Guide for rural tourism






Marketing refers to any actions taken to attract an audience to the product or services through high-quality messaging. 

Strong marketing can set you apart and ensure that your outstanding products and experiences are enjoyed by those they are intended for. 

The “Five P’s of Marketing” give structure to a marketing plan and encourage you to be inclusive as you consider your product, price, placement, promotion, and positioning.

In rural tourism, Five P’s can be described as following:

1. Product

PRODUCT is what you offer to your target market:

  • Goods: Vegetables, meats, value-added products, baked goods, handcrafted items…
  • Experiences: Tours, farm stays, dinners, tastings, festivals, weddings…

Remember all the “products” experienced by visitors, including:

  • Signage
  • Employee courtesy (each guest can influence 100 other potential customers)
  • Visual appeal and cleanliness of your household (view the “product” through the eyes of your customer)
  • Convenience and availability of parking
  • Recipes or information on how to cook/prepare domestic products
  • Ancillary services (e.g., accepting credit cards, food for purchase, bathrooms, accommodations
  • For those with special needs: the elderly, persons with disabilities, parents with strollers.

Customer Service Tips:

Guests may come to your household as part of a wider tour of the area.To be most accommodating,

make sure you and all of your family members/employees can answer these questions:

  • What other attractions should I visit while in the area?
  • What accommodations are available nearby?
  • Are there any good places to eat?
  • Is it possible to rent bicycle, ski equipment, or similar nearby?
  • Where is the nearest gas station?
  • Are there any special events happening nearby?
  • Are there retail stores nearby?
  • What other farms can I visit?

2. Price

PRICE is what you charge for your products/services.

Setting an appropriate price point for each product or experience is critical. It’s also essential that you pay yourself fairly. There are two approaches to pricing: be a low-cost leader or provide a “value-based” product or service. As a low-cost leader, you are a margin-driven business requiring a high volume of sales. Your customers don’t expect quality; it’s a bonus, not a requirement. 

With a value-based approach, customers are willing to pay what they consider a fair value for the quality and unique features and benefits they anticipate from your product. “Fair value” varies with the target audience. What is considered expensive to one might be considered cheap to another. Therefore, you need to know what is driving your target market’s purchasing decisions and what these individuals consider a fair value for the features and benefits of your product so you can price your product accordingly and convey an message that will resonate with these customers.

Tips to help you identify your starting price points:

  • Know your full costs.
  • Conduct a break-even analysis to determine your costs of production. 
  • Don’t be afraid to charge a fair price for what your product is worth.
  • Understand the market landscape around you: Analyze competitors’ pricing; Conduct research on target customers’ willingness to pay for the products/experience

3. Placement & Distribution

PLACEMENT & DISTRIBUTION means the distribution channels you use to reach your target market, or how visitors will access your products and experiences.

With an agritourism business, one goal is to sell rural household experiences which can only be offered in the village. Another goal may be to stay connected with tourists through sales of other products after they have left your household. Therefore, your household itself is a distribution channel, and your website with an online shop, or online event registration system may be others. When inviting your guests, make sure it’s safe and welcoming.


  • Minimize risk of injury to your visitors
  • Maintain a high level of aesthetic appeal
  • Make it easy for visitors to identify driving directions to your household (Make sure your
  • address is accurate on Google Maps; Make sure your website, Google listing, and social media
  • accounts all clearly include your hours/days/seasons of operation.)
  • Product availability for seasonal items
  • Restroom facilities
  • Offer preparation tips and recipes
  • Provide benches for resting and areas where children can play.
  • Consider accessibility issues and the needs of parents with baby strollers, elderly visitors, and
  • persons with limited mobility

4. Promotion

PROMOTION is the strategy you use to raise awareness of the product or service you offer to your target market. Promotion is often confused with the term „marketing“, but is only a part of it.

There are an overwhelming number of places where you can display your rural household and many methods for promoting your offer. Prioritize your promotion strategies around your customers, based

on what you learn from your customer profile. Where and how are they accessing information?

Look for opportunities to minimize expense and maximize investment. Do a cost-benefit analysis for each strategy to select the mix that uses your marketing money most efficiently. How many people will it reach? What does it cost? Will it directly generate sales or just build awareness? Focus on action-oriented messages that engage the audience.

Once you get tourists to your household, make it standard practice to ask them how they learned about you. This will help you determine whether your marketing is effective and where you need to make adjustments.

Explore paid and free marketing options, and be open to unlikely partnerships. These might include collaborations with a hotel in town, a ski resort nearby, a restaurant to whom you wholesale produce, arts and crafts organizations that could co-host an event, a neighboring farm, or your school. You might collaborate with area artists/professionals to provide complementary services, such as a yoga class or weekend retreat that includes preparing a healthy meal and simple arts workshop. 

These partnerships can offer you access to partners’ markets, in addition to your own.


  • Whatever you do, make sure what your customers see online is what they see when they get there
  • Spread the word about your agritourism offerings through:
    • Social media 
    • press releases 
    • Road signage, 
    • Travel and tourism websites and blogs
    • Radio or television
    • Print media (newspapers, magazines, visitor guides)
    • Rack cards/brochures
    • Product packaging
    • Branded merchandise (hats, cycling jerseys, totes, mugs, water bottles)
    • Your website etc.
  • Photos and videos can make or break your marketing efforts, particularly in this era of social media. When using photos and videos in social media or in publications, remember:
    • Only use photos/videos on which you have copyright permission
    • Only use high quality images and videos that are clear, not blurry (consider to engage professional photographer to make them for you).
    • Crop photos to cut out unattractive piles of clutter or junk. Share images that showcase the clean and safe parts of your household.
    • Sometimes less is more. For example, when taking a photo, ask yourself, “Will the viewer be able to instantly know what my subject is?” Also, instead of sharing four photos of your just-picked carrots, choose the best one.
    • When posting photos of food, make sure it looks appetizing. Ask yourself: If the person viewing the photo would want to eat it?
  • There is a strong interest from people coming to take pictures of whatever they find interesting. The more you add in the household, like a mural, a piece of art, an interesting landscape design—anything unusual or unique draws people attention. Their photos on social networks will be free promotion for you.

5. Positioning

POSITIONING is the process of creating a unique impression for your product/service in the minds of your customers.

Start by asking yourself, “How do I want my customers to describe my household?” What adjectives would you want them to use? “Friendly”? “Casual”? “Sustainable”? This process is commonly referred to as brand development.

Tip: Once you’ve determined what kind of “brand” you have, make sure all your marketing materials reflect that brand. Keep a consistent look and feel across:

  • Signage on the farm
  • Advertising and promotional materials (print and online)
  • Employee apparel
  • Contact information — email, voicemail, etc.


Top of the page

Theme select: