Tips To Attract Tourists to Your Small Business

Open sign hanging at store's door

Attracting visitors to your small business can be a great way to boost revenue, broaden your customer base, increase foot traffic, and raise awareness of your establishment to help attract local customers as well as tourists. According to a recent report, 88% of respondents say dining and shopping at a local small business provides them with a more authentic experience on their travels, which creates a great opportunity for you to connect with potential customers.

Depending on the unique attractions and points of interest in your town or city, you can position your small business as a go-to spot on tourists’ itineraries with the right strategy. Whether you are based in a snowy area that draws winter sports enthusiasts from near and far, are surrounded by stunning scenery in spring or fall, or are in a popular summer destination, we’ve outlined some tips you can implement during your busy tourist season(s) that can help your small business thrive.

Enhance Visibility with Signage

Signage can be a fantastic way to boost your small business’s visibility and attract attention. Tourists may often depend on store signs to find their way around, so yours should be easily visible, sturdy, and made of the right material. It should also be designed with your brand colours, logos, and/or taglines to help convey your brand story to potential customers who may be completely unfamiliar with your business.

Eye-catching exterior signage can help attract those who pass by, while in-store signage, such as posters displayed in your window, can be a great way to shift a customer’s attention to your store. Promoting a product or sale can be a great opportunity to spark interest.

Optimize your Google Business Profile

According to a recent local consumer review survey, Google is the most-used website for consumers to find and read business reviews, while 81% use the platform to evaluate local businesses. Optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) can be crucial for your small business so that you can pop up in users’ searches and maps.

Here are some ways you can enhance your GBP:

  • Complete the steps to verify your profile.
  • Add your social media accounts so your GBP can display your social posts to help direct potential customers to your socials.
  • Confirm that all information is accurate, including your address, phone number, website URL, and store hours. The last thing you want is for tourists to find your business and make their way over during their trip, only to find you’re closed or unreachable.
  • Add high-res exterior and interior photos of your small business so it’s easier to recognize.
  • Reply to reviews (positive or negative) to show you’re active and responsive to your customers.
  • Add to the Q&A feature so potential customers can learn more about your small business quickly.

If you don’t have many reviews or are experiencing a lull in the number you receive on your GBP, encourage current customers, especially those loyal to your small business, to leave a review sharing their honest thoughts. This can be a great way to attract tourists seeking out and relying on these reviews and help attract local potential customers simultaneously.

Add Flyers at Well-Known Tourist Spots

Are there destinations that you know tourists flock to in your area? Find out if there are community bulletin boards or specific spots that allow you to post flyers. Print marketing is still a strong force in the promo game, as it produces a 70-80% higher recall rate than digital advertising.

Similar to your business’s signage, flyers should remain on brand so that it’s easier for potential customers to recognize your business. They should also highlight key features of your offerings and have your address and contact info clearly displayed. If there is additional info you want to share, adding a QR code to your flyers  can help limit an overload of details that may be missed by someone walking by.

Create a Positive Ambience

Your in-store ambience can significantly impact customers. If your space is inviting, such as through its sight, scents, and sounds, you can help create a positive experience for your customers. Happy customers can be more likely to share positive feedback with their friends, potentially leading to increased word-of-mouth referrals and attracting more visitors, including tourists, to your store.

Do you have a cool selfie wall or unique design elements? If your small business has exciting in-store features, show them off! It can attract tourists seeking your store’s vibe.

Refresh your Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for small business owners. It can help you reach your target audience, engage with customers, share details about your products/services, and more. If you are not using your accounts to your benefit, now is the time to create organic content that can improve your business’s visibility in your market.

Based on a global travel trends report, 79% of Gen-Z and Millennial respondents say they would love to experience a “day in the life of locals” when they travel. These generations also happen to be extremely active on social media. They may feel more inclined to look up local businesses to help create that living-like-a-local feeling. Since 83% of respondents want to shop at small businesses when they travel and 75% of travellers feel inspired to visit a destination because of social media, you have the opportunity to reach an audience of interested tourists through your social accounts.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Use local hashtags in your posts to reach those searching for location-specific businesses
  • Engage/reply to your comments and DMs
  • Create a posting schedule to help show that you are active
  • Share details about your small business through fun, thumb-stopping posts
  • Follow influencers, whether it be travel influencers or micro-influencers in your area, to encourage engagement with your business

Beyond just posting, it’s important to monitor what customers are saying about you online. Search for your business name on social media platforms and on popular tourist sites like Trip Advisor.

Create a Mobile-Friendly Web Design

As tourists explore the attractions your city/town offers, they’ll likely be on their cellphones searching for local businesses and where to go. In fact, 76% of consumers will look at a business’s online presence before physically visiting, making your website a valuable medium to connect with potential customers.

Optimizing your website to be mobile-friendly can be especially important, as a site that isn’t configured to fit the smaller dimensions of a phone can often downgrade the user experience. This is evident in that 57% of users will not recommend a business if it has a poorly designed website. Also, since 61% of users are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly site, it is important that certain sections of your site are not illegible, missing, or poorly displayed, as potential customers could miss learning more about your small business and your offerings.

Approximately half of web traffic worldwide occurs on a mobile device, making it more important than ever to create a positive user experience. This can be particularly important for tourists who may be accessing your site on the go and might not have the time to navigate through it, which could lead them to choose a competitor instead.

One of the first things you can do is test your website out on your own mobile device to see how it’s laid out. If you are having difficulty navigating it, your prospective customers will too. Work with your website builder to create a responsive layout that will resize depending on which device is used to avoid missing certain key areas.

Connect with Nearby Hotels and Businesses

Many tourists stay in hotels; consider reaching out to local hotel managers and concierges. These are the individuals who often provide tourists with recommendations on where to go. You could ask to leave brochures highlighting your products or features or invite them to experience your small business firsthand.

Reaching out to nearby businesses can also be a great way to build awareness in your community and help you take a team approach to attracting tourists. Start by seeking businesses that match well with yours and see what possibilities you can create. For instance, you could offer a special deal that only customers of a specific local business receive and vice versa.

Reach Out to The UPS Store

Our Small Business Solutions can help businesses like yours grow. Contact The UPS Store at a location near you to find out how our services, such as printing, shipping, and more, can benefit you.

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