Tourism is one of the largest industries in the United States, contributing $1.47 trillion to the GDP in 2014, a number that is expected to grow to more than 2.5 trillion by 2025. Both domestic tourists and international tourists are driving this trend. In fact, the U.S. is second only to France in the number of tourists that it receives each year, and tourists spend more money in the U.S. than in any other country. According to the US Travel Association, tourists in the country spend an average of $2.6 billion a day, or $30,033 every second. Tourism in the U.S. peaks in the summer, as international and domestic travelers alike take advantage of the warm weather and sunshine to explore new places, from some of the U.S.’s biggest cities to the remote corners of its national parks.
Tourism can present a lucrative economic opportunity for local businesses across the country, whether you’re a boutique bed and breakfast in Brooklyn or a quaint café on the edge of Yosemite. Therefore, as summer approaches, it is important to start thinking about how you can drive tourists into your local business this year. To get started, be sure to keep the following tips and tricks in mind.
Put a Social Media Marketing Strategy in Place
If you want to drive tourists into your local business, you need to have a well-developed presence on social media and compelling profiles. If tourists are online researching places to check out during their vacation or looking up places to visit once they’ve already arrived, they are unlikely to be impressed by a business that doesn’t have a developed web presence or has a website that is outdated, nonresponsive, or missing important information. In fact, they may end up choosing another business that is more visible or presents itself better, even if you offer something better. If tourists are doing research about your town or city, you want to maximize the chances that your business will come up during the course of their research.
“During vacation research, 55 percent of those surveyed liked pages relating to the trip they were planning. This is a very important touchpoint for travel brands, as social media is an important research tool for vacationers,” Kimberlee Morrison explained in Ad Week. In fact, tourists very often change their plans after consulting social media. For example, roughly one-third of people who used social media to research their travel plans changed their hotel based on their findings. Social media can and does have a huge impact on consumers’ choices, particularly when they are traveling.
Moreover, getting into tourists into your local business can actually help you create buzz around your brand. Tourists are far more likely to be posting pictures and experiences online than locals are. Consider this: 39 percent of Twitter users report using the platform while traveling, while a staggering 97 percent of millennials say they share pictures on social media while traveling using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
“When one of their friends travels, it is almost guaranteed that he or she will share photos on social media and, in turn, share the in-person experience of the destination with his or her online following,” Kyle Wong explained in Forbes. If a tourist comes into your business, snaps a couple of cool photos, and posts them on social media, it’s a great way for you to boost your brand’s visibility. It may even inspire others in that tourist’s social networks to come check out your business if they are ever in your city. In order to maximize this benefit, however, you need to make sure your business has profiles on all of the major social media sites.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Reviews
Reviews mean a lot in today’s world. Now more than ever, if a consumer is trying to figure out whether to go to a restaurant or stay at a certain hotel, he or she will consult online reviews. This is especially true in the travel industry.
“While past generations relied on travel agents, today, millennials (and other generations) use the internet to do their research. Millennials are well researched when it comes to travel — whether it’s lodgings, activities, or loyalty programs,” Wong said. “Millennials and Gen Z rely on their peers online testimonials to guide their purchasing decisions — 92% of travelers trust reviews and make informed decision based on their online research. Sites like Trip Advisor curate communities of reviewers who rate hotels, restaurants, and activities. A positive review on a trusted site can confirm a travel decision while a negative one can cause potential travelers to rethink a particular hotel or restaurant.”
When a customer leaves your business, don’t be afraid to ask him or her to leave you a positive review, especially if you can tell the customer has enjoyed the experience. A few good opinions are an excellent way to get more tourists through your door.
Get Your Companies Listed in Local Directories
The more places your company is listed, the better. It is estimated that about 3 out of 4 consumers turn to directories online when they are trying to find a business within a specific local area. The key here is to make sure that all of your listings have accurate NAP info (name, address, and phone number). After all, if a tourist finds you in one of these local directories, you want to ensure that he or she is able to find your business and get in contact with you.
Racking up listings in local directories has the added bonus of boosting your SEO strategy. This is advantageous because when tourists are doing Google searches for businesses in your area, you want your business to come in as close to the top as possible.
Submit Your Company to Featured Lists
To get tourists’ attention, you need to get your business to show up in attention-grabbing content. With that in mind, try to submit your company for lists such as “The Top 10 Cheap Eats in Chicago” or “The Top 20 Trendiest Spots in Manhattan.” These kinds of headlines are known to attract customers’ attention when they see them on blogs or in search engine results, so it is worth spending some time and energy trying to get your business on these lists. You might also consider sharing your information with papers and other media sources for the chance to be featured.
The bottom line is that taking steps to drive tourists into your local business can and will pay dividends. From building a social media presence to soliciting reviews, by taking a few small steps, you can get many more tourists through your doors and boost your bottom line. Consult with 10twelve today to find ways to drive tourists into your business!