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2017 Growing your Agritourism Venture


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Presented by ASAP, Mountain BizWorks, and USDA-FSA
1. Share relevant tools & strategies to improve marketing, experiences for visitors, and profitability for farms.

2. Identify challenges and opportunities for expanding agritourism as part of a farm business
3. Provide metrics to evaluate your current agritourism model
4. Examine considerations for scaling up, including holistic farm planning

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2017 Growing your Agritourism Venture

  1. 1. Growing your Agritourism Venture
  2. 2. Mission: To help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Vision: Strong farms, thriving local food economies, and healthy communities where farming is valued as central to our heritage and our future. Mission: Farm Service Agency is equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. Vision: A market-oriented, economically and environmentally sound American agriculture delivering an abundant, safe, and affordable food and fiber supply while sustaining quality agricultural communities. Mission: To build a vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial community in Western North Carolina by helping small businesses start, grow, and thrive. When small businesses succeed, we all prosper. Vision: MBW envisions a thriving WNC in which small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs have access to the resources needed to make their dream a reality - a region where collaboration, creativity, innovation and investment create opportunity for all.
  3. 3. Goals of the workshop today ◻ Share relevant tools & strategies to improve marketing, experiences for visitors, and profitability for farms. ◻ Identify challenges and opportunities for expanding agritourism as part of a farm business ◻ Provide metrics to evaluate your current agritourism model ◻ Examine considerations for scaling up, including holistic farm planning
  4. 4. Prefer local “56% of respondents to Fresh Trends 2016 said they felt strongly about keeping their food dollars within their own community” –The Packer, Fresh Trends 2016 Want connections with their farmers “For today’s consumers, food is now a cultural product to discover, share, make and trade. This reconnection with food and its origins is encouraging a new level of participation. ” –Hartman Group, The Consumer-Driven Redefinition of Quality in Food Culture Value transparency “Today’s shoppers are very educated and seek out product attributes important to their lifestyles and beliefs, from food origin and transparency to freshness, ingredients and health attributes” –Progressive Grocer, What's in Store 2017 Research Shows That Consum ers... National Trends
  5. 5. National Trends "Agritourism is one of the fastest-growing forms of global tourism" "Locally produced foods and unique home grown restaurants are increasingly one of the main hooks to entice travelers." - Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business On-Farm Activities % of Venues Offering Tours/field trips 52.70% Festival/event 38.20% Wedding/reunion/social gathering 34.50% Retail goods purchased on the farm 32.40% Beer, cider, spirits or wine tasting 26.40% Educational workshop 24.30% Produce, meat, dairy or honey purchased on farm 23.70% Animal observation/petting 23.30% On-farm lodging or camping 17.60% Hayride 15.20% Top 10 Most Frequently Offered Agritourism Activities in Virginia in 2015 Source: Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Some 7.5 million people visited farms in Virginia in 2015, the study found, but about 60 percent of those visitors came from less than 50 miles away...local visitors to Virginia farm businesses spent $72.4 million while non-local visitors spent $84.1 million.
  6. 6. What are regional and local trends (+/-)impacting your agritourism enterprise? Who are your farm visitors are why are they coming out to your farm?
  7. 7. Why do you do agritourism?
  8. 8. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? Benefits of Agritourism and Farms Tours Why other Appalachian Grown Farms participate: ❖ Increase exposure for the farm and business ❖ Raise awareness of what is produced locally and promoting what is "local" ❖ Expose more people to local food and farms ❖ Market products and other farm offerings like special events, festivals, and lodging ❖ Reach new customers and turn occasional customers into farm “fans” ❖ Provide an education and outreach opportunity to the public ❖ Sell product ❖ Drive traffic to the farm and increase customer base ❖ Connect with the local community
  9. 9. HOW CAN THIS BE PART OF YOUR BUSINESS MODEL? Agritourism Income Sources -Cornell Cooperative Extension ❏ Admission fee ❏ Tour fee ❏ Sales of fresh farm product to expanded customer base ❏ Sales of processed farm product ❏ Craft / souvenir sales ❏ Activity fee ❏ Class / skill-building fee ❏ Tasting fee ❏ Facility rental ❏ Show fee ❏ Farm lodging ❏ Food service WHAT ARE THE BROADER IMPACTS ON SALES AND YOUR BUSINESS PLAN?
  10. 10. HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT IS WORKING? ● What percentage of folks visiting your farm post their visit on social media? What impacts do their posts have? ● Is the average dollar sale increasing for the number of people visiting your farm? ● How often will a first-time visitor living within 40 miles of your farm re-purchase from you? And the average $ sale of each re-purchase? ● How much does it cost you to convert an agritourism customer into a lifetime value customer (i'll explain this if you like)
