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Jul 16, 2019

How to capture your share of tourists

Tourism is a major industry in the Okanagan and capturing your share of our local tourists will help your business thrive.

Local sights, conventions, activities- and of course the beautiful sunshine - draw visitors from across the country and world each summer, making this a market you should not overlook, even if you don't think your business traditionally caters to tourists.

Here's some tips to help you optimize your return from tourism.

Have you created a welcoming storefront?

Walk into your business with the eyes of someone who has not seen it before. Is it laid out well and does it have a pleasant scent? If not, a few simple changes can make a major impact on sales.

Identify what makes your business or products special. Do you offer local flavor? Items that are made by local artisans or craftsmen? Locally produced food products, or books featuring information on the area? Many tourists are mesmerized by and lured to shop where they can items that have been produced locally.

Spread the word

Catchy signs welcoming tourists and advertising specials can help draw trade into any business.

Take time to meet other business owners and their employees in the area. Tourists often rely on service staff at a local hotel or restaurant to provide them with information on where to shop. Networking is an excellent opportunity for business growth. That last Commerce ConneX you attended may lead to new customers, recommendations by fellow local business owners or a collaboration that can grow your business. 

Don't be discouraged if tourists leave without purchasing anything the first time. They may be window shopping today, but come back later and bring even more friends with them if they like what they see.

Go digital

Is your website easy to navigate and does it link to a social media page? Advertise or at least create a page on social media and update it regularly. It may take a while to grow an audience, but as long as you are providing interesting information, you should see growth.

The Kelowna Chamber website offers members the opportunity to link to their businesses. Many visitors will visit our site to find places to stay, eat, shop, and entertainment ideas. Presenting your business on the site will help you reach more potential customers.

Finally, take advantage of offline marketing, including flyers and ads. Can you provide a good or service that might particularly appeal directly to tourists?


Most importantly, offer guests a friendly welcome. Make certain your staff does as well. Tourists, and local shoppers, gravitate to businesses that are welcoming, clean, and provide value for their dollar. Increased tourism brings money to the community and provides an opportunity for your business to capitalize. 

So how did we do? Do you have any other tips for attracting tourists to businesses this summer? Write us back on social media @KelownaChamber.