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Building on Sales from Vacation Travel

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With summer in full swing and vacationers flying and driving to their destinations, the last thing on most travelers’ minds is going great distances to find a favorite brand. A study done by location marketing automation provider Placeable shows that proximity is the most important factor in a traveler’s buying preference. And mobile devices are the most-used for searching out retailers for their needs.

76% of travelers report that they search for local retailers rather than a national retailer and 89% look for local restaurants rather than a national one while they are away from home. Fifty-four percent postpone researching restaurants until they are already on vacation.

Ari Kaufman, CEO of Placeable, says, “Accurate location data and optimized websites are paramount. Enterprise advertisers must leverage web and mobile locators with local landing pages to capture vacationers that are searching for the closest business.”

One survey from the Travel Industry Association of America found more than half of vacationers rated shopping as the first or second reason they made at least one leisure trip a year. Apparel/shoes is number one on the list (77%), followed by souvenirs (49%), books and music (42%), then jewelry (36%). Men spend $349 a trip vs. women, who spend $319.

A survey conducted by Orbitz found that over half who travel for vacation do their holiday shopping at that time. When planning a trip, 73% of leisure travelers consider shopping as important as or more important than nightlife.

It’s not only tourists who can impact retail sales. Depending on where your store is, an influx of business travelers coming for meetings or conventions can influence a store’s bottom line.

Mignon Faget, a specialty jewelry store in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA, has a large percentage of out-of-state customers. Since many visitors are not familiar with the brand, Amina Dearmon, VP of Sales and Marketing for Mignon Faget, thinks the challenge is getting the word out and educating visitors about what the brand represents, in a limited amount of time. “You really have to work harder at building that relationship and following up—because they are not just going to be walking by.”

By using billboards, signage on street cars, advertising in publications sent to hotels, and working with concierges, who provide referrals, Mignon Faget is doing a brisk business year-round … and has gained a great reputation in the process, making them a memorable retail destination.

Among things to consider when dealing with both tourists and local patrons, are:

* Location: If you’re lucky enough to own more than one store in a vacation spot, your primary store might cater to your local customers while your second site should be near hotels or hot spots, for easy access to attract passers-by.

* Eye-catching window displays: Videos, color, interactive displays attract attention and beckon visitors.

* Think local: Having locally made items or themes is unique. It’s what vacationers look for to capture the essence of their holiday, whether it’s a handmade scrimshaw purse from Cape Cod, or gold nugget jewelry from a store in Juneau, Alaska.

* Be unique in your offerings: Vacationers gravitate toward the unusual item they can’t find anywhere else, like a stained glass portrait of their favorite pet, from a shop in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

* No high-pressure selling: Create a relaxed atmosphere, where people can stroll around and look at their leisure, and encourage the “experience.” People on vacation have time to look and shop and it becomes a form of entertainment for them.

* Anticipate their arrival by being aware of cruise stop-offs, and tie-in local events, which attract visitors, and create promotions around them.

* Build relationships and keep in touch through social media, mobile messaging or postcards. Vacationing patrons will not forget these impressions.

Even national chains should leverage their knowledge of customers’ needs and combine that with location-based services so they can continue to deliver relevant information while their loyal customers are on vacation.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, management,
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