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Shopping and tourism go together ever since. This is reflected even now by the fact that the term “shopping tourism” has become a regular fixture in the travel context and an important economic factor as well. Gradually empirical studies appear on this phenomenon and especially cities are aiming with city marketing at attracting visitors from the classic sights into the shopping streets. For rural areas, this was not a big issue until the introduction of the Factory Outlet Centres (FOC), but now that more and more outlet center built on the green field, less urban communities would like to benefit from shopping tourism as well.
In this context, in the beginning of this year, we advised the district Steinfurt in the Münsterland, near the Dutch border, how the FOC Ochtrup can act as a multiplier and can animate the shopping guests, not only to come to the shops and afterwards leave again, but to become day-trippers or even to be overnight guests in the region. The specific objectives of our approach were:
- Extension of shopping -related day trips
- Increase in consumption in the entire district of Steinfurt
- Generation of nights
- Return for tourism after shopping experience
For this, we first researched best practices in order to use them as guidelines to deduce specific recommendations for the FOC Ochtrup.
Following best-practice parameters were determined:
- Cooperation between the urban retail and outlet stores
- FOC is an integral part of tourism concept
- Cooperation with tourist operators in the town and region
- Durable partnership with associations and companies
- Clear Homepage with own menu item “Tourism”
- Integration of Social Media
- Online bookable arrangements with shopping incentives (vouchers/ gift idea)
- Tourist Information on site
- Convenient location, easy to reach
- On FOC coordinated control system in the tourist city
- Extended opening times
The resulting recommendations for action, which derived for our customers, were particularly focused on
- Visitor management
- Expansion of existing services
- Combination of tourism and shopping product
- Integration of Social Media and Web 2.0
- Development of arrangements
- Communication measures
- Cross-border products (D -NL)
- Integration of the historic village of FOC in the context of regional tourism
The bottom line in the course of the consulting project was that it is important to make the potential shopping guest already aware of the region and that it is worth for an extended stay in advance on the website and social media channels and then in the outlet centre itself. This can be done for example via a tourism information directly in the centre, via large-size images of the surrounding countryside and tourist attractions in and around centre, and via the creation and communication of additional offers.
Of the beauty of the county Münsterland and the many brands in the FOC Ochtrup you can best gain an impression by visiting http://foc-ochtrup.de/ for more information.