Westhoek for Kids

Group Kemmelse Heuveltjes:

Diana Bullmann (HdM)
Ashley Dick (UWS)
Jamie McMillan (UWS)
Cäcilia Winand (HdM)

Marketing of tourism in the Westhoek for families with children younger than twelve

Before starting with our marketing campaign we did some basic research about the region itself and the touristic attractions it offers to the visitors. Our main finding was that most of the touristic spots were somehow linked to the theme ‘World War I’ and are not very well prepared for children. A second finding was that the attraction concerning landscape and local nature like hiking pathways or bike tours were not really suitable for young kids. For example most of the hiking paths were several kilometres long without any picnic area or playground. Another outcome of our survey was that nearly every offered tourist activities in the Westhoek region is an outdoors activity, but especially families with young children also need activities they could perform when it is raining.

Therefore we decided to first develop some possible attractions for the region before defining a marketing campaign around these attractions. So we first got in touch with the local tourist office and interviewed them about their existing marketing strategy and about their aims and about upcoming touristic attractions. Based on this information we came up with some new ideas how the region can turn existing touristic attractions into child-friendly attractions and with suggestions which kind of activities young families would like to take. One of these ideas was to turn a simple hiking path into a treasure hunt. Starting point for this treasure hunt could be the (planned) tourist centre ‘De Bergen’. There the families will get an ‘explorer kit’ with information material (maps, leaflets, etc.) about the Westhoek region and the available touristic attractions, with little games to pass the time on rainy days and a ‘adventure diary’. But also some giveaways like a binocular should be part of the ‘explorer kit’ to foster the play instinct and the motivation of the children: The children should be ‘adventurers’ and not simple tourists.

Around this basic idea we developed our marketing campaign. Main aspects of this campaign were a website and the mentioned ‘explorer kit’. We choose a design with colours that are very child-friendly. On the website the families (the parents together with their children) could get information about the region, touristic attractions and the adventures they could experience. So the main function of the website and the other marketing material like the ‘explorer kit’ is to communicate stories and not only to give simple information.

In our marketing concept we concentrate on the traget group 'children' because we found out that in the end the parents are the ones who decide where to spent the holidays, but that the children and their needs have an equal impact on this decision.

Come to the Westhoek and experience the adventures…