When travel resumes, it’s going to be primarily the domestic market that delivers any business that is there to be won. You can also be certain that every tourism business will be thinking the same. Therefore, everyone will be promoting to the same audience. We have put together some of our thoughts and advice on things you could do to attract visitors or increase revenue.
Make sure intending visitors can know in advance that you embrace the ‘new normal’: All businesses will be implementing some changes to reflect the place we are in right now, and the heightened concerns people have about the coronavirus. Whatever changes you are making, allow people to know this in advance of their visit – for example, when they visit your website.
Embrace social distancing in your business: Social distancing will be with us for a considerable time. It will be hard-wired into people – until they feel safe again. How can you ‘distance-proof’ your business in queuing, pinch points, tours, shops, restaurants, and services? Unfortunately, for many businesses, it’s likely to mean reducing capacity, or managing throughput better (see online ticketing below).
Crowds won’t be loved, what to do?: Crowds won’t be loved just for now, and it’s going to impact all aspects of travel, tourism, and events. Think about it. Instead of large group tours, could you offer smaller, more personalised tours? Or, should you switch to enhanced self-guided tours with printed walk-around guides that visitors keep as a souvenir? In the case of events, can you reduce the attendance capacities or consider virtual events?
Online ticketing now an imperative: Online ticketing will be a critical tool to control visitor flows, to avoid overcrowding, to help track and trace, to stimulate bookings, and to simplify refunds. Many companies and events are likely to switch to ‘online booking only’ and to incentivise online bookings. Our partner company ‘My Top Tickets’ have all ticketing tools and features to help with all aspects of ticketing and, other than the commission, all their services are free. They can have you online within hours. See www.MyTopTickets.com
Promote special offers. Special offers can be a great idea if actively promoted, but shouldn’t be ‘always on’, or they will come to be expected (the exception might be to encourage people to book online). Use them tactically to raise your profile or stimulate business (but remember, the social distancing rules still apply). Offers should always be ‘earned’ – that may be as simple as tearing out or presenting a coupon, or by booking online. Dropping your prices for everyone is generally not a good idea. You need the revenue to sustain you, and if people don’t want to visit you, they won’t. My Top Tickets have a promo-codes tool that allows you to control the number of tickets available at special prices in a variety of different ways.
The Domestic Market – best prospect for 2020: There will be pent-up demand. The local and domestic market will be where people will explore first, once it is safe to travel. In normal times, over 15 million trips are taken around the island of Ireland by Ireland residents. In addition, Ireland residents typically spend over 60 million nights overseas… but not in 2020! This all presents an opportunity if conditions permit. Glance’s focus on this market will intensify during 2020.
Increase your focus on ‘In-Destination’ marketing. In-destination marketing means promoting your business within Ireland – to domestic consumers and to any international visitors who are already here. Glance Promotions are in-destination marketing experts. We have been winning business for our clients for almost three decades. We have a range of ways to present client businesses to people during their trips around Ireland, including through brochure displays, visitor guides and maps, and online digital platforms. We will also have some new business-winning initiatives in play during the year. See also ‘Brochures are Superheros’.
Generation X and Y – your biggest customers!: In the new normal, ‘Generation X’ and ‘Generation Y’ are likely to be the biggest customer segment for most businesses, as they will be the first to travel. Target them as independent (non-group) travellers. Generation X are those born between 1960 and 1979 and are currently aged between 41 and 60. Generation Y, or Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994. They are currently aged between 26 and 40. Both segments will travel as couples, friends, families, and solo travellers. Glance reach these key segments.
Seniors will be more reluctant travellers – think about them: Seniors are an important segment, but they are likely to be far more cautious in where they visit and what they do. In addition, Generation X and Y will be mindful and more protective of them. It is therefore also likely that some visits that involved extended families – which included seniors – will be impacted. Think about how you cater to seniors, so they feel secure about visiting you.
More will travel by car: People are going to feel safest in their cars, and more are likely to use their cars for day trips and leisure breaks. This means more will be able to visit you wherever you are. Make sure to cater to them and highlight any features of your business that might appeal to them, e.g. good car parking or free car parking. Glance Promotions reach individual (non-group) travellers whatever mode of transport they use … but those travelling by car value our brochure services most – because they can most easily reach all that they read about. See our ‘Daily Adventure’ research – which is a good indicator of our brochure reach and audience.
