Who doesn’t love a getaway, especially to a great resort town? Escaping to these little slices of heaven is a welcomed reprieve from everyday life.
But what if you decide not to leave the land of utopia? How do you live, own a business and flourish in a town that caters to the tourist you once were… you know the one that actually made enough money to spend when visiting a quaint resort town?
Typically you roll with an in season and off season approach. A business owner hopes for an abundance of tourists and all their folly in season, so a nice nest egg can be built for off season survival.
Thanks to Social Media and 5 basic tips, a resort town business owner has the ability to bridge the seasons’ gaps.
1. Social Media won’t Break the Bank: Aside from a few luxury businesses, resort towns are mostly populated with mom-and-pop shops on limited ad budgets. Many yearn for a stronger marketing presence yet are overwhelmed with the cost to do so. Now these small businesses can tap into the online marketing power of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube for free. From these sites, they can share photos, business news and specials, industry content, video, and most importantly their own unique voice.
2. Capture Your Tourist Market in the Off-Season: Don’t stop collecting customer emails but be sure to ask for Facebook and Twitter information as well. Keeping your transient tourists in the loop through emails is still a valid marketing tool but may illicit minimal interaction from your customer base.
On the other hand social media sites are all about 2-way communication. Once your customers head back to their hometowns, they still have the opportunity to engage in conversation with you. Although they are not physically standing on the other side of the register, they will experience fond memories of their resort town get away through your comments, photos and such. In turn this will build an even stronger attraction to you and your business.
3. Let Your Loyal Customers Spread the Word: Small businesses typically get more than half of their customers through word of mouth, and sites like Twitter are a digital manifestation of that. Twitter users broadcast messages of up to 140 characters in length, and the culture of the service encourages people to spread news to friends in their own network.
You can be sure that your customers will be chatting about their wonderful vacation experiences and if you have a social media presence, they will eagerly direct their friends, family and co-workers to your sites. It is the essence of throwback marketing… doing business with people you know, like and trust, even if that relationship did not develop face to face.
4. Keep the Locals in the Loop: The same advice about tourists spreading the word applies to your local community. The people that live and work in the same beautiful town as you want bragging rights as well. Resort towns have a tendency to lull people away from merely visiting as a vacationer to becoming an actual resident. So think of the network they have built in another locale and how eager they are to share all the splendor of their enviable surroundings, including favorite shops, restaurants and entertainment with that group.
In addition the locals love to frequent their favorite spots when the tourists hit the road. Social Media is the perfect avenue to keep them up to date with specials, promotions and events.
5. Work, Play and Promote Together: If you treat social media as a way to meet people, expand your horizons, learn from others, and feel connected, you can make it a useful tool for your business. Start building relationships with other social media folks in your area. In my hometown of Traverse City (located in Northern Michigan) we use a Twitter community driven convention known as a hashtag (# sign in front of keywords or groups and locations). Check out #NWMI to see how we are organically growing our network.
When you live in a resort town, your sense of community is strong. It is advantageous to pool your resources and help promote not only your amazing surroundings but each others talents. I recommend that you check out some of my favorite locals on Facebook – Grand Traverse Pie Company, Cherry Republic, Traverse City Film Festival, and The Village at Grand Traverse Commons… and on Twitter – @thevillagetc, @TCFF, and @BrittenMKTG.