When visiting an amusement park, zoo, water park, museum or any other tourist hot spot, most of us are worried about the same thing, how can we plan our trip to avoid the crowds? But, if you’re a marketer for a local attraction, you’re concerned about the opposite, always thinking, how can I get more people through the door? Entice new people to visit? Keep loyal customers returning, attendance rates up, day after day, month after month, year after year? Drawing crowds rather than avoiding them is a more difficult challenge. Here are 4 digital strategies you need in your next tourism marketing campaign to drive steady foot traffic to your local attraction:

Use Mobile Marketing to Reach Tourists and Local Consumers

“Over 70% of U.S. travelers agree that they “always” use their smartphones when traveling, up from 41% in 2015. Travelers most frequently use their mobile devices to research activities or attractions, to locate shopping areas and restaurants, or to look up directions,” said this 2018 Google study.

With so many travelers using their smartphones for every need while on the go, try these mobile marketing techniques to advertise your local attraction:

  • Mobile Geofencing: Put customized mobile ads on consumers’ mobile devices near your locale. With geofencing, you can target any area to capture potential visitors by GPS coordinates, zip codes, cities, counties, or even entire DMAs. When consumers see your ad pop up on mobile sites or in an app on their phone, they will be close enough to truly consider purchasing admission and coming for a visit.
  • Mobile Conquesting: Reach tourists or local consumers when they are in or around other popular or competing destinations in your area. This type of mobile ad builds brand awareness and entices consumers to visit, especially if they still have the energy to keep exploring beyond their current location.
  • Mobile Retargeting: For those consumers who have researched your destination online or visited before, you can use retargeting ads to encourage them to engage with you again, either online or in person. Keep the conversation going with these consumers based on their personal preferences and past behavior. Add customized offers to your ads to highlight special promotions or discounts geared specifically to these visitors to keep them coming back for more.

Expand Your Targeting to Include the Whole Family

When it comes to visiting a local attraction, it’s tough to know who is pushing for it and who will ultimately make the decision. Will parents have the final say or the kids? That’s why it’s important to target all potential decision-makers in the family.

Reaching parents is the easy part. Find them online using behavioral targeting segments or on parenting websites. Reaching kids is harder. Due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules, which prevent most forms of data collection on children younger than 13, you must be careful how you advertise to minors. Consider advertising to kids and teens on children’s TV websites, YouTube channels, free music platforms, or on popular social networks.

Also, try household extension targeting to serve all devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones) in the same household the same ad. Doing this reinforces your brand and messaging with the whole family.

Use Search Campaigns to Find Your Ideal Customers

According to Sojern Global Travel Insights in 2018, “72% of all mobile bookings made by U.S. travelers happened within a 48-hour window prior to the booking. Travelers want more flexibility, which mobile devices have delivered leading to a greater propensity to book last-minute.”

When consumers are thinking about what to do and where to go at the last minute, showcase your local attraction by serving digital ads in their search results. You can even advertise when customers are actively searching for similar activities online.

In your advertising and on your website, be sure to answer consumers’ top questions and try to anticipate what they want to know. Give consumers all the details to push them to make the journey, by featuring your visiting hours and driving directions, your ticket prices and available coupon codes.

To interest those consumers who are fence-sitters, drive awareness and online purchases with countdown ads targeted to those in-market searchers. For instance, show how many days are left before an exhibit closes or how much time is left before a special offer expires. You can even set automatic advertising updates based on the day or time. Countdown ads are a great way to dial up a sense of urgency and get those indecisive consumers to finally pull the trigger and make a purchase.

Make Your First-Party Data Work for You

You may not realize it, but you already have a rich resource to tap to make your digital marketing more successful: your own prospect and visitor data.

Use this first-party data to segment interested prospects and past visitors in myriad ways based on their individual motivations, interests and intentions. Create custom messaging and offers for each segment – each group — in your list that will most appeal to them and draw them in.

For instance, do you want to upsell current pass holders or members? Add exclusive new benefits to a premier sales package to convince certain customers to claim VIP status. Or, drive repeat business by targeting those on your list who have visited during the past year with a “Welcome back! We’ve missed you!” message and tell them what’s new.

To keep building your first-party data and further connect with your prospects, customers and super fans, create interactive experiences by offering special coupons or promotions, challenges, instant wins, giveaways, polls, quizzes, exclusive content, and more.

In 2019, travel marketers worldwide plan to increase their digital advertising spend on attractions 71% per eMarketer:

2019 Tourism eMarketer Chart

If you’re a travel marketer wanting to make the most of your digital ad spend, Control v Exposed (CvE) has the global expertise and skill you need to use these tourism marketing digital strategies and more to your advantage.

Before you start stewing about how to go about targeting both tourists and residents, before you worry about how to advertise to drive more visits to your attraction or how to prove your digital marketing is working – your ad views are truly converting to actual visits – connect with us first. We are ready to show you precisely how to take action with the right ad tech solutions to drive foot traffic and get you the tangible business results you desire.