It’s time to go on vacation! Will your customers be hiking through forest trails? Making castles on sandy beaches? Stargazing in remote deserts? Whether you’re set up in the happiest place on Earth or the literal Death Valley, attracting tourists is all about how you present yourself. While different people will be attracted to different experiences, there are some marketing strategies that will translate across just about any audience. Not sure where to start? Here are some of our best marketing tips and travel swag ideas to bring the tourists to your door.
As a destination attraction, you depend on the “wow” factor to bring in the crowds. But do you know what crowds you should be attracting? One of the first and most important steps for you to take is to know your audience. Are you offering adventure to thrill-seekers? Are you a remote getaway for those trying to relax in solitude? Are you a family-friendly place for making memories? Do you offer unique cuisine found only in your region? Whether you’re a restaurant, an amusement park, a guided tour, or even a state park, you need to know what you offer and who that appeals to.
Once you know what you’re offering to who, the rest is getting your message out there. Don’t just try and do it alone, though. Reach out to others in the tourism industry and work together! For example, car rental agencies and hotels can pass out your brochures, and airlines can feature pictures your pictures in their marketing videos. The more businesses showcase your business as a must-see destination, the more people will make your place a priority stop on their vacation agenda.
No matter where people plan to vacation, they’re going to need some help getting from point A to point B while still having lots of time and energy left for the actual vacationing. That’s where you come in. Airlines, taxi services, car rental businesses, or even hotels can all fall under this umbrella of travel services. No matter what type of service you are, your main appeals to any customer will be cost effectiveness, convenience, and comfort. You may not be the reason they’re going where they’re going, but you can show that you’re the best way to get there.
You should also work with other companies to improve your marketing visibility. Create travel packages with other services (such as offering taxi services with certain hotels, or hotel discounts to certain airline travelers.) This will not only make you a visible choice to many tourists, but it will make you stand out as the best choice when it comes to cost effectiveness and convenience. You should also use local destinations in your marketing, showing your customers what experiences they can access when they use your services.
When marketing to domestic tourists, you’ll like get more families and people who are familiar with some of the experiences available. It will be harder to offer the sense of exoticness (unless they’re from a very different part of the country) so you may find it more effective to focus on a sense of luxury, relief from a busy life, and making memories with loved ones. You can also direct them to the must-have souvenirs, such as seashells at the coast, fossils and geodes in the deserts, and wildlife memorabilia from prairies and mountains.
International tourists, on the other hand, are coming from a whole new country. Everything can feel new and strange to them, from cars driving on a different side of the road to the natural parks and wild amusement parks. Show them an out-of-this-world adventure while also helping them safely and conveniently navigate through tricky travel problems like converting foreign currency, understanding costs and our tip-based culture, finding transportation, and navigating in a foreign language. These people will be relying heavily on the tourist-based businesses to help them enjoy their vacation safely and with minimal stress.
Smiles – You know those ads where kids are running in the sun and everyone is smiling? That’s what you want to show in your advertisements. Don’t just show what you offer, show people enjoying what you offer. Seeing those smiles creates an unconscious empathetic response with viewers so they feel the joy behind those smiles and want to be part of it.
Sights – Whether it’s views of nature, a city that never sleeps, or luxurious artwork that will make jaws drop, you need to show the sights that you can provide. Even if you’re a hotel without the best views, you can still promote the experiences available near your location so people know what they’ll have access to.
Senses – Don’t make out your business to be nothing more than a pretty picture. Get all of the senses engaged with images of people eating local cuisine, touching local animals, feeling the ocean breezes, smelling the pine off the mountains, and engaging physically with the landscape. Show them that the adventure you offer is about living, not just seeing.
Service – Are you a hotel with poolside margaritas? Does your airline have an app for navigating terminals? Does your taxi service offer full-day city adventure tours at a discount? Take whatever sets your business apart from the rest and make sure customers know about it!
Solitude – Whether it’s parents travelling with kids or just busy professionals looking for a break, everyone dreams of having that quiet “alone” time on vacation. Show how your destination or service can provide that restful time away from crowds, noise, and the problems of everyday life.
Tourists love taking home keepsakes from their vacations, and it works in your favor if you have your logo on the ones they take home! Travel mugs, pens, sunglasses, magnets, keychains, towels, and other trinkets make great souvenirs for businesses looking to improve their visibility both to potential return customers and everyone their customers interact with back home. You can also give these items to other businesses to hand out at airports, gift shops, and more to spread your visibility.
This is an especially helpful source of visibility for travel services such as hotels, airlines, and more. Luggage tags, toiletry bags, portable chargers, and other small but essential items will be used throughout your customers’ vacations and on future trips as well. Not only do they increase visibility, but customers will feel grateful to your company every time those little necessities are used.
If you have larger travel essentials, like duffel bags, backpacks, and umbrellas, you can also use them for giveaway prizes. Market your services with the chance to win and you’ll attract a greater audience of tourists that are happy to try their luck while using services they already need.
Everyone loves a good gift, including other businesses! Pens, stationary, gift sets, and other common business gifts are a great way to build connections with others in your industry. Even sharing your other swag reserved for tourists can make a great gift package!
Travel marketing is a major part of any business that relies on tourism for any part of their profits, and especially for those who cater primarily to vacationers. No matter how amazing your destination or services are, you can’t rely solely on BuzzFeed top ten lists and five-star Yelp reviews to get the visibility that you need. Take the time to research other businesses in your area that you can collaborate with, make sure your marketing is aimed at the right audience, and implement some of our travel swag ideas and other tips to get your business the attention it deserves.
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