Help meet their needs while simultaneously increasing your farm revenue - with Agritourism
This online resource will teach you how.
Visitor Expectations for an Agritourism Destination
See your farm from the eyes of the beholders, your visitors. Find out what attracts your customers and provide that for them. What are their expectations? If you are used to the farm life, you may have to some imagination in order to picture what someone who is a stranger to it expects it to be. Books, movies and dreams may be all your customers have to go on when it comes to what they want and expect in your agritourism business. Make sure you deliver!
Looks are everything. The Amish have been pulling in tourists for hundreds of years. Why? Because not only are they fascinating people, their farms and village are pleasing to the eyes. How does one achieve such a feat? The same way the Amish get it...a lot of hard work. Take pride in your farm and keep it up. Your customers expect that and appreciate it too.
Go the extra mile.
Exterior decorating will add the perfect touch. Go ahead and paint the house, mow the yard and add some foliage or flowers around the area. Make your farm nice and cozy with pitchforks here and there, install a white picket fence and if you don’t have any livestock, get at least a few. Why not have a people-friendly dog greet your guests or have a hayride be the standing transportation mode from the fish tank to the petting farm? When you attend to the little details, your visitors will come back and they’ll tell others to visit as well.
Here are some things to consider:
- Be sure unauthorized areas are blocked off neatly.
- Use modern décor with modern activities and attractions and old fashioned and rustic ones for the “down home on the farm” persona.
- Get feedback from experts, visitors and anyone else you can to find out what impression your farm gives off.
- Advertise your farm and activities for what they are. If your facility is modern, don’t portray that it is going to be a step back in time.
- Have your entrances and exits set up clearly.
- Display any rules and regulations so all can see upon arrival.
- Never keep junk where visitors can see it.
- Keep up with restrooms and common area cleaning.
- Post your hours and days of operation in plain sight.
- Purchase a device so you can accept credit cards.
- Clearly mark parking areas.
- Be as handicap friendly as possible.
- Be certain road signs and any other signs are clear to see.
- Keep up with your inventory such as food supplies, toilet supplies and so forth.
- Sweep and pick up trash throughout the day and after closing as well.
The feel of your place is very important. Do your guests feel like they are really in a whole different world as they hoped to be? There are many things you can do to ensure that they will.
If your farm is going for the old fashioned touch, you can keep bonnets and hats for the visitors to put on when they arrive. Or, you might have them pick a farm name, teach them some good old fashioned farm words or have your family put on a skit or answer questions for the guests. There are many things you can incorporate into your activity to help your customers get in the mode of the mood you are presenting.
Creative ideas go a long way when it comes to tourist attracting farms. You might consider a little section just for small children where they can play in the sand and do other things children do on the farm, both now and long ago. Farms are known for instilling values so you can play on that concept and expand your horizons. You might also have a resting spot with rocking chairs and lemonade or anything else you can incorporate to bring the feel of the farm to the wants and needs of the visitors.
What’s in a Name?
What’s in a name? Everything! Be sure to name your place according to what you will be delivering there. If you’re going to call it “Green Acres”, make sure that in the warm months, it is green. If you are going to name your spot “Gentle and Free” and it’s an alpaca farm, be sure your pets are gentle...and free. Names should be creative, catchy and also should encompass the personality of your business.
You may live in a place, such as up north, where your visiting season is rather short for produce. Or, you may be focusing on pumpkins when the pumpkin time of year is short lived. You may want to consider doing several things in order to be opened to the public more. Christmas is a good time of year to embrace. Your fall fun fest area could easily become a winter wonderland and you’ll double your exposure and your income. Maybe you can even bring the Easter Bunny into the equation at Easter time or host a Valentine’s Day activity.
Talk the talk.
Don’t forget that your visitors expect you and the rest of the staff to be back home country bumpkins or modern farmers who are still holding tight to old values. The most successful agritourist owners are actors each and every day. That doesn’t mean that you are not a good, downhome person already. It just means that you bump it all up a notch and give your guests what they came there for...a good taste of the farm. Be bigger than life.
The long and the short of it.
Remember that your visitors are worth the investment. If you need to hire a consultant to decorate and landscape, do it. What your customers see will determine their first impression about your place. It is an insult to have a trashed out place when people come from miles and invest their time and money in your agritourist business.