April 18-22 Tour of the Gila is hosted in Silver City. Are you ready? As a business, this is a huge opportunity, as are many events, to capitalize on these tourists/visitors. This will be the 32nd year for this annual event that is considered one of the top three cycling events in ALL of North America…and it is right here in our hometown. On top of that, with new race marketing initiatives by SkyWest Media, this race will have substantial “eyes” on Silver City. For example, NBC Sports and USA Today are coming.
This year there are 17 UCI Professional Men’s teams and 10 Professional Women’s teams from all over the world—as far away as Australia, along with hundreds of amateur cyclists, all converging on Silver City to hopefully not only experience one of the most amazing and challenging races anywhere, but also to be embraced by a warm and loving community. This race, as do many events, represent economic opportunities. These visitors are not only tourists this coming week, but typically return to visit Silver City many times to enjoy our hospitality and lovely area.
What does this mean for marketing of your business?
FIRST: If you have a sign that you can change the message on it or can make a sign for your window, create a message of “Welcome Tour of the Gila Cyclists and Fans” or something similar. Make them feel welcome. If every business that could, would put a sign up that welcomes these visitors, think how that will make them feel and encourage them to come back “and spend money.” Have a sign that makes them feel welcome and advertise what you have to offer tailored to this particular consumer. Think about what they might need and make sure your signage illustrates that, while making them feel welcome.
SECOND: Again, tailoring to this particular consumer group, remembering that many on the amateurs are traveling with their families, provide “specials” honoring their arrival in our community. Make them feel special, which they are. Post your specials in your business, provide coupons to race organizers or hotels where they are staying if allowed. Have employees welcome the cyclists to their business and be cordial in addressing an needs they may have.
THIRD: Make sure your digital footprint is as strong as you can make it. Tourists are more likely than ever to check your business out online before ever stepping through the door. Post on your Facebook page, “Welcome Tour of the Gila,” and provide special messages and coupons to entice them to come to your business.
Business owners should recognize the tremendous opportunity it is to grow their business with tourism dollars, but make sure you are “open” for business and let those tourists know you welcome them to our area.