Marketing Summer: Reaching Vacationers vs. The Locals

If you’ve never lived in a vacation town, you may not know that there’s a delicate balance in place: what business and municipalities say and do for the visitors versus the locals.

The two audiences are distinct and will care about their own unique sets of questions and concerns. That all boils down to the fact that your business or brand will need to be able to cater to both groups, no matter the time of year.

During the summer, it’s a matter of reminding the residents why your business applies to them when tourists are overrunning their town, and the visitors will want to feel right at home for however long they happen to be staying.

Talking to tourists 

When was the last time you took a summer vacation? Do you remember what about the city you chose captivated you, the hotel you booked, or the restaurants you visited? As you might have guessed, marketing and doing business with visitors to your hometown is actually pretty similar to how you’d operate with your neighbors. But three main areas tend to get overlooked when it comes to communicating with the tourists.

Stay genuine.

The main thing to remember about drawing newcomers to your hometown is to be authentic while you’re promoting the area’s appeal. While a certain level of enthusiasm is certainly acceptable – expected, even – in your content marketing pieces, you don’t want to make it so over-the-top that your audience feels like it’s too much like cliche market speak.

Remember that the average consumer now recognizes language like this and will oftentimes shut down rather than react favorably to your marketing campaign.

Focus on targeting the right audience.

Summer tourism is big business. And if you live in one of those areas, we have some ideas to help target the right audience to capture this market and grow your sales.

  • Promote with social media and promoted ads – Younger travelers use social media to get ideas of where to shop, eat, and travel. They search based on hashtags, locations, and influencers, so tag your business’s account and content accordingly. And if your business is active on Facebook, you can buy ads tailored to a location that help draw in new customers nearby. Tourists that have used the “check-in” feature are served ads based on their new location.
  • Be proactive about reviews – Along with social media, managing your online reputation is key to attracting tourists. Monitor what customers are writing about you on Google Reviews, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.

[Want to know more about your social media strategy leads to sales? Click here!] 

The price is always right.

Vacations and extended trips away from home might be times to loosen up on your wallet, but just about every tourist still has a budget in mind. So, whether you’re advertising parasailing excursions, a sale at your downtown shop, or a new special at a local eatery, the cost of what you want them to buy will always be a factor.

Be fair, both to your potential customers and to yourself, and avoid trying to talk around the numbers. When you offer a transparent front, tentative clients become legitimate ones.

Speaking the local language.  

Depending on how long you’ve resided in a town that sees an influx of visitors at certain times of the year, you may not yet be immune to the excitement that stirs the air when tourist season arrives. But for some, it’s simply a period of increased traffic, crowds, and exaggerated marketing messaging from the area’s businesses.

So how to move past these preconceived notions and get your neighbors excited about what you have to say? When it comes to a more familiar, perhaps even burnt-out audience, there are a couple of ways you can help bring back the original exhilaration of living in such a popular locale.

Add an element of exclusivity.

While summer tourism boards are busy promoting your town as open and welcoming to everyone, your disgruntled neighbors might be singing a different tune. So, add some incentive that locals are more likely to know about and use to their advantage. This could be anything from a code emailed only to past customers for a percentage off their next purchase, a hidden “Easter egg” planted in your Instagram story that one can redeem, or even a small event for your loyal clients only.

Your local audiences just need to be reminded that you and your business value them and their continued support, especially during the height of vacation season.

Be consistent

Summer and vacationing tend to make people a little more open to a change in schedule, some flexibility to our daily routines. But, if you’re living and working in a popular tourist stop, then you know that there’s only so much that can fluctuate in your daily life. For some, that includes a lot of the goods and services they consider an investment.

So, if you’re a business or brand trying to keep the locals on board while you also cater to your town’s seasonal visitors, don’t toss out the weekly deals just yet. Make sure your neighbors know you’re still thinking of them by providing the special customer service rewards that got them hooked in the first place.

No matter the season, an effective marketing strategy will always be a healthy balancing act. If you’d like an extra set of eyes (or an entire agency) focusing on yours, fine-tuning it, and coming up with fresh ideas, contact Sage Island!

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