BackyardBC.com makes staycations more attractive than ever
Friday, October 5, 2012
When was the last time you vacationed in your own back yard? We don’t mean pitching a tent amongst the flowerbeds out back, but rather, being a tourist in your own town or elsewhere in BC?
Brian Friesen hopes it was recently.
As the founder of BackyardBC, Brian’s goal is to turn more British Columbians into overnight visitors within their own province – and he’s found an innovative way to do it.
During more than a dozen years working in BC’s competitive travel & tourism industry, Brian Friesen recognized that BC hotels and resorts could access an enormous untapped market – right in their own back yard.
At the same time, Brian saw how difficult it was for destination marketers to attract international visitors to the province. So many external factors were at play, most of which were out of hoteliers’ control.
He adds, “I also saw how large, online travel agents were taking advantage of hotels and resorts with strict contracts and extremely high commission rates. I thought, why not promote local tourism by providing a way for residents to get preferred pricing on hotels and resorts?”
In other words, “travel local and save big.”
BackyardBC was born: a consumer website with a custom-built content management system that allows hotels and resorts to showcase their properties while building and managing their own property files on the website.
BC residents who sign up can access promo codes at over 75 hotels and resorts across BC and take advantage of BC resident-only discounts ranging from 10%-40% off.
To take advantage of the savings, travellers simply book their accommodation directly with the hotel – either online or toll-free by phone – using the unique reservation code attached to that property. Proof of BC residency is required at the time of check-in.
Brian credits BCIC with providing indispensible support for BackyardBC’s progress through various programs it sponsors.
“We went through the Market Validation Program offered through ACETECH and advanced to the 3rd round of the 2012 BCIC-New Ventures Competition. We’re also very excited about being accepted into the Venture Acceleration Program at Accelerate Tectoria in Victoria.
Both programs, supported by BCIC, will speed up BackyardBC’s development and help Brian create a model for sustained growth and profitability.
“BC is a great place to be an entrepreneur,” Brian affirms. “There’s a great startup culture in Vancouver and Victoria, with lots of wonderful companies and entrepreneurs. Above all, the mentorship support we have received through various BCIC programs has been the most valuable.”
BackyardBC is proving to be a win-win-win venture.
Not only do BC residents save money, they also have an affordable way to see more of their own province, making them excellent ambassadors for tourism in BC.
BC communities in particular and the provincial economy in general benefit, with more vacation dollars being spent right here at home.
Finally, hotels and resorts benefit by having a year-round supply of visitors through direct bookings and low commissions without the huge expense of marketing internationally.
It would seem that for travellers, entrepreneurs and hoteliers alike, BackyardBC proves there’s no place like home!
Follow BackyardBC on Twitter at @backyardbc