From Locals to Globetrotters: A Guide to Broadening Your Customer Base
You’re probably aware of the benefits of marketing to your local customer base. But depending on your location and the tours you offer, your target audience could be primarily made up of non-locals, and even international travelers. (Here’s how to find out).
There is a goldmine of adventurers willing to rave about your unique offerings, especially if you’re located near a tourist destination or within a city that typically draws many out-of-town visitors.
Here are some tips on cracking the code of these non-local visitors and attracting more paying customers to your business from afar.
Use Your Website as Your Primary Sales Tool
Technology is a wonder, and you want your website to be fully optimized when it comes to celebrating what you do, who you cater to, and how you improve their visit.
So, how do you update your website to attract international customers?
- Do you have translation tools? Modern plugins and website integrations make translating your website into any other language easy. That goes the same for your confirmation emails, guided tours, and marketing materials.
- Do you have analytics? Using Google Analytics and similar digital tools will help you uncover what out-of-town clients want from your business and, more importantly, where they are viewing your site from.
- Do you show up on international social media? Want to know why you suddenly have an influx of visitors of a certain demographic? Give them feedback options asking where they heard about your business. You may be surprised.
Love them or hate them, influencers are . . . influential. These social media mavens have tens of thousands of followers eager to purchase products, explore dining options, and visit destinations based on the recommendations of influencers.
This doesn’t mean you need to bend over backward. Hiring someone is no different than getting your yard work completed. Be clear about expectations and how you want your brand to look, and be sure to sign a contract. We’ve put together a comprehensive influencer guide to help you get started.
Pro Tip: Don’t want to break the bank? Look into micro-influencers. These accounts have 5-10,000 followers and are super focused on specific niches.
Partner with OTAs, Resellers, and DMOs
OTAs (online travel agencies) are particularly helpful for customers looking to visit somewhere they have never been. They will outfit your target customers with flights, hotels, and dining options and then suggest unique experiences and travel outings as part of the trip planning.
Similarly, partnering with businesses like cruise ships, bus companies, ferries, trains, local hotels, and Airbnb is another way to advertise your experiences to guests. The goal is to get attention by hitting tourists in the prime locations they visit the most. A flier with information about your experiences (plus a QR code that goes directly to your website) will help you take advantage of the out-of-town market.
Finally, destination marketing organization websites, or DMOs, list your business by location and niche market. The goal is to expand your marketing channels to increase visibility, and listing your activity, tour, or attraction on DMOs goes a long way to boosting your authority with international users.
Embrace the Seasons
Want to know why ski resorts have waterparks, disc golf courses, and mountain biking and hiking terrain? Because it turns them into year-round attractions.
Having year-round offerings is a challenge. You’ll need to think outside the box when it comes to diversifying your business enough. It’s hard to transform a kayak tour company into a winter event space, but even making efforts to extend your busy season into the shoulder season can help you secure additional revenue – and out-of-town travelers.
Celebrate Local Events
Don’t be afraid to ride the coattails of local music festivals, eating events, parades, fairs, and other cultural celebrations. Events like these often draw a non-local crowd, giving you a new opportunity to tap into that market.
Pro Tip: Partner with event organizers as a sponsor to increase your visibility. When international customers see your name plastered on an event, they will likely swing by your location.
As you can see, there is no 100% guaranteed way to entice out-of-towners to your business. However, with a bit of fun, creativity, and innovation, you can use these tips to boost awareness of your brand.