A primary goal of many heritage projects is promotion – which can take several discrete forms, and focus on many distinctive outcomes: education, community identity, engagement, etc. For many communities, a key outcome of this kind of work is tourism – the traditional goal that helps many community members understand the value and meaning of local heritage work.

And if a community is going to use its history and heritage to promote itself to tourists, it is best to know who these visitors are, and how best to communicate with them.

Travel Manitoba logo

Travel Manitoba, a provincial Crown corporation responsible for the promotion of the province's tourist industry, has recently embarked on a communication/marketing strategy with a major focus on Manitoba's heritage.

Heritage Manitoba recommends that groups and communities carefully review this material, and consider how best to communicate about their own history and heritage.

It should be noted that much of the material that has been developed for other parts of the Heritage Manitoba website has been geared to support this kind of strategic effort.

Manitoba's Target Customers

Travel Manitoba has invested in the Explorer QuotientTM (EQ) and extensive research to define the customer profiles for travellers with the highest potential to visit Manitoba. EQ, developed by the Canadian Tourism Commission in collaboration with Environics Research, is an innovative market segmentation tool. It builds a link between travellers' social values and their travel behaviours and preferences. Two EQ traveller types have been identified as being the most likely to be drawn to Manitoba's tourism offerings: Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers.

For the record, here are the other tourist segments identified through EQ:

  • Free Spirits
  • No-Hassle Travellers
  • Social Samplers
  • Personal History Explorers
  • Rejuvenators
  • Gentle Explorers
  • Cultural History Buffs
  • Group Tourists

The EQ materials examine several countries for this data: Canada, United States, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea. Anyone interested in examining this material in detail can visit this site:


Travel Manitoba includes this caveat in its introduction to Manitoba's Target Customers, as a reminder to all involved in the tourism industry about their new focus on the two EQ traveller types:

A Clear Focus is Vital

To most effectively market our province's tourism experiences, we must know who to talk to and what they want to hear. This means that we cannot be all things to all people. We must focus the conversation as sharply as possible.

We recognize that not every travel experience in Manitoba will align directly with our selected traveller types. However, designing our brand with specific traveller types in mind does not mean it will repel other traveller types. Focus will make it stronger and more direct and will resonate more powerfully and broadly.

Authentic Experiencers

Authentic Experiencers (AE) want the best of both worlds – vast natural settings and local culture. These travellers want to learn, they are spontaneous, independent and open-minded. Manitoba's incredible and natural settings and wildlife, as well as our rich culture, displayed through our festivals, cultural institutions and diverse communities, really speak to these people.

They want to paddle river rapids, hike through rugged back country, hunt and fish our world-class product and more. The Authentic Experiencer is a more learned, understated traveller. They prefer to do their own thing while at a destination, having control over what they see and when they see it.

They are not status seekers and prefer to stay away from crowds. Authentic Experiencers tend to visit a wide range of destinations and prefer longer trips to weekend getaways. They are more likely than others to add time before or after business trips.

General Statistics about Authentic Experiencers

Age: 51% of Authentic Experiencers are aged 55+; the average age is 52.
Income: (CAD): Average
Education: Higher than avg. (67% university or college; 14% post graduate)

Canadian Lifestage

  • Mature 40%
  • Middle-aged, no kids at home 28%
  • Families 19%
  • Young, no kids 13%
  • Town/Rural 34%
  • Suburban 34%

General Observations about Authentic Experiencers

What is the AE personality?

  • Open-minded and curious
  • Not influenced by brands
  • Welcome and appreciate surprises
  • Willing to pay for quality products that they value
  • Like to experience foreign cultures
  • Enjoy independence and autonomy

What draws them in?

  • Nature reserves
  • Historic sites
  • Museums
  • Beautiful Beaches
  • Northern Safaris

What kinds of experiences appeal to AE's?

  • Connecting with locals
  • Award winning local cuisine
  • Active adventure

Which activities appeal to AE's?

  • General sightseeing
  • Small towns and villages
  • Slower paced and participatory
  • Authentic
  • Visiting well-known historic sites, national and provincial parks

How does an AE decide where to travel?

  • Majority plan using the web – 79% use websites for trip planning
  • More likely to be influenced by traditional advertising such as television, travel guides and books, magazines and newspaper articles
  • Peer-to-peer, word-of-mouth and websites are top sources for trip inspiration

Communicating about Local Heritage with Authentic Experiencers

Authentic Experiencers are a willing audience. They are going to take the trouble to get to you – they value history and heritage. Presuming that you have already done a good job via their preferred research tool – the internet, and your local heritage website, what do you say to them when they get to you? How do you leave them with a good impression – so that they come back, or tell others how great their experience was, and how interesting your place is?

