Five Tips for Creating Customer Advocates for your Tourist Attraction
April 13th, 2018 by
When your past customers talk to their friends and family about their vacation, are they likely to recommend your business? Word of mouth is critical for sustainable, long-term business growth, and social media has multiplied the number of connections between people sharing travel advice and reviews. In fact, a recent study from Nielsen found that 92 percent of consumers say they trust brand advocates, including recommendations from friends and family. Here are just a few of the ways to encourage customers to help promote your tourist attraction.
1. Attach Your Brand to a Real Person
People naturally connect better with human beings, and it’s even better if customers interact with the same face repeatedly. Do you have a secretary or hostess who can orient new customers to your services and their options? Family-run and personality-driven businesses have an easier time identifying their brand with friendly owners and managers, but any business can make itself more relatable by avoiding shortcuts that result in impersonal service.
Whenever possible, avoid using automated responses and impersonal emails. Over the phone, your business should be represented by a friendly voice. When electronic communication is necessary, try to use the same staff member so that customers have a chance to develop a rapport. By creating that dialogue, you’ll appeal to your audience’s emotional side, which neuroscientific research has linked directly to decision making in the brain. This genuine and friendly first impression is the first step toward creating a lasting customer who can, in turn, become an advocate for your brand among their peers.
2. Create Photo-Ready Shareable Experiences
If you know you’re creating a remarkable in-person experience for your guests, be sure you make it easy for them to translate that into photos, videos, and content online through their social channels. Tour guides and attraction managers know the best locations for group photos, and you can remind parties and couples of the optimal times to take out their cameras. Introverts may be reluctant to ask for someone else to take pictures, but waitresses and tour guides can start the conversation by suggesting a photo op. All of your customers’ friends will be curious to see where the picture was taken.
Whether it’s a funky statue that’s perfect for a photo op or a contest through your social media platform to get guests to share their best photos in exchange for a gift certificate or branded swag, make sharing fun and interactive. You can even offer free Wi-Fi at your location and post signage with your branded hashtag or social media handles to make it as easy as possible for your guests to share right away and include you in their posts.
3. Claim Your Online Presence & Stay in Touch Through Social Media
Speaking of social, don’t forget to continue to foster that relationship with your guests online, even long after they’ve left. One of the most important steps of building customer advocacy is claiming your online presence. Brand your social media platforms with your company logo and beautiful photos of your attraction so that guests will know right away that you’re legitimate. Rather than just trying to promote your business on social media, be sure you also provide helpful information, fun events in the community, and posts that showcase your brand “personality.” When your fans find your posts helpful and relevant, they’re much more likely to share them with their fanbase.
In addition to the usual social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you need to claim your Google My Business page. Since the Google ratings and reviews appear alongside search results, it’s important that your listing is accurate, detailed, and looks professional. This includes checking your hours of operation and adding photos of your attraction so that guests know they’re looking at the right listing.
4. Collect Emails By Offering Promotions
Every business is offering membership discounts and promotions these days, and an email signup is an easier alternative to the sometimes cumbersome memberships. When advertising on social media and your website, encourage customers to sign up for future promotions. Potential customers who are still planning their vacation will be interested to see whether special discounts or offers coincide with the time of their planned visit. In the meantime, your well-crafted emails will make sure your attraction isn’t forgotten as they get closer to finalizing plans.
At the end of their visit, satisfied customers will be interested to see if you offer promotions they can share with friends. By giving email subscribers advanced notice about special events, you make them feel like they have inside information. When they feel like they have a special connection with your business, customers are more likely to advocate for your business. When their friends are visiting the same destination, they’re even more likely to recommend your business because you’ve continued to make a positive impression.
5. Ask Nicely
Just like Google My Business, it’s important to keep track of reviews on all social platforms. Depending on your industry, Yelp or TripAdvisor or another website may be more relevant. Many business owners forget to ask customers for reviews. Unfortunately, the customers who are self-motivated to write reviews are often the ones looking to vent about a negative experience. Happy and satisfied customers rarely feel the need to go through the necessary steps to write a review, but they’re more likely to take the time if someone at your company makes it clear how much their time would be appreciated.
Whether you’re running a Ferris wheel or a hole-in-the-wall gourmet donut shop, you need customers to spread the word and advocate for your business. Once you’re confident in the quality of your services and products, it becomes a matter of encouraging customers to share their excitement online. The good news is that most of the things that help build advocacy also improve your connection with customers. When you leverage that connection to further improve your business, you can join in the success of tourist attractions that are winning on social media.
Need help getting started? Learn more about our consulting services to help build a solid reputation for your attraction.