The long-term existence and effectiveness of tourism service in a fiercely competitive global environment depends not only on the ability to satisfy the customer’s needs but also to strategically respond to current challenges. Therefore, strategic marketing becomes a necessary practice of contemporary tourism services.
To support tourism, the county government of Laikipia has in the last three years been supporting cultural-based tourism run by organized communities group dominated by women and youth especially in the pastoral communities where the potential is immense.
Several community-based organizations were identified like the Ilngwese cultural manyatta, Twala Tenebo cultural manyatta, Koija star beds, Makurian cultural manyatta, Ngiroliti cultural manyatta among others.
To promote this Community Based Tourism Organizations (CBTOs), the government of Laikipia county set to intervene by:
Holding training that will teach them customers relations, communication skills, bookkeeping, and financial management, guiding skills, diversified cuisine, marketing, and organizational structure. This will expand their thinking and see things in different dimensions.
Construction of resource centers to act as conference facilities and rehabilitate or construct Bandas, create campsites, construct curio or shanga facilities among others.
Helping market their facilities, will create more awareness and hence have more tourists visiting Laikipia.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected various sectors of Kenya’s economy, the County Government of Laikipia remains positive in making Laikipia a preferred tourism destination.
Laikipia County Statistical Abstract 2021, notes that there has been a decline in the number of tourist arrivals at Thomson falls from 203,912 in 2019 to 66,330 in 2020. This can be attributed to measures put in place countrywide to curb Covid-19. Post pandemic, the expectation is for the sector to register growth as witnessed between 2017 and 2019 where the number of visitors to Thomson falls jumped from 135,903 to 203,912.
The county government is employing strategies to promote tourism:-
Digital marketing entails online advertising, working with social media influencers, and the use of email marketing. Focusing on the promotion of tourism using social media in Laikipia county is likely to get better results. Social media is a relatively inexpensive source of market intelligence that can be used to track and respond to consumer-related problems and detect market opportunities.
Enhance stakeholders engagement.
This involves looking out for the interest of various stakeholders, in order to establish and facilitate engagement. Laikipia county will have to enhance interconnectivity among suppliers at the destination, interactivity with customers and the destination managers.
To make the Laikipia brand stand out from others, special attention should be paid to the photos and videos the county uses in its marketing. They should come up with a coherent color scheme, use of tagline about the county destination, and be consistent in the promotional message so that people become familiar with it.
Search Engines Optimization
Search engines have become one of the most strategic tools for marketing tourism destinations. The goal of SEO is to get the destination Laikipia website to the top of the first page of results.