Tell your story to lure tourists, Vacaville group told
VACAVILLE — Stories about a destination attract tourists – and the better you tell your story, the more visitors you’ll have, the president of a South Lake Tahoe-based company said Wednesday.
“People buy into narratives,” Carl Ribaudo said. “The story is real. Advertising is something else.”
Ribaudo, president of SMG Consulting, spoke at the ninth annual Tourism Breakfast held by Visit Vacaville.
People want authentic experiences when traveling, said Ribaudo, whose firm provides marketing research and strategy as well as tourism economic analysis and other services.
“People want to connect,” he added.
“You don’t have to be San Francisco,” Ribaudo said about attracting visitors. “You can be Vacaville.”
The wine industry first created an interest in agriculture tourism, which has thrived partly due to millennials’ interest in food and its sources, he noted. Where does the food come is a new and common question, Ribaudo said.
“People didn’t use to ask that,” he said.
Vacaville is well-positioned for ag tourism, said Ribaudo, who has served as an adjunct faculty member at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, teaching courses in marketing and advertising. He also taught a seminar on tourism marketing at the University of Nevada, Reno
Mayor Len Augustine, who welcomed guests to the event held at the Opera House, said Solano has always been a farm county.
Everybody loves the Bay Area, Augustine added, but on weekends residents there leave like a catastrophe occurred.
They want to visit where they can breathe the air, he said.
Visit Vacaville director Melyssa Laughlin spoke about the $663 million tourists spent in Solano County in 2016. A total of 8,170 people work in tourism-related businesses, she said.
Visit Vacaville is a non-profit funded by assessments guests pay when staying at lodging in the city.
Food served at the tourism breakfast was grown locally.