Selling to Tourists?

If you are like me, when you are on vacation you like to buy something that is special. There is something that is fun about finding that certain item and taking a little bit of vacation back home.

If you own a retail business, the mindset of the vacation shopper can be important to understand.

Many tourists are in town not to shop, but to see the sights.  It is common though to have some extra time.  “Down time”, where they are not on a tour, hiking, dining, or going to a show.  Instead of hanging out in their hotel room, they wander off into the nearby streets to look at the shops.

Shops that do well in tourist areas usually carry unique items.  They may be hand made in the local area, but not necessarily.  Most vacationers are looking for an item that they can not find at home.  If they could find it at home, they would just wait until they got there and then purchase it there.  Saves the packing and carrying.

Although the locals may look at your unique items for weeks or even years without buying, the tourist will tend to buy faster.  The local person figures that the item will still be there the next time they stop by.  The tourist knows that they will only be there a few days and that if they do not buy, they will not have another chance.

If you have your business in a tourist town, the location of the shop is important to look at. Are you near a hotel?  Is it easy to walk into your shop without having to find parking?  Are there other shops nearby, so that vacationers can have plenty of places to window shop, and then find that one unique thing they have to have?

What do you do if you are not in a popular tourist shopping area?  This is where your marketing gets creative.  You have to let the tourist know where you are and offer them some kind of incentive to come to your shop.  A discount coupon offered to hotel guests is powerful in having people seek you out.  It is also important to note that a physical card or flyer works better than the internet once the vacationer is at their destination.  It is right in front of them.  Searching on the internet will not have the same effect.

Just some things to think about for your retail shop.  Every market is different.  Every market requires a different approach.

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