  11. 11. WHERE CAN YOU IMPROVE? TYPICAL SALES PROCESS ❏ Marketing/Outreach ❏ Visitor Experience ❏ Staying Connected
  12. 12. COST OF MARKETING Money ● Paid advertising ● Signage ● Promotional Materials Time ● Education ● Building community ● Relationship building ● Earned media
  13. 13. WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO REACH? ⦿This narrow focus is called a “market share”. ⦿You want to add to your market share by understanding the values your customer uses to evaluate and make purchasing decisions: ◻ Frequency of Need ◻ Prioritization of Values ◻ Price Willingness ◻ Income ◻ Position: one time vs. lifetime ◻ Interests ◻ Etc.
  14. 14. Who are your customers and what are their values? Come up with examples of real people to help you gear your farm story, marketing and outreach towards them.
  15. 15. HOW WORD OF MOUTH REALLY WORKS I heard it from a friend Then I saw your sign Then I saw your rack card Then I saw an article in the paper That reminded me to call you
  16. 16. MARKETING/OUTREACH Try to reach the same person 3-5 times with a consistent message. In doing so, you are going to reach other people like them, as well. Before ■ Engaging customers at farmers markets/events ■ Building name/brand recognition ■ Optimizing cross-promotions ■ Community outreach ■ Earned media
  17. 17. A customer isn’t a customer until they have taken action. What opportunities for engagement and decision have you developed prior to clients visiting your farm?
  18. 18. On the Farm ■ Sharing your story ■ Building connections through shared experience ■ Offering take home materials ■ Collecting contacts ■ Sampling and selling products VISITOR EXPERIENCE
  19. 19. THE STORY OF YOUR FARM You have an authentic story to tell. Engage your visitors in the story behind your products - How they are grown, why you chose them, joys and challenges of farming, why you farm. Make it personal. What differentiates your farm and your products?
  20. 20. Storytelling is a tool for... ...Establishing yourself in people’s memories. Stories help customers remember you and your farm.
  21. 21. Storytelling is a tool for... ...Connecting to the right people and customers. Stories help the type of customers you want to have feel connected with you.
  22. 22. Connect with people using emotion or humor. Build your story starting with the core idea that “hooks” people.
  23. 23. Storytelling is a tool for... ...Inspiring customer commitment. When customers feel connected to your story, they are far more likely to remain loyal, buying from you again and again.
  24. 24. BUILDING LOYAL CUSTOMERS ⦿It is ten times easier to sell something else to an existing customer who loves your business than it is to find a new customer.
  25. 25. Crafting Your Farm Story ● Create a clear, straightforward story that can be adapted for audience and time ● What to include: ○ Who you are/your connection to place ○ Why you farm ○ Challenge/barrier - Engages your audience ○ Action/Resolution -Connects your audience emotionally ○ Meaning/upshot/take home -What difference are you making? Why does what you do matter? What makes you different? Stories influence how we decide. Our decisions and actions are often based more on emotional reactions than rational thought.
  26. 26. Visitor Experience
  27. 27. WHILE YOU WAIT
  29. 29. What are three offerings you provide to your farm visitors that creates a unique and engaged or action-centered visitor experience?
  30. 30. After ■ Encourage visitors to share their stories ■ Seek out earned media ■ Offer more ways for customers to connect STAY CONNECTED
  31. 31. Cross Promotions
  32. 32. ◻ Marketing/Outreach ◻ Targeted marketing ◻ Building name/brand recognition ◻ Optimizing cross-promotions ◻ Visitor Experience ◻ Sharing your farm story ◻ Offering authentic & hands-on experiences ◻ Sampling and Sales ◻ Staying Connected ◻ Following up with ways for visitors to share stories or connect again ◻ Tracking efforts and results ◻ Managing risks ◻ Planning strategically and holistically WHERE CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS MODEL?
  33. 33. CHALLENGES FOR AGRITOURISM Legal and Insurance Questions to Consider William S. Durr Attorney Ward and Smith, P.A. 82 Patton Avenue, Suite 300 P: 828.348.6062 | F: 828.348.6077 | Tracy Cotton CISR Morrow Insurance Phone: 800-228-3132 x106 Direct Line: 828-527-0170 Fax: 828-652-4788
  34. 34. ◻ Visit ASAP, FSA, Mountain Bizworks, Morrow Insurance, Ward and Smith, P.A. tables to have your personal questions answered and gain more general knowledge about resources available. ◻ Further your connections and knowledge sharing with other agritourism-farms. ◻ Get outside. ◻ Say hello to our hosts Anna and Paul Littman. Lunchtime Action Steps
  35. 35. Considerations for Scaling Up Recordkeeping in your business planning
  36. 36. Considerations for Scaling Up Thinking holistically about accessing capital
  37. 37. Considerations for Scaling Up Managing risk on both sides of the scale ◻ Enterprise lines of business ◻ Risk assessments ◻ Risk measures ◻ Risk management ◻ Agritourism line of business ◻ Added exposures Loan options ◻ Start ◻ Improve ◻ Expand ◻ Transition ◻ Microloans ◻ Traditional ◻ Crowd
  38. 38. Kimberly Hunter (828) 253-2834 xt.18 Molly Nicholie (828) 236-1282 ext. 111