Look for your promotional advantages in the context of these new times: For instance, if your attraction is outdoor and has space, shout about it. Open space and fresh air will be more prized. If you are lucky enough to have open air space as part of your attraction, let the world know.
Save on marketing – fish where the fish are. A lot of marketing spend is wasted, often by businesses engaging in speculative marketing. Now is not the time to do so. Good anglers know to ‘fish where the fish are’ and for the next year the local and domestic market will be the best ‘fishing grounds’. This is where Glance Promotions can help you. We don’t communicate with visitors who are not travelling to Ireland. We only communicate with domestic and overseas visitors, already in Ireland, when they are looking at what to do next – to visit attractions, to take in a tour, to enjoy entertainment or dining out, or to participate in activities and great experiences. Talk to us!
Watch out for dodgy promotional opportunities. Unfortunately, there are likely to be ‘new’ promoters trying to capitalise on the vulnerability of businesses at this time by presenting opportunities to promote to visitors through both print publications and online channels. They are likely to be quoting low participation rates and claiming large audiences for your message. Here is our strong advice. If you don’t know the promotional company who has just ’emerged’ with a ‘great offer’, be extra cautious. If the offer sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is!
Beware ‘Digital only’ communication: Digital search tells people what they already know and are searching for, but it’s not great as a demand stimulant, i.e. presenting and informing people about the things they don’t already know. In contrast, brochures on display powerfully present visitors with surprises, and the possibilities for enjoyment available to them, typically nearby. That’s often your business! It’s why brochures are the number one influencer of the ‘visit and buy’ actions of visitors during their trip.
Visitor Brochures are Powerful. Research confirms that visitor brochures are the single most significant influencer of visitors during their trips around Ireland – whether these visitors are from Ireland or overseas. Brochures are in front of visitors precisely at the time they are considering what to do next. Check you the eight reasons brochures can work for you, and why brochures are superheroes.
Donations: If you have charitable status, encourage online donations. In these challenging times, every euro counts. My Top Tickets can set up your online donations free, with low commissions. They can also facilitate donations within the actual ticket booking journey.
‘Friends of’ your attraction/business. This idea won’t work for every business, but it will do for many. Consider setting up a ‘friends of’ scheme. It can be a way of supporting your business, and the supporters should get something in return. Perhaps it’s a multi-visit pass or discounts, or an invite to some special days. The packaging possibilities are endless. If you have an idea, talk to ‘My Top Tickets’ … they can help with creative online solutions.
Are there any physical products you can sell online? Glance Promotions can provide services to enable you to sell certain products online, and we can even offer fulfilment services from our warehouses. If you have an idea or a query, contact us.
Have a refunds policy: Many people will have been caught out on refunds during all the coronavirus-connected travel cancellations. Think about your refunds policy, as more will want to know about it if booking tickets online. Note too that many payment processing companies e.g. Paypal and Stripe are indicating that they will be retaining their transaction and fees in cancellations when ‘facilitating’ refunds.
Glance Promotions was set up in 1992 with the sole purpose of encouraging and ‘delivering’ visitors from within Ireland and overseas to great visitor experiences throughout the island of Ireland. Almost three decades later, our mission hasn’t changed… even if the business environment has because of the impact of the coronavirus. We’ve built a reputation as an industry leader in connecting visitors with experiences, delivering tangible business for our clients, year-round… and we’ll continue to do this through these changing times.
Feel free to contact us for advice on reaching visitors, and to learn how we can support you once travel resumes. Our main focus will be on in-destination marketing – influencing domestic and overseas visitors when they are looking for ideas on what they should see, do, and experience. Follow our blog too – we are going to stay BRIGHT for our clients through tougher times.
No one knows for certain when this coronavirus crisis will end or what the human and economic toll will be, but it is having a deep impact on all of us.
The tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors have taken the brunt of the economic impact. At Glance, we are committed to working with all our clients during these difficult times to help their businesses recover.
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