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OWENS: We're all marketers, so do your part

From the outside looking in, we have a lot of amazing marketers sending guests our way.

Our destination management organization, Visit Savannah markets us to the world. And, they’re really good at it, ranking higher in social media than the entire United Kingdom. This week, we had a representative from Booking.com speak to the tourism community. She shared how that global company is building a landing page on their website that helps attract people. These are just a few of the many marketers pointing people to Savannah.

 

Location

For some businesses, you will rely on location to sell your product, and this works well for the traveler who just happens in your store looking for something to take home from their vacation. But, don’t rely solely on location.

Simply putting up a sign out front to draw the passerby into your business will only get you so far. If another attraction draws their attention away, or if your competition sets up shop nearby, then you’ll have to work harder to garner the customer’s business.

If your business is outside of high foot or car traffic, then you’re “off the beaten path.” This presents a unique opportunity. We know that more and more visitors are looking for an authentic experience, or an experience that resembles what we the locals do for fun. Those things are usually off the beaten path because the locals know where to go. However, if you are outside high traffic zones that is all the more reason why you will need to be clever about marketing and targeting a specific audience.

 

Reputation

One of the ways to market your business, is to mind your online reputation in the form of online reviews. Those who are looking for something to do, make purchasing choices based on what other consumers are saying.

If you are not already, monitor what people are saying about you. Respond quickly and thoughtfully—whether you’re thanking them for coming to your business or answering where your service fell short. Focus on service recovery in these online platforms so that you can not only retain that customer, but you can publicly embrace your customer service philosophy.

 

Partnership

We live in a city where the best way to get things done is through partnerships.

If you’re off the beaten path, partner with a transportation company to get the guest to your front door. Work with your neighbor to send customers your way to see something unique. Form a coalition with your neighbors and partners and go in together on advertising. You can stretch that marketing dollar out.

Think about who you want your customers to be and then target your partnerships with those who work with a similar client. For example, if you’re a children’s boutique, partner with the attractions that are catered to children. Or, if you’re a new attraction, find a way to get on local maps that concierge use so that the guests can find you.

You can partner with us at the Tourism Leadership Council, we have the Coastal Concierge Association and host monthly mixers for area concierge. It’s a great way to show off your business to the people who are recommending things to do for the guest.

 

Passion

We are also a city that does business with people you know. If you’re not already attending networking functions, you need to reach out to others and share the passion that got you started with your business in the first place.

People love passionate people, and at every function that you attend, you can share that passion. I’ve gone to a business before because someone was so passionate about their offerings, I had to check it out.

Choose networking functions wisely. You don’t want to spend the time and money to attend a function that does not lead to new business connection.

 

Keep it fresh

This is a good reminder for all of us to periodically look around and see what we’re offering to the customer. Is it old? Is someone doing a better job at it?

Look at your offerings and see if you need to freshen up what you have. If you’re a restaurant, do you need some different specials? If you’re retail, do you need to change the way in which you display your goods? If you’re a museum, do you need to rotate artifacts? Think through the customer experience from the customer’s point of view, maybe you need to freshen up the way the customer sees you.

We’re blessed to live in a place that visitors want to see and spend their money experiencing. We have great global marketing partners, but it’s up to you to get the customer to your door.

Michael Owens is president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council, the largest non-profit trade organization that supports and represents the tourism community. Contact Owens at michael@tourismleadershipcouncil.com or by calling 912-232-1223.

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In Case You Missed It