How proximity marketing can revive local tourism in a post-COVID-19 world
Last Updated:  January 27, 2021
Covid-19 has profoundly changed life as we know it, making it difficult for businesses of all sizes to operate normally. Most are feeling a massive pinch as people experience apprehension about leaving their homes.
We simply don’t know what our world will look like when this pandemic has passed. In fact, we don’t have any idea when that will even be.
But humans are social animals, so when the time is right, eventually we will all return to going out again in public to eat, drink, and shop as quickly as possible.
While it’s always been crucial for businesses to create effective marketing strategies, it’s never been more critical than during this crisis with such an unprecedented amount of people staying at home.
By utilizing proximity marketing, many businesses could increase their chances of keeping existing customers and gaining new ones who’ll keep coming back long after these restrictions have been lifted.
Before you get started with proximity marketing, it’s important to have a clear understanding of customer demographics and psychographics.
Even if you know someone is in a specific location, that doesn’t mean they’ll respond to all types of marketing – hence the importance of getting your customer profiles right.
Ultimately, retaining even a fraction of customers can mean the difference between businesses thriving in the post-COVID world or closing up shop for good.
International travel barriers closed means local travel incentivized
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the vast majority of the global tourism economy. Given the immediate shock to the sector, the impact is being felt throughout the whole tourism ecosystem, causing an almost total decline in international tourism.
The travel restrictions to and from countries combined with insecurity regarding crowded airport terminals and flights mean that domestic tourism is expected to recover much more quickly. Local holiday options in rural towns and weekend staycations increase in popularity.
As the industry continues to face Covid-19 challenges of a totally new digital world, standard marketing techniques of heavy sales messages can no longer be the norm.
Previous trends must change in the scope of this crisis, such as using proximity marketing for discovery and learning about attractions and destinations, which will help people planning for local holidays in the future.
The fear of proximity to other people will cause many to avoid crowded spaces. Travel privacy and space will likely become increasingly important for many.
But with a focus on domestic travel, proximity marketing will help create a more sustainable type of tourism that brings quality local knowledge directly wherever the visitors may be. Because just like the CEO of global hotelier Marriott has said… we will travel again.
Create local recommendations for visitors
Proximity marketing allows you to send targeted information like recommendations as each person moves around their local area.
Thanks to location targeting, visit tracking, and customer mapping, businesses can create local guides for people in areas like large shopping centers and malls, as well as offering them rewards and other opportunities.
Because location-based marketing is geographically targeted, businesses know they are within walking distance of local products and services.
While location-based offers are often designed with the intention of attracting new customers, location-based services can also be used to provide information about local recommendations to visitors.
Museums, shows, bars, festivals, and nightclubs have all been predictably affected by our new reality, so proximity marketing should definitely be taken advantage of to provide recommendations for lunch, dinner, and other local activities.
This kind of hyper-local digital marketing is an excellent strategy for small and large businesses alike. It allows them to target people in certain geographical areas or who are traveling to specific destinations.
Geotargeting is easy with proximity marketing
One of the most popular forms of location-based marketing is geotargeting, where they set up a geo-fence around their business.
When existing or potential customers enters a geo-fence, they can send them an alert which might include sales information, new products, and any other enticing content that might be suitable.
This technology will be extremely helpful for many businesses during the pandemic as they can share information to out of towners who may not know their business exists.
Some digital marketers have even gone as far as setting up geo-fences around their competitor’s businesses.
They are able to alert prospective customers who walk through it about their products or services. That gives them an opportunity to change their minds and hopefully decide to check out their business before making a purchase.
Beacons help to improve app retention
Beacon marketing determines where people are in context to a certain landmark or building and will provide the most suitable content like maps and other location-specific information to their phone.
This allows shoppers to easily navigate shopping centers and malls, even if they’re from elsewhere, and have never been there before now.
This technology will be more important than ever during this pandemic as when restrictions are eventually lifted; people will likely be looking to spend as little time as possible inside stores.
People can also get notified about products on sale, how much inventory is left, and any other information businesses might want to provide.
Beacons help businesses take advantage of impulse buying, while also providing essential information to ensure people can take care of their shopping as quickly as possible.
Proximity marketing helps you gain a competitive edge
While consumers are constantly bombarded with marketing and advertising from large companies, you can use proximity marketing to gain a competitive edge by reminding them they can find what they need locally around their own neighborhood.
This will help local businesses immensely as even after everything starts to open up again, they’ll no longer want to travel between suburbs to get what they need.
Businesses need to use proximity marketing to get a head start during this time while they have a captive audience of potential new customers.
Simply by delivering quality information to people using location-based marketing, it will give businesses a foothold in the new marketing landscape when this pandemic has passed. It also gives them a much better chance to keep them coming back when everything eventually does go back to normal.
Proximity marketing gives you immediate conversions
Generating leads that convert as soon as possible is an important part of any marketing strategy at the best of times, but even more so during this pandemic. Thankfully, leverage technologies like proximity marketing can provide seamless lead generation, which can be actively converted quickly into successful sales.
Proximity marketing is a dependable method of communication with people who are traveling, which also has one of the highest open rates, engagement rates, and conversion rates compared to other channels.
By utilizing proximity marketing tools such as geolocation, different information can be provided to potential customers based on their location, which improves the personalization of their shopping experience.
Using this location-based technology to send people personalized and countdown offers specific to their locations allow for many to attract non-local visitors to purchase from their businesses immediately.
Proximity marketing = a personalized experience
Customers, over recent years, have come to expect a certain amount of personalization when they interact with businesses.
Brands are expected to not only know who they are, but also what they want, and sometimes even how they want it.
This has caused many businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic to realize that the digital transformation of their marketing was no longer optional, but rather a necessity.
Due to the inability of businesses to engage with customers within a physical environment, many have substituted their in-store personalization with location-based marketing.
These businesses are leaving traditional competitive advantages behind in favor of personalized technologies that have humans at the centre of their innovation.
Proximity marketing will allow businesses to provide personalized experiences with long-term value, which can even be measured in performances with their customers, their employees, and even society as a whole. Any business able to provide hyper-personalization, adaptability, and predictability for their customer base has an opportunity to bypass their competitors.
This pandemic has had a major effect on almost every aspect of all of our daily lives, and we unsure of what the future holds.
With the entire world seemingly practicing social distancing and most people staying home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave, the global travel economy has taken a massive hit.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the travel industry, especially international travel, businesses with potential local clients must find ways to stay afloat for the moment until they can work to get ahead again in the future.
There are many questions but the biggest question for many brands will be whether or not this pandemic changes the behavior of customers, and whether businesses will be able to change with them. While there is no way of knowing for sure, you can be certain that whatever steps businesses take today will help them to survive in the new world.
Daniel Ndukwu is the Founder and CEO of KyLeads, GrowthBoost, UsefulPDF.com, and multiple other websites and brands. When he is not working on KyLeads, determining the direction of one of his other digital properties, or mentoring the next generation, he spends time with his family traveling and seeing as much of the world as he can.