According to a recent study by Travelodge, 7 out of 10 (69%) Brits plan on holidaying at home this summer, compared to 57% in 2018. This year alone, it’s thought these ‘staycationers’ will boost the UK economy by £40 billion. So, if you’re a local business, how do you get in on the action?
1. Decorate your online shop window
Gone are the days where people sit with a travel agent to choose their holiday; most people do their research online. Therefore it’s important your website looks the part. Make sure it’s easy to use, includes up-to-date information and good quality images and videos to show your business off. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: what would you want to know before purchasing, booking or visiting you? Try to answer these questions on your website.
As a website acts as a shop window for many businesses, it’s also important it can be found by potential customers while they’re searching online. That’s where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in. SEO helps to make your website more visible to people looking for you, helping to drive visitors to your website.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out this article for some hints and tips.
2. Use the aspirational power of social media channels
According to Facebook, 68% of millennials came across ideas for a trip away on Facebook.
Social media is a cost-effective and targeted way of engaging with potential customers. But before you sign up to every platform, think about where your audience might be; you might not necessarily need a presence on all social media sites.
Make sure you’re posting interesting, creative and visually appealing content that your audience will want to engage with. Tailor the content to each platform, and monitor the performance of your posts.
Remember to be sociable! Social media is best used to communicate, so try to encourage your customers to share their experiences on social too. If you own a holiday cottage with stunning views, then encourage holiday makers to share their Instagram-worthy snaps, tagging you in the process. Perhaps you could turn this into a competition?
Finally, think about setting a bit of budget aside for boosting your social posts and for social advertising. Consider the location of your potential audience and plan your boosting around that. I.e. if you’re aiming at staycationers, then cast your net further afield and don’t target those living close by.
3. Cast a wider net with marketing partnerships
Consider extending your reach by partnering with sites such as Groupon or Vouchercloud. Using sites like these could expose your business to more ready-to-buy customers with many on the hunt for local discounts ahead of their holiday. These sites are a great way of appealing to holiday makers; just make sure you set appropriate limits on the number of available vouchers, including restrictions to control how people can use their deals (this is especially important for small businesses). Make sure you’re signed up to sites such as Booking.com and Last Minute.com, too.
You could also partner with other local businesses to promote hotspots or activities in your local area. This is a great way to promote not just your business, but it also helps to generate interest in the community as a whole, giving travellers even more reason to come and visit you.
4. Maintain a sparkling review record
Customer reviews have become the modern-day word of mouth, and recommendations are an important factor when considering who to book with.
It’s imperative that you include recent customer reviews on your website and encourage visitors to share their experience on sites such as Trip Advisor. Don’t overthink it – simply ask! Try dropping your recent customers an email telling them how much you value their feedback and ask them to review your business. Additionally, make sure you give them a reason to leave a glowing review. Customers want to feel valued, so think about any little touches you can add to their experience that will make their visit even better. The smallest of treats can make the biggest difference.
While you’re bound to receive some negative reviews (even if you’ve done everything to mitigate this), it’s important to handle these appropriately. For example, by apologising and offering to take the conversation offline, you can defuse the situation and show other holiday makers that you take these reviews seriously.
5. Make sure staycationers can find you
Don’t forget the basics; traditional marketing remains important and local businesses should ensure they have flyers at local tourism offices, are listed in directories, and have up to date information on Google (and you can register with Google and Apple Maps so that staycationers can navigate straight to you).
You could also consider running competitions to engage with your audience in a fun way. These can be promoted on your social channels, website or by partnering with a travel blogger for example.
Whether it’s day trippers, weekend sight-seers or week-long holiday makers, the opportunity is huge, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. So, make sure you’re making the most of this summer’s holiday makers by getting your business in front of the right people.