The Summer of Staycations: Connecting with Local Consumers This Summer

June 18, 2020 Cox Media

The Summer of Staycations: Connecting with Local Consumers This Summer

The ongoing public health crisis has disrupted the tourism industry, as well as many businesses that benefit from summer travel. But the constraints placed on travel and vacations hasn’t changed consumers’ desire to get away from the stresses of daily life.

Traveling to far-flung parts of the world—or even distant parts of the United States—may not be possible at the moment, but aspiring vacationers still have options. A recent survey found that 16 percent of U.S. residents plan to take a “staycation” within the next two months. Between the perceived health risks of traveling and a collective desire to take better control of their spending budgets, today’s travelers are looking to staycations as a cost-effective and safe option for escaping the daily grind and savoring the regenerative power of traveling.

This summer’s “staycation” trend might be uncharted water for both travelers and local businesses, but it also presents an opportunity to re-energize local economies by spurring on more spending among your local consumer base. Here are three tips to help businesses advertise to staycationers and earn some much-needed economic relief.

1. CHANGE UP YOUR AD MESSAGING

If you’re a business that typically caters to summer or year-round tourists, you likely have existing ad messaging and other ad creative that is used to reach those audiences. But what’s likely changed this summer is the distance those individuals are traveling from home. Popular U.S. vacation destinations like Orlando, Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama typically attract tourists from all across the country, and even other parts of the world. This summer, though, those destinations are far more likely to see a higher concentration of travelers coming from close to home.

This shifting customer preference should be accounted for in your ad messaging. Businesses should position themselves as a “staycation destination” for would-be travelers seeking a break from routine. This messaging can encourage travelers to “discover their own city” or “get away from home, without leaving home.” Local businesses can offer staycation discounts or other promotions, such as gift cards for future visits or purchases.

Your business might benefit from positioning itself as a local “hidden gem,” attracting adventurous spirits who plan to use their staycation to explore unfamiliar parts of their city. Rural destinations might even play with the concept of “social distancing” by crafting messaging that highlights their remote staycation attractions. Brainstorm ad messaging that speaks to the current moment your customers are facing, and appeals to their desire for alternative, local travel experiences.

2. GEO-TARGETING ADS TO NEARBY COMMUNITIES

Staycations don’t require travelers to stay within their immediate area and/or sleep in their own bed at night—even if that’s what some travelers will ultimately prefer. Instead, staycation ad campaigns can be geo-targeted to a broad geographic area that includes neighboring communities and regions within a short drive of a local business.

A number of businesses and media agencies are using geo-targeting to deliver ads to local consumers that have demonstrated an intent to travel. This geo-targeting can help local businesses spread the word that they’re open to customers, which can increase local interest in planning staycations around those destinations. This strategy offers particular value to restaurants, resorts, entertainment centers and other businesses in the tourism industry, but it can also be relevant to boutique shops and other businesses that benefit from increased tourism traffic in their local area.

This geo-targeted approach can also be reflected in your ad messaging, emphasizing a business’ proximity to the target consumer. Keep in mind that this geo-targeted approach can work in both directions between urban and rural destinations: Whether your business is located in a city or rural tourist destination, geo-targeted ads can help you extend your reach beyond your immediate service area.

3. DON'T IGNORE YOUR CUSTOMERS' HEALTH CONCERNS

Consumers are eager to travel, in some shape or form—but many still have safety concerns they’re trying to balance as they sort through their options. Many are also reporting higher levels of stress. Businesses can address those concerns through ad campaigns that emphasize safety precautions being taken, as well as new policies that enforce social distancing and prioritize a safe experience for all of their customers.

Businesses targeting the staycation audience would be wise to remember the value of offering peace-of-mind to customers—especially given the current stress those customers are experiencing in their daily life. Staycations offer appeal by giving consumers a reprieve from daily life, and the chance to unwind. They will naturally gravitate toward businesses that offer a safe, stress-free experience.

Whether your business needs to update its advertising strategy or build new ad campaigns from scratch, we’re here to help. Contact us today to make the most of this new local advertising opportunity.

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