Advertising Ideas for Resort Locations

Hey Everyone,

I have a location in a Lake area and get most business in the summer. We have about 10,000 year round locals living here. Can anyone offer any advertising ideas in the off season when it’s slow.


Are those residents retired or do they commute to a nearby center to work?..If they commute is there a highway location they pass by each day that you might be able to put a billboard on?..

I am also in a resort market with about 10K resident population. I have been doing business here for 10 years.

Advertising in the slow season is what I call “shouting into a well”.

My advice is to concentrate on controlling costs.

Marketing activities that do work for me at those times of year and make some kind of economic sense:

Get into the local coupon book. Use what I call a “try-me” offer. The goal is not so much profitable sales as it is to get the locals to try you for the first time. Our offer is a 16" pie with up to five toppings for $14.

Get the list of special events from the local Chamber of Commerce. Sponsor any local business event by providing 20 free pizzas on the condition that YOU get to serve them and interact with the other business people. DO NOT DONATE PLAIN CHEESE OR PEPPERONI! This is your chance to shine, donate the best, most interesting combos on your menu.

Join a local service club like Rotary. If you are like me, you will enjoy it anyway. It will cost you about $1000 per year (and some time) to be a member and will return more than any other $1000 you spend.

It is OK to trim back your hours, but stay consistent as far as what days and hours you are open once you trim. Make sure service and quality are great.

Excellent advice from bodegahwy. I’m in a resort town as well in Canada and recently opened up my own shop and well thought out locals programs work as well, things like bodegahwy’s ice cream offer, basically programs that have long term appeal that the locals can know and trust to keep em coming back Also helps with word of mouth when the seasonal employees come to town for the season.

Never EVER mention (even in a tiny voice) that you are mostly interested in the out-of-town customers!! (And that would include being closed off season, etc.) Word of mouth is always a strong advertising base and if word gets around that you don’t appreciate the locals, they won’t support you. I’ve seen several businesses fall due to this faux paux in our small community with a large tourist/traveling component. I agree with the post about joining civic groups and donating lots of quality stuff to local events. Win their hearts and you’ll have their tummys.

I was wondering if people in heavy tourist areas would offer some kind of local discount card. Prices could be raised for the tourists and the discount card would show commitment to the locals. Or is it too competitive for charging a premium?

We do not offer a “local’s discount”. When the tourists find out about it (and they will) it has a really sour taste. Imagine how it feels to be standing in line to pick up your order and overhearing the person in front of you asking for the local’s discount and paying less than you for the same thing…

What do do however, is offer promotions at times and places that only a local will find them. Tourists do not have mail boxes and they are not here in the off season.