Two-In-One: Building Repeat Business
What is the key to having a thriving visitor destination? Years of working to attract tourists has taught Tennessean Terri Merryman one vital fact: repeat visitors are the key to a thriving destination. “Find those visitors who are going to want to come back,” said Merryman, a Tennessee-based tourism consultant. “That’s where you generate more revenue.” Although tourism promoters can’t ignore bringing in new guests, a careful balance is required not to over-invest in hard-to-reach new customers.
Are repeat customers “the holy grail” for tourist destinations?
Yes, for three major reasons:
AFFORDABILITY – A repeat visitor has already overcome the most expensive marketing barrier: deciding to visit for the first time. After that, a marketer only has to remind the tourist of the good time they already had, which involves a much lower promotional expenditure.
RELIABILITY – First-time visitors spend a bit more money, but repeat visitors have the advantage of coming back again and again — which adds up to considerably more revenue over time.
REFERRALS – Aside from their own spending, repeat visitors are often outspoken promoters for their favorite destinations on social media. “The person who tends to visit your destination and has this fabulous experience — they’ll go online and tell people about it,” said Merryman. Preventing unrealistic expectations among newcomers is important because Yelp® reviews left by disappointed newcomers last forever.
Increase repeat business
From the time they arrive, get your new visitors thinking realistically about all of their options—not just the headline attractions. Gently remind them that there is always more to see, making a return visit more enticing. Tell every guest about every available opportunity to relax and socialize. Visitors who explore and enjoy local restaurants, bars, stores, and resorts are crucial to a vital tourist economy.
All repeat visitors were originally first-timers
What are the precise statistics regarding first-time vs repeat visitors? Answers vary from destination to destination. But amidst the data, some patterns emerge. Repeat visitors favor different activities than first-timers. Newcomers tend to be interested in iconic attractions and events. Since the most famous draws to an area can only be visited so many times, repeat visitors are more centered on relaxation and seek a more diversified list of local activities.
The key to destination marketing is working just as hard to keep customers as you do to win new ones. Offer engaging visitor information using the most engaging methods that the internet and print media can provide. A custom RoundHere Guide is exactly this type of engaging and versatile marketing tool—one that appeals equally to new and returning visitors.