Beautifully showcased, mouthwatering experiences in foreign destinations.. with just a twist of special interest and a taste for the unique, different and far from the mainstream crowd. That’s what the niche foodie traveller wants in your destination. Research, identify and incorporate the elements that will conjure up the experience, and make it easier for your client to access.
Who are the niche foodies?
They are educated, experienced travellers mostly, families travelling with children, solo travellers, millennials and baby boomers, all with particular interests in food that fall outside of mainstream travel motivations.
Destinations can present them with opportunities to explore foreign cuisine and food culture in a way that combines the pleasure of the sated palate with an uplifting learning experience.
The more obscure, the smaller the niche.
It means you are better assured that people searching online for content around those niches will find yours in among the multitude of travel brands marketing their wares on the Internet.
Your marketing is more targeted with better qualified leads to pursue.
- For self-confessed meat lovers keen to experience different styles of barbeque, asado, braai, luau and whatever it’s called in different parts of the world, also known as meat cooked over an open fire, over live coals or underneath them in a sandpit
The cultural immersions we delved into previously find new inspiration in the tourism niche and for foodies, it’s no different. Whether they choose a destination based on the food experiences they expect to encounter or seek out weird and wonderful, specialised experiences with food in the destinations they’ve chosen to visit, your offering needs to align with the niches on trend.
Another trend that foodie niches tap into is the need for personalisation in tourism products – travellers expect you to #KnowThyClient. If it’s a peculiar desire to explore the world of truffles, then providing them with activities, interactions and information about foraging for truffles in the woods, how to prepare them and then tasting dishes, is reasonable expectation.
The one-size-fits-all product will flop in the kitchen of the foodie niche.
Unique interests in food, the destinations that promise authentic experiences around it, and the opportunity to be part of it, are reason enough to attract a niche market.
- For foodie couples seeking romantic bush experiences with just a touch of adventure
Foodie niches are good for business
When you tap into the niches around food tourism and you supplement your base offering with opportunities for clients to experience the special interest products that define their niche, it makes your brand attractive to operators crafting unique or bespoke food-based tours to their niche market.
Intrepid has seen a 40% increase in bookings on their Sri Lanka food adventures in the past year..
For one thing, it attracts media (general online and social) coverage to both niche and travel brand.
Your brand becomes part of an otherwise closed community that shares information about their special interest and recommends brands they’ve identified as being experts on the subject, as well as trustworthy.
It provides you with a new competitive advantage over other similar suppliers in your destination, and assists your destination in competing with others within the same special interest market.
There’s no such thing as a favoured food destination – if anything, foodies in search of the new and unique will expect to find it in places not traditionally associated with culinary or gastronomy tourism. That leaves the door of opportunity wide open to your destination too. Niche equals unique selling propositions that can add great value to your offering and potentially boost your sales prospects.
- For solo travellers with a taste for the Amazon with its wild allure and exotic flavours
Building the foodie niche experience
Host tastings and demonstrations at your location, get the locals to show off their food culture and rituals. When there are foodie festivals relevant to your niche happening in your area, incorporate those into your experiences. Seek out local partners in your destination:
🌶speciality restaurants and local eateries
🌶local producers or vendors of typical artisanal foods
🌶local chefs who entertain or teach
🌶members of the community who can host guests for meals or cooking lessons
🌶experts who can guide guests on walking tours of neighbourhood, farmer’s or street markets
Make access to these value-add products easy for your client, so that it’s easier for them to choose your brand. That means planning around the logistics in partnership with transfer companies or similar where activities are conducted off your premises. Combine all these ingredients into a comprehensive, visual guide that helps the traveller make informed decisions.
- For culturally curious foodies seeking luxurious South East Asian cuisine experiences, blended with a hint of drama
Foodies want to know where the raw ingredients come from, even visit the sources. They want to observe and participate in the cooking/baking/preparation process. They want learn the history of the food, the table culture and how to eat like the locals. They want to learn the names of dishes, how to pronounce them, to understand the social significance of different dishes. They can be lured to a destination via foodie festivals and events. They may be interested in sustainability, they may have specific dietary requirements or limitations based on religion, health, or lifestyle choice. Do you run wellness programmes, spa treatments or the like? A nice niche touch would be to offer healthful options to nibble right in the spa, maybe an antioxidant-rich smoothie tasting, to complement the wellness experience.
These are all elements that food establishments in your destination can advise on, possibly specialise in and market. Piggy-back on those initiatives to help guide your own campaigns, and contribute to the joint marketing of your area as a niche foodie destination of choice.
Some would say that travelling for food is no longer niche, but rather closer to mainstream tourism. Many niches go this way in the end – that’s what happens to trends! It starts with a small, dedicated group of passionate foodies: people who know exactly what they want and are willing to pay for it. As long as there is a demand for niche foodie tourism products, there must be supply. Tap into the market, showcase your restaurants and food activities – social media and your reputation as trusted expert will do the rest. SUP