[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tourists can provide a great boost to any retail or hospitality business. They typically have more time and interest in shopping, and more money to spend, than average customers. However, because they are a different audience, they require a different marketing approach to reach and attract them. Here are four tips for attracting tourists to your business:

1. Flex your social media muscles

Tourists are more interested in shopping, eating and traveling, but they often have less knowledge about the local market. They looking for information on where to go, what to do and what to buy. Where do they find that information? They jump on their phone or tablet and search.

Social media provides you with the ultimate platform for raising awareness among tourists. It’s inexpensive, has broad reach, can be targeted directly to your audience, and you can do it on your own. Travelers will search for information based on hashtags, locations, and influencers, so make sure your company profile on social media is up to date and your content contains relevant hashtags to attract the right crowd. Google’s search spiders like regular, relevant content, so publish articles and blogs often.

2) Get happy customers to spread the word

It’s also a good idea to manage your online reputation. Since travelers don’t know who you are, they are more likely to refer to online reviews for ratings and advice so be sure you’re listed on Google, Yelp, and other travel-related sites, such as TripAdvisor.

How do you get positive reviews? It’s easier than it sounds: the number one reason customers don’t post positive reviews is because they weren’t asked. So – ask! Ask happy customers to post a review, and offer discounts or bonus loyalty reward dollars for those who like or share your page. And monitor all sites where your business is being reviewed. If someone does post a negative review, respond quickly and thoughtfully. Offering loyalty rewards or gift cards can be offered to help turn a negative experience into a positive one.

3) Promoting the spirit of the season.

Smart retailers can drive extra traffic and enhance a tourists’ travel experience with special seasonal promotions and offers. For example, restaurants can offer special prices on Canadian or American related cuisine on Canada Day or July 4th. Retailers and hospitality establishments can create and promote themed products or events that tie into the season or holiday.

Make sure you promote your offers online and with street signage, such as sidewalk graphics or window posters, so that tourists will see them while they walk or drive by. You can also market your promotion in high-traffic sites, such as local attractions, concerts and other major events, where tourists tend to frequent.

4) Cozy up to a concierge.

Local hotels and visitor organizations can be excellent sources for driving tourists to your business. They are often the first place tourists go for recommendations, and they tend to place more trust in their advice.

Start by offering them gift cards, coupons or brochures to hand out to their guests and visitors. Ask if they have other options or suggestions for sending traffic to your business. If you own a restaurant, invite concierges for a free meal, which allows them to provide a first-hand review. Retail stores can send unique gifts to concierges so that they will be remembered when asked for a recommendation.

You can also partner with a local business that’s complementary to yours, and promote each other with discounts or gift cards. For example, a health food store could partner with a local gym, or a fashionable clothing retailer with a high-end shoe store.

Tourists are a different breed and require a different set of marketing tactics to attract them. But with a little effort, they can bring a lot of extra traffic to your business, and a lot of extra revenue.

To learn more about how a gift card and loyalty program can help attract tourists to your business, complete our form and someone will be in touch to discuss options.


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