7 Reasons Why You Need to Join Ride the Highlands: March 2021

If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that diversification is key to business success. This year many Ontario’s Highlands’ businesses have already transitioned to online sales and begun exploring accessing new digital markets. If this is you, we have good news for you.

This summer you can extend your reach into yet another market with one easy action: Join Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s Ride the Highlands program.

This niche activity promotional program is geared specifically to motorcycle enthusiasts, and marketing efforts are directed at increasing engagement with digital platforms associated with it, including RidetheHighlands.ca. Businesses who are interested in reaching this market and pivot their business to be ‘Motorcycle Ready’ can join the program to be included as a destination one of the routes and highlighted to the motorcycle market.

It goes without saying that Ontario has a reputation for its winding, scenic roads flanked by towering forests and peppered with cute small towns. In 2020, motorcycle enthusiasts hit the roads to take advantage of the vast open spaces of Ontario’s Highlands, and we believe there is nowhere better in Ontario to head out for an epic road trip.

This summer, you can make your business Motorcycle Ready and have a presence on Ride the Highlands – welcoming these intrepid weekend warriors. Not convinced? Read on for seven reasons why you should join Ride the Highlands in 2021.

Reason #1: COVID has been a game changer

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a game changer for the tourism industry. We get it, and we know how hard operators in Ontario’s Highlands have been working over the past year. The good news is that Ride the Highlands is the perfect solution to COVID-19-friendly outings for bikers. Here’s why:

  • It’s the perfect daytrip – just a rider, his (or her) bike, and the open road
  • Social distancing is natural
  • It gets riders outdoors, instead of cooped up in a car

Reason #2: There’s a whole lot of spending going on

The truth of the size of the motorcycle marked lies in the numbers: Motorcycle tourism is a $1.5 billion industry in Canada. We have 806,000 registered motorcycles in Canada, and 238,000 in Ontario alone. That’s a lot of folks riding a lot of bikes and spending as they go. The numbers also tell us that the motorcycle market has money to spend – the average household income of the average motorcycle enthusiast in Canada is above average, sitting cozily at more than $80,000.  

Reason #3: Motorcycle tourism is growing

This is one industry that has room to grow, and it continues to gain traction on Canada’s roads. In 2020, motorcycle sales increased 25 per cent over previous years, which makes sense since riding a motorcycle is such a COVID-friendly way to travel. We expect this number to continue to grow as tourism rebounds post-COVID, and these new motorcycle enthusiasts really embrace the lifestyle.

Reason #4: You get great exposure for your business

On the Ride the Highlands interactive, online map, users are able to filter to access information about accommodations, dining spots, and more to find businesses along their routes. This highlights your business easily and with relevance for the user. In 2020 there were nearly 100,000 visits to RidetheHighlands.ca – that’s 100,000 people who could have seen your business represented there!

Reason #5: Ride the Highlands has been an unqualified success

Here’s another case where the proof is in the pudding (so to speak). Since launch of the program in 2014, the numbers speak for themselves.

  • 17,417 maps distributed
  • 2,435 kick stand pads distributed
  • 901 railroad spikes distributed
  • 9,000 subscribers for the newsletter
  • 13,144 followers on Facebook
  • 1,923 followers on Instagram

Reason #6: Applying is easy

Applying for the program is easy, so there are no excuses for not broadening your customer base to this new and growing market. Send an email to ontarioshighlands@gmail.com and indicate you are interested in becoming part of Ride the Highlands. An assessment form will be sent to you based on your sector, in which you must fill out to show how your business caters to the motorcycle market.  Once your assessment form is complete, you will be deemed ‘Rider Approved’ and will be sent a special package containing a Motorcycle Only Parking and a Rider Approved Window Decal.

Reason #7: You’re in good company

Join the 47 attractions, 49 accommodations and 52 restaurants who have seen the benefits of being part of Ride the Highlands. Who knows? Joining and welcoming bikers this summer may inspire you to purchase your own bike and become a road warrior.

Happy wandering!

Julie Mulligan

OHTO’s Marketing Manager