And The (Visitor) Survey Says…
Many visitor centers, restaurants, entertainment venues and other tourism/destination businesses do a pretty fair job of collecting email addresses from their guests or visitors. Unfortunately, due to bandwidth issues or lack of knowledge, they tend to not do quite as well when it comes to actually making use of them. As a result, they find themselves sitting on a potentially valuable source of marketing intelligence that could be put to much better use than its current existence as a spreadsheet on your shared drive.
If this sounds uncomfortably familiar, you might want to think about making email marketing a higher priority this year. Once you get into the groove of regular use of your email database, you’ll likely find that most email marketing tactics have the potential to provide very solid ROI for a reasonable amount of time and expense, even if you determine you need to hire some help to get your campaign off the ground.
Options for email marketing abound. You can start an ongoing monthly email campaign designed to let your audience members know about special promotions or special events. Or you can use your database to launch a funky-and fun seasonal greeting campaign (“Hello, Guest! Just a quick note to wish you a Happy Arbor Day. Speaking of trees, have you visited our new park yet?”) Other uses for your email database include cross-promotional messaging with partners or distribution of coupons or other incentives.
And then there is the option of using visitor/guest emails to do surveys, which is what we’re going to talk about in this article. Low-cost and easy to implement thanks to affordable tools like Survey Monkey, visitor guest surveys can yield lots of great benefits, including:
Insight into why your visitors/guests keep coming (or stopped coming)
When it comes to finding out why your customers do what they do, there’s nothing like being direct. You’ll want to craft simple but probing questions that help you uncover what motivated your visitors to get in the car and come spend money with you in the first place, what keeps them coming back, or what would motivate them to come back if it’s been while since their last visit.
Cease fires for arguments and debates
Everybody knows this scenario: Some members of your team are absolutely convinced that your customers love your Friday night entrée specials, while others are equally convinced that customers would prefer better happy hour options. Once you have evidence proving one argument or the other, you can replace arguments with action.
The answers your visitors/guests give you can lead to great ideas for creative promotions, contests, and cross marketing partnerships with vendors and partners.
A well-crafted survey can provide surprising but valuable insights about problems you weren’t even aware you had – such as inconvenient parking, customer service issues, or lack of satisfaction with products or attractions – that are discouraging your guests/visitors from making return trips. Once you know about the issue, you can take steps to do something about it.
Opportunity for interaction
Lastly, a survey is chance to tap your guest/visitor on the shoulder and say “Hey, remember us. We’re still here, and we’re still thinking about you.” Even if the customer elects not to complete the survey, you still gain some benefit just by getting your name in front of him again, if only for a moment.
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