Case study: 33% of local search business is from non-locals (and 7 tips for capturing that traffic)
Non-locals make up a significant percentage of local search business. Columnist Wesley Young looks at the importance of this audience and provides seven marketing tips to help you maximize its potential.
As summer travel rolls into full swing, I’m reminded that much of local search is performed by non-locals. Depending on vertical, a significant amount of business may be from visitors outside the local area, either long-distance travelers or those visiting from nearby towns for the day.
I’ll use my town, Frisco, Texas, which is a far northern suburb of Dallas, as an example for some perspective. Frisco is not like San Francisco, Washington, DC, or other destinations that have much stronger reputations for tourism and travel. According to a study by Frisco’s Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2013, the top three reasons for visiting Frisco were business travel, a weekend getaway and youth sporting events. Yet that same study revealed more than 31,000 out-of-town visitors come to the city and spend $3.9 million every single day.
At the time, the city’s population was approximately 130,000 residents. Thus, every day, there are 24 percent as many visitors as there are residents. For a business, that’s a significant share of their customer base.
But there’s more: Visitors spend more than locals in categories such as food and shopping. Americans for the Arts reports that non-locals attending arts events spend more than double what local residents spend. In its survey, lodging was a very low number, which would indicate its feedback was mostly from short-term, same-day travel visitors. It is likely that overnight or longer-term visitors and business travelers would spend even more on food, shopping, transportation, gifts and entertainment.
Using this conservative double spending figure of non-locals and the ratio of non-local visitors to residents in Frisco each day means that, on average, business from non-local visitors is a full one-third of gross revenue at food and retail establishments. Those in the food and beverage industry should expect a higher-than-average volume of business from non-locals, according to the data.
I’m applying these numbers very broadly for illustration, but I think the point is clear: Non-local customers are important and can be a significant share of business. So how should local businesses approach local search strategies for these non-local customers?
Below I take a look at some trends for how non-local visitors conduct local search and provide seven tips on how to make sure you are doing what you can to be found and to attract business from this valuable group of customers.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.