France is on course to have a record year for tourism in 2015, which will help to boost sector revenue by approximately 4 percent, says minister for foreign affairs and tourism Laurent Fabius.
To keep up, here are four trends for tour operators and activity providers in France to consider for the end of 2015 and 2016. Take advantage of the influx of U.S. tourists, the global spotlight on rural France, and government spending on tourism.
1. It's a great time to target U.S. tourists
A favourable exchange rate between the euro and the dollar makes 2015 and 2016 an ideal year to target American tourists as a tour operator. France has welcomed an overall 6 per cent more U.S. arrivals in 2015, especially in regions such as Alsace and Cognac (see Travel Pulse).
To target American tourists, you could consider a Google AdWords or Facebook advertising campaign focused on those browsing things to do in your region. You can also pay attention to the increased investment in tourism partners by the French government.
2. Tourism growth isn't just happening in the cities
Lonely Planet has celebrated the Auvergne region in central France for offering “life-changing experiences”, as one of their six international must-visit regions for 2016 (alongside Bavaria in Germany and West Iceland).
If you're in a region that's receiving positive press acclaim, take advantage of it. Get your tours or activities on the map with a social media strategy, partner with other local businesses and your tourism board, and build up your selection of great TripAdvisor reviews.
3. The French government is spending big on tourism
In June 2015, France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced the country's plans to boost yearly tourism visitors from 84 million to 100 million by the end of the decade, stating that:
"We have to educate people so that they speak different languages, we need a publicity campaign on television, and we need to make sure people receive a good welcome when they arrive at airports".
The minister emphasised that more should be done to encourage tourists to stay for longer, as well as noting the need to address the quality of hotels, especially in the age of growing Airbnb use.
4. Increased Airbnb bookings are raising the digital expectations of tourists
50,000 apartments in Paris have been available to rent on Airbnb in 2015, compared to just 4,000 in 2012. In an attempt to appease the city's concerned hotel industry, a taxe de sejour (at a rate of 83 cents per night) was added to Airbnb customers' bills From October 1 2015.
However, the trend of online bookings isn't just affecting the hotel industry.
Because tourists can easily book their accommodation online (and in a personalized way), they are expecting a similar experience when booking their tours and activities.
Satisfy these expectations by having a website with a booking system that lets customers simply click "book now" and pay online. You'll notice the difference it has on your business, particularly for digitally-savvy customers.
To help reach even more people with your website, our SEO guide also has some handy tips:
Want to find out why tour and activity providers in 121 countries use TrekkSoft booking and payment software?
Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.