Work and Play: 5 Ways to Attract the Business Tourist
Tourists no longer look like they use to. Gone are the days of families of five exploring a city together with a camera around their neck – choosing between fast food establishments. Nowadays many tourists aren’t actually on vacation – or if they are it’s a working vacation. Are you capitalizing on the travel bloggers, food bloggers, mom bloggers or busy executives that could be working and dining from your establishment?
Blogging has become a phenomenon of sorts with creative turning what they are passionate about into a career of sorts. Travel and food bloggers offer write ups of the establishments they frequented on a trip to huge followings. Mom bloggers might offer insight on where to have a date with the hubby or how family friendly the location is. Busy executives might need to break away from the family for a few hours in order to answer some emails or conduct a conference call. None of these folks want to schlep back to their hotel room in the middle of the day in order to take care of business. They want to be able to find a spot along their rout that fits their needs. The question is – how will you stand out among the crowd?
1) Offer WiFi
It seems like common sense but these diners need a reliable internet connection and ideally a place they can plug in to work. Do you have a few booths that are tucked away in a quieter location which have access to a power outlet? Offer those to diners you see carrying a laptop bag or tablet. Have servers mention the free Wifi to them.
2) Put the Word Out
Mention your work friendly environment anywhere you can – Trip Advisor, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Cross advertise with hotels, B&B’s, museums and other local tourism spots. If they are frequent visitors to your town consider offering a referral program where they can earn points towards free appetizers or drinks by sending others in.
3) Get Listed
Consider getting listed with a service like OOOT – Out of Office Thinker. OOOT connects restaurants that have tables available with diners looking for a place to work. OOOTers are able to reserve a table for a given time frame and are even sent a reminder to their phone when their reserved time is ending. It’s a win win for both sides. You fill a table, they get their work done and hopefully leave a great review for your location on the app! Positive reviews are a gold mine when it comes to attracting customers.
4) Seek Out Reviews
Rather than just hoping bloggers or reporters will swing by your establishment and review you – be proactive and invite them to come dine with you. Offer to comp their meal in exchange for a review. Choose bloggers/reporters with a following that compliments your target customer – family dining, sports, business, upscale, etc. These writers have a captive audience that trusts their opinion – you gain instant credibility from their review.
5) Get Visible
Does your town have a festival that attracts tourists? A Taste of the City event? A convention center that stays busy? Summer concert series? Find out what events are drawing tourists in. Get visible by having a presence at these events – that might mean having booth where you are selling the dishes you’re well known for or handing out samples along with a brochure to attendees. If you’re listed with a service like OOOT you can even include a QR code to download the app and make a reservation. The more people that see your name, the more people will think of you when they are out and about and looking for a meal.
Tourists and their needs have changed the face of dining. Having great food is no longer enough. The service – going beyond the wait staff and kitchen help – is what will keep tourists coming in. They want the connectivity that will allow them to check emails, post pictures or write a review on the spot while sampling local fare. Be ahead of the curve by embracing these socially connected diners that have the potential to increase your traffic and make you a destination that is sought out by travelers near and far.