It’s no secret, however, that when one wanders the streets of the enchanted city during the late summer months, finding a local Parisian might be a challenge. Famous for their extended holiday (what Americans typically refer to as a vacation) around August, the city’s locals seemingly conduct a mass exodus just as the bulk of summer tourists arrive. And while Paris carries the reputation, the city is by no means alone in the phenomenon. Many cities across the globe encounter similar efflux of local populations during peak tourist season.
Surely this exchange of locals for tourists affects the local economy. So, how can business owners ensure revenue doesn’t fall off a cliff while the city’s on holiday?
Customer Relationship Management For any business to succeed, customer relationship management (CRM) is becoming an increasingly necessary practice. While the advantages of well-deployed CRM for engaging regular customers is clear, most businesses aren’t properly utilizing it for seasonal sales. Instead of collecting tourist information to drive traffic with news and special offers as you would with your regular customers, leverage CRM to focus on the specific needs of your seasonal customers.
The cost of exceptional, memorable service is marginal compared to providing maximum convenience for the area’s tourists. Incorporating delivery to local resorts or hotels enables your seasonal customers to shop conveniently and helps reduce the headaches of lugging around purchases all day. The information collected can provide insight into which neighborhoods and hotels these customers are choosing to stay. This is a great way to better understand the reach of your business during tourist season and develop ways to attract more customers in targeted ways.
Inventory Management Inventory management is also a necessary practice to ensure that your store is properly prepared for out-of-towners. Don’t assume that your seasonal customers want the same things, in the same quantities as your regulars.
Remember how last August croissant sales skyrocketed and then dropped off precipitously? Turns out you didn’t get enough raw goods ordered to keep up with the increased demand, so you sold out really fast and then missed sales from not having enough. Recalling such events without the historical data can prove to be an inexact science, creating the same issue year after year. Instead of guessing, inventory management can help you gain clear insight into what’s selling and what’s not—keeping your business optimized for the season.
Own Your Digital Presence Obviously, pivoting towards marketing channels that cater to tourism is a necessary step. Advertising in a widely circulated tourist map may still be a credible means to influence your city’s new temporary population, but it’s vital to meet tourists where they are. Increasingly tourists are leveraging digital platforms to find their way around unfamiliar territory.
As a small business, verifying that your business is properly listed online and contains any pertinent information, such as address, hours, images, and offerings is essential to be noticed. Also taking time to review what’s being said about you is invaluable. If your establishment receives negative feedback, don’t get defensive! Tourists may come to expect a different level of service than your regulars. Catering to those expectations—as it makes sense for your business—will be an important part of building a positive reputation with tourists.
For many businesses, tourist season is a prime opportunity to develop new relationships with customers that are excited to share great experiences with their friends and family. By executing a few best practices, you can really make the difference between softer sales and being the talk of the town—wherever that town may be.
Contributed by Jonathon Wilson, Revel Systems Customer Happiness Specialist