If your business is in a popular tourist destination, you might not be the main attraction in someone’s dream vacation, but that’s no reason why you can’t be an unexpected find or memorable addition. Here are eight ways you can benefit from a busy tourism season.
1. Plan ahead
It’s wishful thinking to expect the extra foot traffic from a busy tourism season to happen every year without any marketing efforts from you. If the tourism season is your busiest time of year, it should also benefit from a larger portion of your marketing budget. You know it’s coming, so don’t wait until the last minute to plan a tourist marketing campaign. Start talking to your local media marketing consultant early so you can take advantage of early bookings to lock in lower rates and secure premium placements for the peak season.
2. Get listed
Whether online or in print, be aware of opportunities for business listings in visitor guides for your location. Make sure your business is included, and if the publication offers enhanced listings — do it. Enhanced listings are a relatively small fee compared to other types of advertising, but they can really make your business stand out.
3. Optimize online
Make sure your website and social media pages are optimized for search — including voice search. When tourists conduct online searches looking for things to do and see, you want your website to appear in the top search results. Your website should have a clean interface, be mobile friendly and put key information (hours, location, specials) clearly viewable on the front page.
4. Add to your database
Collect customer information through online forms (website and social media) and during in-store purchases. Continue to engage with customers in the off season, as they are likely to be repeat tourists, or recommend your business to fellow travelers.
5. Encourage reviews
Collecting customer information also helps build your online review reputation. Contact customers two to seven days after their visit to say “thank you” and ask for a review.
6. Try location-based marketing
Imagine sending everyone in the hotel district a free appetizer coupon just before dinner time. Or reminding people there are great downtown shops on a rainy day. This and more is possible with location-based marketing, where you target potential customers based on their current or past location.
7. Be ready with business cards
A minor expense compared to other print products, having a steady supply of business cards at your checkout counter serves two purposes. It gives visitors a free, mini souvenir for their trip, and it gives them a tangible marketing piece they could pass on to a friend in search of a local wonder.
8. Tell your story
Your marketing efforts toward tourists should focus more on storytelling and emotions. How will visiting your business create a memorable experience? Strong images are especially important.
You don’t have to market alone. Partner with your local business association, or even your business neighbors. The more foot traffic in your neighborhood, the more customers for everyone.
Check out our Busy Business Owner’s Checklist to Successfully Marketing to Mountain-Town Visitors for even more ideas to make this your best tourism season yet!