The summer tourism season has just begun. Is your restaurant on the outskirts of a booming beach town or at the bottom of a popular mountain trail? People are gathering their hiking equipment and beach gear to head out on their vacation getaways. Many are most likely first-timers, unfamiliar with the area but excited about an adventure. Don’t you want to bring these new potential customers through your doors? Of course! And we want to help you do that. In this blog, we’ll explore 5 ways you can prep your restaurant for tourism season.
Be Discoverable by Diners
We’re talking about tourism season here. Summer fun! Most people are new to the area and are looking for places to eat on the go. When they’re driving down that highway parallel to your restaurant, you want them to know you exist and that you’re right around the corner! Make sure your business information (everything from your name to your address, phone number, and hours of operation) is correctly posted online. You should already have that information posted accurately and prominently on your website. But, these tourists probably don’t know your website exists. That’s why it’s essential to distribute this information across the places where people are searching for new places to eat. Travelers are performing Google searches, looking at restaurants on Yelp, and taking advice from diners on TripAdvisor. You want your restaurant to be visible on all the sites people are doing research on. This will increase your discoverability and the chance that they’ll stop by for a meal during their travels.
Entice Hungry Travelers with Your Menu Offerings
Before the vacationers come to dine with you, they’re going to find out what’s on the menu. Being discoverable online is crucial if you’re going to catch those newbies who are scoping out the area for the first time. What does this mean? Well, since 93% of people are looking at online menus before choosing where to eat out, you should have yours posted online! Make sure your website menu is up to date with current items, specials, and prices. People, especially new customers, don’t want to be disappointed when your in-store menu doesn’t reflect the one they saw online (I can attest to that from personal experience!) Take it a step further than just having your menu on your business’ site. As we mentioned before, travelers are searching for menu and business information on travel/review sites and search engines. Your menu should be there along with the business information that matters (like name, address, and phone number!)
Keep Tabs on Your Online Reviews
A vacation is an escape from reality, an opportunity to relax and explore, and a reason to choose a really awesome place to visit. Of course, people are going to do their due diligence before picking a destination. They’ll check online reviews for hotels, excursions, and restaurants while researching their options. Your online reputation weighs heavily on your reviews. Of course, that’s not to say that you’ll receive five, shiny stars each time. Negative reviews are bound to happen, but how you handle them is what really matters. Make sure that you’re engaging with your reviewers consistently, whether the feedback is good or bad. Opening a dialogue, addressing issues, and thanking happy patrons shows that you have credibility and that you truly care. Being interactive goes a long way in a world where people form opinions about your business before ever dining there.
Create a Memorable Experience
$129 billion is spent on activities while traveling - Phocuswright
Being located in a tourist area gives you a unique advantage; you’re giving travelers the experience they’re seeking on vacation - so make it a memorable one! Vacationers choose places to visit because they want to be immersed in the culture, surroundings, and activities. Food plays a huge part in that. These travelers are eating most meals at restaurants, as they don’t have the same ability to cook like they do at home. Dining out gives them the opportunity to experience local flavors and flair. Show them what makes your restaurant unique by making their trip to your location unforgettable.
Make sure the atmosphere and ambiance reflect your restaurant’s style, but also the location you’re in. A Santa Monica seafood restaurant can encompass the laid-back California vibe; an eclectic Vail eatery may incorporate some rugged outdoor elements.
Add history to your diners’ experience - explain how you chose the location for your restaurant and tell them some interesting facts about the area. This can be in the form of conversation or even a well-designed handout that’s given along with the menu. You can even add a dish to your menu that reflects the local food and culture (if you haven’t already) to really give customers a taste of the surroundings.
On weekend nights or even slower weekdays, consider hosting events to entice bigger crowds. Invite local bands, artists, or historians to give performances or lessons to the “audience.” You can even put together a “Taste of X” event for whatever area you’re located in and create a special menu just for the occasion. When people are traveling they’re always looking for ways to experience the culture of the location, so take advantage of that.
Keep the Conversation Going After Vacation is Over
Visitors may only be in your area for a short period of time, but that doesn’t mean your restaurant’s connection with them has to be lost forever. They may make that location their yearly destination depending on how the trip goes. Encourage these fleeting diners to follow you on social media. Tell your wait staff to mention your social accounts to guests, post signs with your social handles in your restaurant, or even leave a card attached to their bill. Make sure you’re engaging with your audience whenever someone leaves a comment on a post or messages you for more information. It’s important to extend your customer service past just the in-house experience. If your photos are enticing, inviting, or memory-inducing, you may just inspire these diners to come back for another visit.
Tourism season is here. If you’re in a popular vacation area, you have an advantage of bringing large crowds during this time span. Of course, you want to maximize the number of customers you bring in and give them the best experience possible in hopes they’ll return again. New customers mean more money for your business. Utilize these tips to ensure your restaurant is ready to attract, serve, and build relationships with the tourists in your area this summer.
Interested in improving your restaurant’s online presence? We can help! SinglePlatform puts your menu and business information accurately on the search, review, travel, and social sites people are using to find new restaurants. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you stand out everywhere that matters online.
About the Author: Taylor Kelly is SinglePlatform's Content Marketer. She loves reorganizing words and cabinets, drinking iced coffee whether it's summer or winter, and checking out the best happy hour spots New York City has to offer. Her goal at SP is to provide creative & informative content about anything restaurant & small business related.