In today’s Buffalo News, Business writer David Robinson had this to say:
It turns out we have the same issues with Canadian shoppers that we do with tourists at Niagara Falls. They come here, do their thing –be it shopping or look at the falls –and then they leave. That’s it. Not much more.
And while local tourism officials have long yearned –unsuccessfully so far –for a way to get those Niagara Falls tourists to stick around for more than three or four hours, we now know that Canadian shoppers take the same approach when they head to the local malls.
More than half of the Canadian shoppers who make day trips to the Buffalo Niagara region – and a third of those who stay overnight –don’t do anything else here but visit the mall, according to a study released last week by a Toronto-based tourism marketing research firm, Longwoods International.
“Right now, they know the track,” said Michael Erdman, Longwoods’ senior vice president and research director. “They know how to get to the Fashion Outlets. They know how to get to the Walden Galleria.”
But they don’t know how to get hardly any place beyond that, which kind of makes sense because they also don’t really know much about what else there is to do in the Buffalo Niagara region beyond driving to our malls and shopping.
That’s a costly mistake.
This is a perfect example of just how unsophisticated and thoughtless these leaders are.
John Percy, the president and chief executive officer of the Niagara Falls tourism bureau, said tourism officials need to come up with better brochures and other material that outline all the other things those shoppers can do here. And those materials need to be in places where it’s easy for Canadian shoppers to find them, namely the malls and shopper-oriented hotels. Read the rest.
The problem is not the fact that local public funded agencies have seen their marketing revenues decline. The problem is there was never any marketing to begin with. This are is Balkanized, Politically and Economically incestuous, and accepting of the notion that there is no intrinsic value to this area for any potential visitor. And they are wrong.
Canadian shoppers and tourists is not a new invention. I remember them by the thousands in downtown Buffalo when I was a kid in the late 1950s. The Canadian has always been here and always taken for granted. Local businessmen where happy with what business they received due to currency fluctuations but were also too lazy to grow that business because they didn’t want to spend the money to attract more business and grow.
After traveling around for the past 9 months with associate Attorney Jean Gittler meeting with and speaking to to anyone and everyone, I have found out you get an initial courtesy appointment and then you are dropped off the radar. No one wants to be told they’ve been wrong and they must change. And they do. If you look at the core group of businessmen, civic leaders and politicians involved in growing the local economy you will see they have been around for decades and nothing has changed under them And yet, when you see groups being put together to find ways to grow the economy, the same people are interviewed, appointed and promoted as keys to success.
For this area to grow it needs thank these people, unload them, and bring in new blood willing do do the hard work necessary to attract shopper and tourist dollars rather than talk about it and be satisfied with what ever crumbs Canada’s exchange rate allows us.
The answer: Advertisements and Promotions.
Advertise on Canadian Radio and TV
Advertise in Canadian newspapers.
Run contests offering weekend shopping and entertainment packages.
NOT MAKE BETTER BROCHURES!! If you want customers go get them, don’t expect them to come to you based on a brochure. Let this non-tourism expert show our local businessmen and tourism insiders how to do it.