How to Market to Tourists

TouristBy Mandy Marksteiner

Local businesses benefit when tourists make a point of stopping in, eating, drinking, or shopping. The question is, how do you get your biz on the itinerary?

Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Be specific

“Tourist” is too general. And the word doesn’t always sound like a compliment. Everyone travels at different times and for different reasons, so you need to figure out what kind of tourist you’d like to attract. 

Do you want…

  • Retirees touring the country in their RV’s?
  • Men in their 20’s who love outdoor sports like rock climbing?
  • Couples with young children?
  • Baby-boomers with Harleys?
  • Art collectors?
  • People from Flagstaff, AZ (or another city within driving distance)?

Once you have narrowed down your audience, you can move on to step #2.

  1. IGNORE everyone else

Have you ever seen an ad that seemed to be written just for you? I bet it caught your attention!

When you craft marketing messages for “everybody” they wind up being generic and boring. And nobody buys. But when you address your ideal customer, and nobody else, you can use language that they use, trigger emotions that they actually have, and talk about issues that are important to them.

You get their attention because it is for them.

Not only that, but you will also avoid wasting money reaching out to people who will never do business with you.

  1. Go where your customers are

People always ask me “Where is the best place to place my ad?” You should always find out what magazines your best customers are reading and start there.

If you want to reach people who are trying to decide where to go on a road trip, write an article about your town (and business) and submit it to newspapers in towns like Denver, or Flagstaff. Place your ad in that newspaper. Invite someone from that magazine or newspaper to visit your place of business.

Narrowing down your audience makes it possible to search out blogs that are written for that specific audience. You can also buy mailing lists of people who fit that description. Or do joint promotions with other businesses that cater to that ideal customer.

Following these three steps makes the task of reaching out to tourists (… or should I say, reaching out to your ideal non-local customer) more manageable.

Mandy Marksteiner is a copywriter and marketing consultant based out of Los Alamos. Visit her website at

Read these related articles:

How to Accelerate Word of Mouth

If you Don’t do this You are Losing Sales (An interview with Ben Settle)

Bring People in the Door with a Great Giveaway