Black History Month is a great time to promote the voices of Black-owned small businesses in your area, but real allyship is a daily, year-round practice.
Your destination or travel brand can uplift the Black community with ongoing marketing support — whether that’s featuring Black owned and operated businesses on your website homepage, sharing and reposting social posts from Black creators, or highlighting partner listings from BIPOC on a regular basis.
Here are 8 ideas you can implement (right now!) to feature and support Black-owned small businesses.
1. Make a Black-owned gift guide
First, you can survey your destination’s partners and small business owners to see what they sell or what services they provide. Then, collate their responses into an ultimate gift guide for your area!
Your gift guide doesn’t have to feature only physical goods, either. Here are a few types of goods and services you can definitely highlight in your guide:
Black-owned hotels and tour operators
Restaurants, cafes, and bars
Boutiques and shops
Writers, authors, and influencers
2. Create a Black-owned food tour
Choose 5-10 Black-owned restaurants, bars, or cafes to create a tour or bar crawl of the best dishes, drinks, or trendiest eats in your city. Use CrowdRiff to collate user-generated content from each restaurant or venue, and create a dynamic gallery of enticing images from every stop on the tour.
The food tour can be an IRL experience, but your destination could also create interactive maps or website experiences to show off the best of your area.
If there’s a theme, lean into that! For example, if your destination is known for a certain style of cuisine or a specific dish, make sure it’s featured on your food tour.
3. Interview business owners for their unique POV
When’s the last time you sat down with a small business owner to truly understand their day-to-day life and their pain points as entrepreneurs? Bring a camera or a recorder and capture their unique perspective on what it means to be a Black business owner in your area.
Feature their interview on your blog, or make video cutdowns of their most meaningful snippets to share on social media. You can ask questions like:
What do you wish more people understood about being a Black small business owner?
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Who is your biggest supporter in the community?
4. Partner with Black creatives on co-marketing efforts
If you’re looking for a few influential BIPOC voices in the travel community, start with this list. That’s only beginning to scratch the surface of the kinds of creatives your destination can partner with.
Get to know nano and micro-influencers in your travel niche, who often provide a better return on investment than those with massive followings. Micro-influencers tend to have a more engaged, niche audience who trust that these creators actually use and recommend the products and services they receive.
Most importantly, pay the Black influencers and creators you work with to market your destination fairly. Keep in mind that there’s a huge wage gap in the influencer world, particularly among Black creatives, who make up to 35% less than white counterparts.
5. Plan a history tour of your area
Most destinations in the world today have benefited from and co-opted Black culture over centuries, and often, Black history and culture gets erased in the process.
Use your voice as destination marketers to share Black stories throughout history. You can highlight local museums or important landmarks, or simply share the real-life stories of Black people in your town throughout history.
6. Partner with nonprofits for donations and volunteer events
Destination marketing ultimately exists to enrich the communities people live in, and your organization can help lead the charge by partnering with nonprofits, mutual aid groups, and other orgs to plan marketing efforts that go directly to your community members, like:
Set up scholarships or grants for first time BIPOC business owners
Create an annual fundraiser where the proceeds go directly to Black businesses toward their operating or marketing costs
Host events like workshops and webinars featuring community members
7. Have a Black business owner take over your IG Stories for a day
Visibility matters, and no matter how much great content you’re creating to share Black voices with your community, sometimes the best thing is hearing information straight from the source. Plan a monthly IG takeover where a Black-owned business or creatives can go live to share about their goods or services, answer a Q&A on Instagram Stories, or post promo of their business on your feed.
8. Repurpose content into new formats so you can feature Black voices year round
Ultimately, people need to hear from Black voices in your community year round, not just during Black History Month (though that is a helpful starting place, especially if your destination is just getting started with its DEI efforts).
One way to do this is to repurpose all the content your destination or brand creates for Black History Month and distribute on a different marketing channel. For example:
Turn a long-form article into a Twitter thread or Reddit post to increase its reach and how people engage with it
Use video interviews with Black business owners for other social posts, or drive to interviews in a marketing newsletter
Repost your Black-owned gift guide on major holidays throughout the year
Your destination is truly diverse. Your marketing should be, too! Check out these resources for even more inspo.