Ten tips to attract tourists and business travelers to your small business

Tourists and business travelers need ways to save money; small business owners need ways to make money.

Where is the common ground? How do you turn tourists and business travelers into customers?

Attracting Tourists to Your Small Business

We asked Dave Charest, director of Small Business Success for Constant Contact, for his best ideas. Constant Contact is a company that specializes in email marketing software tools.

1. Create a great experience

Whether someone is passing through the area or spending a few days in the area, make sure the traveler check-in with your company is top notch.

“You want to create a great experience that someone will talk about,” Charest said. “That will make them want to come back, whether it’s during their current stay or in the future.”

2. Vary the deal

The types of deals you offer can have different value depending on the status of the customer. Is the person a long-term traveler or a transit traveler?

“For example, a restaurant or bar might offer a deal for multiple visits in one week, or a deal for people with out-of-state ID at a certain distance,” Charest said.

3. Be transparent about business decisions

If you feel the pinch of inflation and need to raise prices, give an explanation. You can do this on social media or at your company. It’s no surprise – customers experience the same challenges as you.

“Many times, customers can empathize, and most of them actively want you to succeed,” said Charest. “Giving them a chance to understand what you’re going through, and a way to support you through it, is a great way to build strong relationships and grow a loyal audience.”

4. Pay attention to the small details!

Charest described tourism as an industry heavily influenced by word of mouth.

“Focusing on the overall experience and the small details can go a long way in enticing people to talk about and refer to a company,” he said. “Give your staff permission to “stun” guests with the little things that make you stand out, ultimately making your business a go-to spot.”

5. Set up a referral program

Charest said small business owners can start a referral program, such as letting a customer earn a small kickback or discount by recommending their business.

6. Expand Email Marketing

“Email marketing can help keep a business top-of-mind and communicate deals, even with customers who are just passing through,” says Charest.

7. Collaborate with other companies

The right small businesses working together — especially through their marketing efforts — can serve to build business for everyone involved, Charest said.

8. Massive Ad Deals

Charest advised reaching customers not only through the email lists, but also through local newspapers and social media. Using mass advertising is the way for customers to learn about and take advantage of deals.

“For example, I heard about a climbing gym next to a brewery, and a hand stamp from the gym offers you a discount at the brewery,” Charest said. “While these companies have different email lists and customer bases, co-branded promotions ultimately help each other.”

9. Highlight luxury or unique experiences you offer

If you’re offering something unique to the area that can’t be found anywhere else, make it known, Charest said. Or, if your business offers more of a grab and go interaction, make sure the experience is smooth and meets the needs of your customers.

10. Collect Email Addresses

Collecting email addresses doesn’t just help you provide information about upcoming promotions or events.

“You can also contact them to research them to find out what they liked the most, or even what you could improve on,” Charest said. “With this information, you can attract more people in the future and even encourage repeat business.”

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