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How tourism can benefit from points and rewards programs

Updated: Apr 25




In a landscape where tourism destinations strive to captivate and engage visitors, there’s a growing demand for innovative tourism solutions that help enhance visitor experiences and drive loyalty. 


Picture this: A visitor wanders through the vibrant streets of your destination, soaking in cultural landmarks, participating in self-guided tours, or diving into the rich local art scene. As they explore they are able to collect points to redeem for exciting merchandise or deals at your local businesses. Each point collected is another cool hidden gem uncovered within your region! 


Welcome to the realm of collectible points and rewards, a tourism solution every destination should consider. Every mile traveled, every experience embraced, and every culture encountered can be a stepping stone toward your visitors’ next unforgettable journey across your destination.


Join us as we explore collectible points and rewards programs – an effective strategy to foster long-term engagement and enhance tourism experiences.


What is a Points and Rewards Program?

While attracting travelers to your destination is crucial, retaining their interest and loyalty is equally important. A points and rewards program is a tourism initiative to motivate and reward visitors for their interaction with your sites and businesses. It entails encouraging visitors to engage in specific activities or visit particular locations where they can collect valuable points, which can be redeemed for prizes or rewards.


Each point earned brings explorers one step closer to an exciting reward: A unique dining experience at a local restaurant, a discount at one of your businesses, or even fun merchandise to commemorate their unforgettable adventure!


Let’s explore why you should be considering a collectible points and rewards program to help boost tourism for your destination.


Why you should consider a Points and Rewards Program for Tourism

Implementing a points and rewards program can positively impact tourism for your destination in several ways. We’ve outlined a few key areas below.


  1. Encourage Repeat Visits

As visitors earn points through exploration, they're motivated to keep discovering and revisit your destination for more. Plus, they're likely to share their experiences with friends and family, enticing them to visit too, thanks to the exciting rewards! 


  1. Enhance Visitor Engagement

Points and rewards programs present an opportunity to boost visitor engagement. Incorporate collectible points into digital experiences like self-guided tours, suggested itineraries, and scavenger hunts. This encourages visitors to immerse themselves in your destination's offerings, fostering a more meaningful and memorable experience.


  1. Support Local Businesses

Partnering with a destination's rewards program can help stimulate economic growth within your community. These initiatives establish a symbiotic relationship, empowering visitors to unlock valuable rewards while local businesses benefit from increased patronage and exposure.


  1. Visitor Insights

Collectible points and rewards programs provide valuable visitor insights into their behavior and preferences. By analyzing the data on where points are earned and the rewards redeemed, destinations like yours can better understand their visitors' interests and leverage this information to enhance visitor satisfaction, ultimately driving repeat visits.  


Methods for Delivery

The adage "Rome wasn't built in a day" holds true for developing a robust points and rewards program. It requires effort and a well-planned strategy. Although this may seem daunting, the appropriate tourism solution can make this endeavor rewarding.


Two common options exist for implementing a points and rewards system: paper-based and digital. Let's examine each option to assist you in making the best choice for your destination.


Paper-Based 

The conventional approach to delivering a points and rewards program is through the traditional printed method, where visitors accumulate stamps from various attractions and businesses to earn points.


To successfully implement such a system, you will require:

  • A print design expert on your team who can assist in creating an aesthetically appealing program.

  • A clear plan outlining where points can be collected and the rewards you intend to offer.


Paper-based points and rewards programs offer simplicity. With paper punch cards or stamps, visitors can track their progress without the need for digital technology. They also offer a tangible experience for your visitors, adding to their sense of accomplishment as they physically collect their points.


But with all good things come some challenges worth considering, including limited visibility into the program's effectiveness. With little to no data on where points are collected, destinations are unable to effectively enhance visitor experiences for future visits.


Logistically, paper-based programs can also be manipulated, and punch cards can easily be lost. Not to mention, the cost and time it takes to re-print in the case of errors or changes can pose significant challenges for a destination.


Moreover, managing and manually processing paper-based rewards can be time-consuming and labor-intensive for businesses and attractions, leading to inefficiencies and potential errors. 


In summary, while paper-based programs may offer simplicity, they often lack scalability, data insights, and operational efficiency compared to their digital counterparts. 


Digital

An innovative approach to implementing points and rewards programs utilizes digital technology. 


This method involves visitors collecting points virtually via a website or mobile application. Once a sufficient number of points have been collected, visitors can redeem them for rewards.


Mobile apps are increasingly gaining momentum among destinations around the world that are searching for sustainable tourism solutions. With today’s travelers being more conscious of the environment while traveling, many destinations are searching for tools that enable visitors to ditch paper maps, guides, and brochures in favor of something they have in their pockets: their phones.


To implement a digital points and rewards system, you will need:


  • A well-defined plan outlining where points can be collected and the rewards you intend to offer.

  • A dedicated digital tourism solution committed to ensuring your program's success. 


Digital points and rewards programs offer several advantages over paper-based systems. One key benefit is the ability to collect and analyze data on visitor behavior and preferences in real-time.


Additionally, digital tools like mobile apps offer convenience and accessibility to visitors, who can easily track their progress on their phones.


Logistically, digital points and rewards solutions offer destinations scalability and flexibility with the ability to make changes quickly and easily adapt the points and rewards program.


For example, in early 2024, Bruce County partnered with Driftscape to launch their Explore the Bruce Rewards program. This initiative enabled their visitors and locals to discover more tourism experiences within the region; while earning exciting rewards! Not only this, leveraging the app’s many visitor engagement features, Bruce County successfully created a valuable tourism tool for their visitors enabling them to explore their surroundings in their own time without missing out on a thing!


Digital points and rewards programs present opportunities for growth and improvement rather than causing challenges. 

Driftscape Points and Rewards

One aspect to consider is the opportunity to educate and empower all types of travelers, regardless of their tech proficiency. By providing informative materials, you can assist visitors in fully embracing and benefiting from your program. Today, many explorers carry mobile phones, making adopting a digital points and rewards program easier.


Moreover, privacy concerns often associated with digital platforms can be an advantage. By selecting a digital tourism solution provider that prioritizes visitor privacy, such as Driftscape, you not only protect their sensitive information but also build trust and loyalty. Driftscape never gathers personal data about visitors, ensuring their privacy remains safeguarded.


In essence, these challenges serve as stepping stones for refining your approach. With strategic planning and implementation, digital points and rewards programs have the potential to significantly enhance visitor engagement and loyalty, ultimately contributing to the success of your destination.


Conclusion

A points and rewards program is a powerful tourism tool for destinations to build loyalty, increase engagement, and drive repeat visits. By providing tangible incentives to continue interacting with your destination (either paper-based or digitally), you create a mutually beneficial relationship between your destination and your visitors.


Over 90 Destinations across North America, including Bruce County and the Villages of Clinton and Cache Creek, are creating immersive experiences with Driftscape. Recognized as the best travel app on the market, Driftscape offers more engagement features than any other platform. Learn more about how a collectible points and rewards program can work in your destination. Contact us to get started! 


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