Some thoughts:

  • Authentic Experiencers appreciate the authentic. This is a key aspect of their motivation to visit museums and historic sites. They expect to see a building or artifact that reflects or expresses a real and physical connection with the past. They want to visit a community with a distinct identity. They don't want to see a replica of a historic building, for example.
  • It is important for a community or group to think carefully about this aspect of heritage promotion: Why is the site or object authentic – you need to be clear and emphatic about these kinds of claims; and thus you need facts and reliable information that supports such claims. This kind of approach is one of the key goals of the Our Essential Past initiative (in Collect the Facts/Model Projects; link) – those projects that focus on buildings, sites and people have been designed so that a key result is the development of claims for authenticity, community identity and uniqueness.
  • Authentic Experiencers want to learn. Be prepared to have the kind of educational materials that will interest and inform them. Given their levels of maturity and education, this material will need to have the kind of communication approach that suggests broad knowledge of subjects and persuasive contextual background that puts subjects at least in a regional or provincial context. Where necessary, communication materials will need to have a sophisticated graphic appearance.
  • Keep in mind that Authentic Experiencers are willing to pay for quality.
  • Think about opportunities for experiential tourism – learning by physically undertaking an activity with historic resonance (ploughing, net-fishing, etc.) will be of great interest to them. This kind of approach will also attend to another interest – connecting with locals.
  • While they want to visit well-known historic sites, the Authentic Experiencer also appreciates surprises. If your community has a hidden gem, be sure to note that in communication materials – without giving away too much of the mystery.
  • Because Authentic Experiencers enjoy multi-day touring by car, think about how your community and its attractions can support and enhance nearby communities and attractions. A more co-ordinated regional approach will ensure even greater success for your own local heritage attractions.

Cultural Explorers

Cultural Explorers want to discover the entire experience of the culture, people and setting of the places they visit. And while they enjoy learning about a culture through a museum, they also want to participate in the modern-day culture as well. They go off the beaten track to find out how people truly live. They want to attend our festivals, watch for wildlife along heritage rivers and share a drink with the regulars at the local bar.

The Cultural Explorer loves to travel and really values learning and discovering new things while travelling. They seek constant opportunities to immerse themselves in the entire experience. They don't want to feel like a "tourist" and like to blend in with the locals. Cultural Explorers are willing to take risks to achieve their goals and are confident in their ability to adapt to change. They are not status seekers and prefer to stay away from group tours.

General Statistics about Cultural Explorers

Age: 47% of Authentic Experiencers are aged 35-54; the average age is 44.
Income: (CAD): Average
Education: Higher than avg. (67% university or college; 6% post graduate)

Canadian Lifestage

  • Middle-aged, no kids at home 33%
  • Families 30%
  • Mature 19%
  • Young, no kids 18%

Community Type Origin

  • City 35%
  • Suburban 33%
  • Town/Rural 32%

General Observations about Cultural Explorers

What is the CE personality?

  • Positive and open-minded
  • Not influenced by brands
  • Curious and love to learn
  • Spontaneous
  • Energetic
  • Always planning their next vacation

What draws them in?

  • Cultural events
  • Historic sites
  • Festivals
  • Museums
  • Northern Safaris

What kinds of experiences appeal to CE's?

  • Connecting with locals
  • Award winning local cuisine
  • Active adventure

Which activities appeal to CE's?

  • Opportunities to learn and grow
  • Less structured activities for sightseeing
  • Slower paced and participatory
  • Environmentally and socially responsible experiences

How does a CE decide where to travel?

  • Heavy users of peer-to-peer, word-of-mouth and websites for planning and inspiration
  • 57% use traditional advertising for trip planning
  • High use of social media channels
  • Websites that share travellers' reviews

Communicating about Local Heritage with Cultural Explorers

  • Cultural Explorers are slightly less interested than Authentic Experiencers in history and heritage. But this group does respond to heritage as a valued aspect of a total tourism experience. They are not as interested in authenticity as a motivator for their visit, although they will respond with interest to claims of authenticity.
  • They will not necessarily seek you out, so you have to be prepared to take a second seat to other local attractions – especially recreational and cultural attractions. This second-place status does not mean however that local heritage attractions should not be promoted and connected to this group. What it does mean is that different communication and promotional tools should be considered. For example, in a walking tour, highlighting other local attractions along with heritage sites is a proven response to this situation.
  • It is important to note that this group tends to be positive (thus seeking uplifting stories), curious (thus interested in getting effective answers to questions), and spontaneous and energetic (thus not willing to read a lot). They also often have families and so will be busy attending to those needs and interests.
  • Groups and communities might be prepared for this group with communication materials that are lighter in tone, with more concise and even amusing texts, and with more graphics.


Similarities Between Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers

  • Both are learners
  • They share some important social values such as:
    • Looking to leave their everyday responsibilities behind when they travel
    • Seeking ways to express their individuality and learn about different cultures
    • Ethical concerns and social responsibility influence their travel purchases
  • Both are curious and open-minded
    • An experience that intrigues and surprises them will be appealing and they are likely to follow-up to find out more. A new approach may change their perceptions of Manitoba enough to reconsider their assumptions.
  • Historical travel is a strong motivation for both
    • Research indicates that historical travel is a strong motivator and they are both interested in museums, historic sites and buildings


Key Differences Between Authentic Experiencers and Cultural Explorers

Authentic Experiencers

  • Older with higher education
  • More likely to be retired
  • Plenty of time to travel
  • More reserved and like to stay away from crowds
  • Historical travel is a strong motivator
  • Enjoy nature and vast settings

Cultural Explorers

  • Younger, working full-time
  • More families or middle-aged with no kids at all or at home
  • Lead active lives with time pressures but are not overwhelmed
  • Seek fun and excitement and are attracted to crowds
  • Enjoy ancient history as well as modern culture
  • Avoid main-stream touristy locations