Monday’s eclipse is turning hundreds of small towns across the US into tourist destinations. Get your business eclipse ready to capitalize on all this new traffic! With a path of totality that’s ~70 miles wide, it’s estimated that millions of Americans will be taking to the road to see this rare, natural phenomenon.
With the anticipated boom in travel, transit authorities across the country are recommending that people arrive to their intended viewing destination 1-2 days in advance. With this influx in visitors, how can your business shine and not get eclipsed by the competition?
Get On Theme
“Get your moon pies and your sun tea!” — Special events and festivals are a great opportunity to get creative. Add some on-theme specials to the menu or unique merchandise to your assortment. Go for things that are unique and that will get people excited.
Looking for inspiration? Ask your staff! Make it a contest and implement the best ideas. Maybe you can even give the winner Monday off so they can go and see the eclipse themselves.
Offer A Freebie
A freebie/giveaway is a great way to get people to walk through the door. The tricky thing is to make sure it’s something your audience will want. With the event less than a week away, custom merch will be out of reach for most businesses. See what you have around. You can also work with another local business, such as a bakery, to give away free treats in exchange for a referral.
Whatever you do, be sure to set it up as a check-in offer on Yelp. Since most tourists will be on their phones looking for a business like yours, it’s a great way to make sure your offer grabs their attention.
Connect With Other Businesses
See what other businesses in your area are doing. Maybe they’ve organized some sort of marketing campaign that you could be a part of. This is also a great time to start networking and building a relationship with local hotels. You can even reach out to your friends who list their homes on Airbnb and similar sites and offer them special discounts and offers for their guests.
It’s also great to see if there are any local festivals you can participate in. Often times there will be local food and goods vendors selling their wares. If you choose to join the fun, be sure you bring a portable credit card reader and have a tool that lets you take credit cards on your phone!
Create To-Go Options
If you own a brick and mortar business, chances are customers are not going to be inside when the eclipse begins. With projections estimating that many highways will be parking lots come the eclipse, be sure you think about creating to-go options for visitors to grab and go. You want them to be able to enjoy your goods while they are waiting in that bumper-to-bumper traffic or sitting in a local park sky-gazing.
Specials events are notoriously difficult to project demand for — especially if you haven’t participated before or it’s the first time. However, that doesn’t make it a best practice to gouge tourists and locals alike. For special items and merch that you’re bringing in for the event, it’s appropriate to factor in potential losses on unsold goods to your pricing. For your everyday items, keep the pricing the same. Ninety-one percent of consumers search online before choosing a local business. They’ll be able to see your menu or past reviews mentioning pricing. Make sure you’re meeting expectations.
With so many consumers coming from out of town, be sure to put your business online. That’s where they’ll be looking. In addition to checking for hashtags and tagged posts, update your Yelp listing with all the great things you’re doing just for the eclipse. Make sure you’ve updated your photos, set up a check-in offer and updated your specialties with all the eclipse-related greatness!
With these tips your business is sure to shine brightly on Yelp (not so brightly that people can’t look at it though).
Planning a trip to a town in the path of totality? Check out Yelp’s guide to enjoying the perfect eclipse weekend.
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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.