If You Promote It, They Will Come: How to Make Your Biz a Must-Visit Travel Spot
From sandy beaches to iconic landmarks, summer tourists always have a few must-see places on their vacation checklists. Turning your business into one of those popular destinations can bring significant rewards. Don’t worry if your company isn’t housed in a historic building; here are five marketing tips to help any consumer business attract the interest of tourists–and keep them coming back each year.
1. Be a Good Partner
Working with other businesses in your area is a great way to create memorable experiences for tourists. Hotels are a great place to distribute your marketing materials, but why stop there? Whether you offer picnic lunches for a local tour operator, dog-walking services at a pet-friendly hotel or transportation to a local event, there are a number of ways to create package deals to introduce your products and services to tourists. Offer coupons or discounts as an invitation to come and see what else your business has to offer.
2. Stick Together
The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce and tourism associations, which often promote clusters of businesses in the same sector such as hotels, restaurants or art galleries through targeted seasonal marketing efforts. Working with local travel agencies and destination management companies also can help to steer business your way. And, most important, be trusted in your community. Tourists love to ask locals for advice; treat your local customers like royalty and tourists who want to be part of the local scene will follow their lead.
3. Hit the Road
Consider a concession stand or booth at a community festival or farmers market, or set up a roadside stand at a local attraction to introduce a sampling of your products to new customers, advises the SBA. There also are many opportunities for small businesses in more than 100 national parks, including food, lodging, tours, boating and other recreational activities that are contracted by private businesses. The Park Service publishes notices of these opportunities at www.fedbizopps.gov. Don’t miss out: more than 600 concessionaires bring in $1 billion-plus in gross receipts each year, according to the SBA.
4. Get Cultural
Many tourists want a cultural education when they travel, and a great way to do that is to experience the local cuisine. Whether it’s a green chile cheeseburger in New Mexico, crab cakes in Maryland or beignets in New Orleans, offering a cultural specialty is a great way to attract vacationers. Get listed in local restaurant guides and directories to help tourists find you, and use outdoor signs and sidewalk menus to attract passersby. Offering convenient parking–or partnering with a local garage or lot–is another great way to get tourists to your door.
5. Be Easy to Find
Tourists frequently use their mobile phones and devices for local searches: By 2015, more U.S. consumers will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs, according to research firm International Data Corp. Be sure you have a mobile-friendly version of your website that offers basic information such as directions, click-to-call phone numbers or menus. You also can promote your business to nearby tourists who are using mobile apps by posting information about offers and deals through online services such as Groupon, Living Social and FourSquare, noted the SBA.
With these trusty tips, it’s easy to turn your small business into a vacation destination that not only will attract tourists to your company but also keep them coming back for years to come.