from the start or finish the end point of their walk. does the local bus/ train network enable them to do this?
  10. Could your destination do more to promote walking festivals and events? these are poorly developed at the coast – they could add another dimension to your town’s event programme.

Making the most of the walking market opportunity

Make sure your potential customers know why your business would be an ideal base for a walking holiday. Make a feature of walking on your website. Describe the area, distance to walking routes, type of landscape etc. Include photos of walkers in coastal setting.

Describe the facilities specifically provided for walkers such as a boot or drying room, maps, storage and so on. Don’t forget to mention your comfortable accommodation for relaxing afterwards.

Include reviews from walkers stressing how ideal the locality is as a walking base.

Consider advertising with organisations and websites that specialise in walking provision.

Walking is popular as a group activity – sometimes as families but often single sex or other groups of friends. Consider advertising with specialist single sex holiday providers and websites or link up with operators.

Further product development opportunities for tourism businesses

Research suggests that people go on active holidays not just to improve their health and fitness but because they enjoy being outdoors in a natural environment, off the beaten track and to de-stress. These points can be used in promotional material to help sell the more holistic benefits of a walking based holiday.

Although the majority of walkers act independently some prefer guided walks, particularly in more remote areas. Link up with local guides and walking holiday companies.

To meet the needs of keener walkers staying in different establishments each night you could offer to take luggage to their next accommodation – or collect it from where they were the previous night. You could also link up with other local businesses to offer this service.

Customers often wish to combine their walking holiday with other hobbies such as photography or wildlife viewing or to experience gourmet or local food and drink. Consider offering walking weekends with a wildlife expert on hand or develop a walking trail that includes stopping points at local food and drink providers.