Nine ingenious solutions to cost-effectively increasing your visitor footfall
The battle against the pandemic is hopefully coming to an end – meaning business as usual at last for your tour or attraction. People are looking for some fun, a change of scene and adventures – which is great for your business. But you’re going to need to raise awareness right now as many other entertainment businesses are vying for those same visitor pounds, euros or dollars.
Get a head start on the competition by building a buzz. You could use traditional means: TV or radio adverts and paid-for adverts and advertorial in newspapers and magazines. However, it is costly and less credible to today’s more cynical customers. You could invest in some eye-catching PR – but at a throat-catching cost.
When it comes to the pandemic, we really were all in it together. And so too with the recovery. You don’t need unlimited media budgets or pricey PR teams. With a little creativity, you can strategically partner up with a vast range of organisations and individuals to reach a wider audience and substantially raise awareness of your attraction or tour. In this week’s blog, we suggest some surprisingly effective promotional partnering techniques that will boost your tour or attractions business in the post-pandemic landscape.
However you decide to spread awareness, ensure potential visitors can convert it into ticket purchases as directly as possible. If you aren’t a current customer, find out how our versatile booking platform provides the perfect solutions for this.
Tour and attractions businesses can gain wider exposure and build a positive reputation through thoughtful partnering with a charitable organisation or cause. Charities have seen their income plummet during the pandemic so consider a local charity your business can partner with. This can take many forms. One popular initiative is to facilitate fund-raising events for the charity. For example, a leading English attraction recently opened its grounds for a socially-distanced sponsored walk for its charity partner. The attraction used the occasion to announce its extended support for that charity through 2021. Both initiatives gained significant press attention and the walk provided the attraction with massive footfall on the day – and beyond.
Other tourist attractions got extensive publicity and increased awareness through providing help and support to a wide range of community groups during the Coronavirus crisis:
- Donating chocolate Easter eggs from stock due for visitors to local food banks.
- Donating bottled mineral water from stock to healthcare workers in intensive care units.
- Loaning transport to organisations delivering food parcels to vulnerable people in self-isolation.
If you have a chosen charity partner, our ticketing platform gives you the option to create a donate function within the checkout flow. Just another thoughtful added-value function to help your businesses thrive. See how Boson Duck Tours have implemented this to support their philanthropic efforts.
Make an occasion out of it
An exciting way to create a buzz and educate customers about your attraction or tour is being part of a local event or celebration. If no events exist, then why not use the reopening of your local area to create one – ideally in collaboration with other businesses. By pooling your audiences, as well as your creative and financial resources, you will greatly increase the scope of the footfall, support and coverage the event will receive. Attract local customers by engaging with the local press, cultural bodies and businesses groups. Creating local buzz will inspire photo opportunities and a great story that may appeal to wider media outlets, reaching a wider audience. And don’t forget to reach out to influencers.
If a wholescale neighbourhood event is beyond your scope then maybe focus instead on community-engaging events like a time capsule, competitions for children, workshops, or activity trails to name a few. Alternatively, reach out to families of keyworkers, offering dedicated events or significant discounts during 2021.
Harness your greatest ambassadors
Encouraging customers to share their photos and videos is a cost-effective and powerful awareness-raising tool. Keeping our communities safe has meant most of us have been living in lockdown for weeks, if not months. We now want an experience, so use previous and current customers to show potential visitors what they can look forward to. Stimulate user-generated content on your own channels and encourage customers to share widely on their own social media feeds and on entertainment and travel sites.
Make friends and influence … influencers
The power of the influencer has increased, partly due to increased cynicism of direct advertising. Through established followings on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or their own blog, influencers are more trusted by followers than organisations’ own advertising. If you partner with a reputable influencer this can open up niche audiences – across myriad platforms – who are more likely to be receptive.
But don’t neglect your own social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition to endless content opportunities (simple promotional posts, images and video content, competitions and even viral content or memes), most social media platforms offer paid opportunities including advertisements or sponsored posts. Use these to boost the visibility of your attraction or tour with specific demographics. Social media lets you monitor attitudes toward your company – helping you fine-tune your visitor awareness-raising strategy.
Piggybacking on visitor-focused features
As lockdown restrictions ease, potential visitors are already planning how to enjoy their freedom. There will be plenty of copy and content generated to help them: which is an opportunity for you… Content writers and journalists love helpful content-filling suggestions. Be aware of upcoming features and let the editors and writers know you are only too happy to provide copy. Have images, relevant website links and snappy quotable comments ready too!
If you are not sure who to speak to, do a little local media research to find out who the travel writers are. Follow them on twitter – and go one better by engaging, introducing yourself with a message. Don’t assume they will come and find you or know that your business exists.
Power up your workers!
Your employees are often your greatest untapped resource when it comes to raising awareness of potential visitors and educating them about your business. Keep them informed about important business changes, new aspects of the attraction, new tour routes or features. Let them know of any relevant changes through newsletters or an employee page on your website and help them understand how to publicise them on their social media platforms.
The magnificent seven … ways of collaborating – to increase visitor awareness
Collaborating with businesses in the same location and/or in the same sector – pooling and sharing know-how, audiences and resources – is a great way of raising mutual profile and collectively attracting footfall:
- Establish a content partnership, developing awareness-raising content (anything from blogs, articles or newsletters, videos or podcasts). Alternatively, establish links between your and your partners’ web content.
- Pool awareness-raising online, offline and mobile distribution channels, physically placing your brand in front of your partner’s target audience through leaflets, coupons, magazine coupons, email vouchers, mobile coupons and QR codes.
- Consider pooling your tours or attractions to create a whole new experience providing additional value to your shared target audiences.
- Partner across borders: if you are a London tour operator wanting to attract visitors from New York, consider partnering with a New York tour operator looking to attract tourists from London.
- Offer partnering businesses’ customers or loyalty schemes members discounts, exclusive offers or seasonal promotions.
- Have a promotional stand in your partner’s location or have a dedicated tab or page for partner brands on your website. (And vice versa).
- Affiliation: websites promote you in return for a monetary reward, such as commission. A good example is the voucher site Groupon. Payment options range from a charge per click to a fixed fee to a share of revenue generated. This highly-measurable option makes it easy for you to assess return on investment (ROI).
If you have a medium-sized budget, consider celebrity endorsements from appropriate brand ambassadors. In addition to media coverage, you can probably count on paparazzi photos and wider social media coverage. Smaller brands and businesses securing celebrity endorsements notice soars in sales and overnight recognition. It might eat a chunk of your budget but the right celeb raising awareness of your attraction right now could be all you need to boost your business this season.
Major sporting events are for the global mega-brands. Take a look instead at local opportunities: charity events, farmers’ markets, school or community events – all highly effective for local exposure.
However you decide to spread awareness to potential visitors, you will need to convert that interest into ticket sales as seamlessly and quickly as possible. Find out right now how our versatile booking platform provides you with the perfect solution.
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