Blog - Summer marketing and travelSummer business in Southwest Florida was once a misnomer. That’s because there wasn’t much summer business. 

In fact, some small businesses would close for several weeks or operate at reduced hours. There simply weren’t enough customers – and revenue – to keep the doors open year-round. 

Times have changed. 

Today, the region’s full-time population exceeds 1.4 million. Meanwhile, tourists flock to Southwest Florida 12 months of the year. That means businesses can generate revenue year-round. 

Priority Marketing helps businesses large and small develop strategic marketing plans to connect with their target audience. During the summer, Southwest Florida businesses should recognize three groups that keep the economy going: year-round residents, family visitors and international travelers. The next step for businesses is formulating a strategy to reach those audiences through a combination of paid, earned and owned media. 

Summer Marketing: Year-Round Residents 

More than 1.4 million residents lived in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties as of July 2021, according to the U.S. Census. That represents a 23.3% increase from 2010. These are people who work here, go to school here and have retired here. They spend their income at local restaurants, attractions and shopping venues as well as purchase services, visit doctors and support charitable causes. 

Businesses can reach year-round residents through a variety of platforms, including these seven media sources: 

  • Newspapers: Daily and weekly general circulation newspapers reach the masses. The region also has several family- and business-oriented publications. 
  • Magazines: Monthly, quarterly and annual magazines target specific audiences like fashionistas, socialites, designers, families and business leaders.  
  • TV: Affiliates from the four largest commercial broadcast televisions networks, as well as a public broadcasting station and Spanish-language stations, operate in Southwest Florida. 
  • Radio: FM and AM stations reach large audiences across musical and news preferences. 
  • Billboards: Roadside signage can capture the attention of locals as they drive around town. 
  • Digital marketing: Online advertising, pay-per-click advertising and email marketing can reach target audiences near and far.  
  • Social media: Local residents follow businesses they regularly patronize, and these platforms offer a great preview of what businesses have to offer. 

Summer Marketing: Families 

Southwest Florida International Airport reported 2.3 million passengers in June, July and August of 2021. That was a 63.4% increase over five years, despite the pandemic. For July, August and September 2021, 60% of all travelers came as a family and 26% came as a couple, according to The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel’s Q3 Visitor Tracking Survey. 

Sports tourism plays a significant role in summer visits. Lee County Sports Development notes 139 sports tourism events were held in 2021, with summer baseball driving visitation numbers. Four ways businesses can reach family visitors include: 

  • Rack cards: Informational brochures and rack cards are placed in areas frequented by tourists, like hotels, restaurants and attractions.
  • Tourist magazines: Hotels often feature glossy lifestyle magazines targeting more affluent travelers. 
  • Tourist coupon books: This option has a low out-of-pocket cost for a smaller space, often using coupons to drive traffic. 
  • Billboards: Roadside signage can capture the attention of tourists driving around town. 

Summer Marketing: International Travelers 

In addition to nonstop destinations across four U.S. time zones, Southwest Florida International Airport has regularly scheduled flights to/from Frankfurt, Germany, and three cities in Canada – Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. 

Domestic travelers looking to unwind might visit Southwest Florida for as little as a weekend. International travelers, though, will stay for longer periods, oftentimes visiting Orlando or Miami in addition to Fort Myers, Sanibel and Naples. Because international trips are longer and more expensive, international travelers typically plan their itineraries well in advance. Businesses can reach them in advance through: 

  • Digital marketing: Online advertising, pay-per-click advertising and email marketing can reach target audiences near and far.  
  • Social media: More than half of the world’s population is on social media, and these platforms offer a great preview of what businesses have to offer. 
  • Tourism boards: The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau and Collier County Convention & Visitors Bureau actively promote the region and its businesses to a worldwide audience of leisure and business travelers. 

Are you looking to ignite your business this summer? Please give our marketing experts a call today at 239-267-2638 or send an email to LetsTalk@PriorityMarketing.com.