5 Quick Ideas to Attract Summer Tourists to Your Small Business

After a year of hunkering down, folks are ready to hit the road in record numbers. Business Wire reports half of U.S. adults are likely to take at least one vacation this summer. And nearly half of those are expected to spend more than $1,000. That represents a unique opportunity to welcome new customers. Start with these marketing ideas to attract vacationers to your small business this summer.

Get seen on the go.

SmallBusiness.com reports 85% of leisure travelers don’t decide on vacation activities until they reach their destination. So it’s wise to have a high profile in places where vacationers search on their mobile devices.

Pay attention to your business’ listing on mobile sites like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor. Be sure your profile is up to date with hours of operation and directions to your store. Don’t forget to include a few photos. Google says those profiles get 42% more clicks for direction. Promote any discounts you’re giving to vacationers.

Offer a bonus experience.

There are lots of restaurants out there but how many feature a local artist sketching caricatures of patrons, for free? That’s an example of the kind of differentiation that can tip the scale for hungry tourists. The idea is to offer an experience in addition to the product you’re selling.

And this idea isn’t limited to retail shops. For example, an auto repair business could set up a video gaming station in their waiting area. What parents wouldn’t appreciate having a chance for the kids to blow of a little steam playing Nintendo while the car is being serviced?

Cozy up to your visitor’s bureau and hotel clerks.

One of the first stops many vacationers see as they enter a town is the visitor’s center. They’re often presented with a welcome package complete with information about local businesses. Here’s a great opportunity to reach your target market with some free advertising. Consider including a flyer with a discount coupon in the packet. Include directions to your establishment.

Another key contact is with local hotel staff. Weary travelers who don’t want to search, rely on them for nearby recommendations. Familiarize the staff with your business by offering a free meal at your restaurant or a coupon to your store so they can see for themselves. This personal experience often prompts them to recommend your business over others.

Anticipate their needs.

Even the best of travelers can’t plan for everything. So offer the convenience of having items they need. For example, rain ponchos in a sudden downpour, in-car phone chargers when their phone is down to 20%, or free bottled water on a hot day. They may not match your regular product offerings but customers will appreciate the convenience, and they’re typically low-cost items.

Another value-add is to offer advice or directions to local attractions. Out-of-towners appreciate tips from locals who know the area. When’s the best time to go? I only have two hours, what are the must-see spots? Answers to questions like these provide the kind of experience that gets positive reviews.

Don’t forget local tourists.

Not all vacationers are out-of-towners. Some local residents opt for a “staycation” in their own  hometown. So recognize your fellow citizens with a special privilege. It might be special pricing or “locals only” preview events. These individuals have the potential to become repeat customers when they welcome visitors to their home.

Another idea is to offer discounts during your low-traffic times. Locals often have greater flexibility on which day to frequent your business. It’s a win-win for both. Locals escape the crowds and you fill-up your slow time.

Whether you live in or on the way to a vacation spot, this summer is a unique opportunity to attract record numbers of travelers. See if one of these ideas can help you get in on this summer’s vacation activity.

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