For many families, summer is a time for vacations. Road trips accounted for 22 percent of vacations in 2015, but that number jumped to 39 percent in 2016, according to MMGY Global’s 2017-2018 Portrait of American Travelers. And more Americans are expected to go on vacation in the coming years. That’s a good thing for many small businesses in Wyoming that benefit from summer tourism – especially because Wyoming was ranked the number one road trip destination by WalletHub last month. With more potential customers hopping in their cars and heading to the Cowboy State, give them a reason to stop in and see you.
As a former small business owner, I understand that sometimes it’s the little things, like making special welcome signs or placing unique items toward the storefront, that can help accommodate visitors. Many travelers look for local souvenirs to bring home, so your business may want to point out locally-made items. Try to identify new customers – you can simply ask if they’ve visited your business before – and take steps to ensure their experience is positive. Brush up on your knowledge of the products and be prepared to answer any questions. This is also a good time to review customer service techniques and alter operating hours if necessary.
MMGY Global’s most recent travel survey looked at motivations for vacations and found that exploration, self discovery, pursuing hobbies and experiencing new cuisines have increased significantly in recent years. You don’t have to be an outdoor guide or restaurant owner to see the positive effects of summer visitors; there’s a little bit of everything for people to enjoy in our state. Even if a family is coming to visit Yellowstone or go to Cheyenne Frontier Days, they will likely make stops along the way. Travelers will oftentimes search online for local businesses. Google My Business is a tool to manage your online presence across Google. You can make sure your business summary, hours and location are all up to date. You can also claim your listings on review sites, interact with customers and add information like menus and photos. With two-thirds of Americans accessing the internet on their smartphones, it’s important to double check that your site is mobile friendly and easy to navigate.
If your business tends to slow down in the summer instead of pick up, there are still plenty of ways for you to get ahead. The summer months are a great time for strategic planning and internal review. Take a look at your inventory and equipment to evaluate if any improvements are needed. If you have had an idea or project you have been thinking about implementing, get started on it, even if it’s simply cleaning a closet or getting some training. Set goals and list activities that will help you achieve them.
Summer is a great time for a lot of things and I encourage you to make the most of it. As people hit the road this season, put yourself in the best position to be one of their stops.