Tourism Advertising Ideas: Know Your Season & Catch Them Before They Leave Home

Tourism Advertising Ideas

Know Your Season & Catch Them Before They Leave Home

Some dreams are easily forgettable - others stick with you for a while. But just about everyone remembers their daydreams, and one very popular theme is "vacation."

No one wants to be confined just to their everyday routine, which means tourism advertising ideas will be especially welcome to your customers. After all, they already spend many waking hours fantasizing about heading for the beach or a tourist magnet like Vegas or Mardi Gras.

But even with the advantage of customers ready to give you their full attention, advertising to tourists can be tricky. It takes plenty of confidence, and even if you've got that covered, you'll still need to calculate the "hot" tourist season in your area and develop a full range of intriguing ways to appeal to customers when the heat is on.

If you've read this far because hey, we did mention beach vacations, but you don't necessarily think advertising to tourists concerns you, consider this: Travel to and within the U.S. grew 4 percent year-over-year in June, according to the U.S. Travel Association's latest Travel Trends Index, and that marked the industry's 102nd straight month of overall expansion.

This steadily increased tourism benefits more than just businesses like airlines and theme parks. According to, the top leisure travel activities for U.S. domestic travelers were: visiting relatives, shopping, visiting friends, fine dining and rural sightseeing, which leaves plenty of potential for local business to cash in.

With its multi-screen approach and geographic targeting capabilities, Cox Media is a natural partner for successful marketing to tourists. But before you get to the payoff--local business advertising ideas that help you build a profitable market--take a few minutes to get familiar with some of the best approaches to tourism and leisure ads.


When advertising to tourists, local businesses need to know specifically what draws people to their area, and when. While you may already know it intuitively, you'll need to recognize just how high-tourism seasons are different for different parts of the country, and even within a state.

According to TravelZoo, these are peak and "shoulder," or near-peak, times for a few favorite cities:


Peak: February-March (spring break), June-August (summer vacations), Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks

Shoulder: January, April-May, September-October

Las Vegas

Peak: January-April, October

Shoulder: May-June, September, November


Peak: December-March

Shoulder: April-May, September-November

Once you know your season, look for the repeat events and natural phenomena that bring tourists to your area. Look at the niche created by a festival, for example, the bigger the better, or any other sort of big draw. Golf tournaments, sea turtles hatching, casino tournaments, college homecomings and cruise line departures are all good places to start. Once you detect a connection, you can start coming up with appropriate advertising, like the Napa Valley wineries that place television commercials in the Arizona market and digital ads in Las Vegas encouraging the top-spending demographic to swerve to California for wine tours and such when the "season" is hot in Cali and has tapered off in those areas.


Another sometimes ignored, but highly profitable, tourism advertising subgroup encompasses the products and services visitors to your area will need that aren't necessarily associated with tourism. These are the things everyone may have to do wherever they are, even if they're on vacation, like buy diapers or visit the ER. It also includes the things they may just want to do to keep themselves together during the rigors of travel, like attend church or get a facial.


Unless you're a house or pet sitter, you may not be able to help local customers while they're away on vacation. But flip that thought over and you'll recognize a powerful way to promote your products and services. Some of the best tourism advertising ideas connect with customers who will be leaving their locale but haven't arrived in your area yet. And the cool part is, you'll be advertising to tourists while they're at their most receptive, still at home, dreaming of leisure time activities, with plenty of time to focus on your message.

After timely ad strategies, they'll already recognize your business and know your advantages long before they've packed the road trip snacks or made reservations for a couple massage at the hotel, giving you a clear field versus your local competition. This holds true for ads targeting consumers looking for anything from a fun place to take the kids for an afternoon during a destination wedding weekend, to the best local pizza joints in prime amusement park season to those seeking the most relaxing spas near the vineyard tour or ski lodge.


Knowing your season helps you add to the local consumer base with those who live in other areas. For example, when area families go back to school, targeted ads may draw those a few counties away to your area for camping, mall shopping or similar attractions. Or, you may advertise to retirees who live outside your market but may want to come to area attractions mid-week without all the family hubbub.


Geo fencing is a tactic that, while not exactly new, is gaining momentum in a big way according to Mind Ecology's "5 latest trends of small business digital marketing." This location targeting method lets companies create a virtual perimeter using Wi-Fi, GPS or RFID (radio frequency identification) and then serve prospects mobile banner ads. Applications include sending an ad for your product as a consumer enters a competitor's virtually fenced business or targeting consumers up to 30 days after they enter a certain location, like a public beach if you sell bathing suits. The tourist trade is ideal for the ultra-targeting power of geo fencing, and Cox Media can assist you in targeting the valuable Cox subscriber interested in vacations, reunions or business travel with 100 percent geo-targeting precision. Or, you can expand beyond the Cox footprint to reach the entire market area.


The same way vacationers must segue into actually booking and planning a vacation, creative tourism advertising ideas can get stuck in the wishful thinking phase without a professional source to help you turn them into profitable campaigns. With its integrated portfolio of top-rated media properties and customized digital marketing solutions, Cox Media is uniquely qualified to make creativity into reality. To learn more, connect with us today.

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