Canada hits 7-year tourism high—How to prepare your business for popular seasons
Summer is coming to an end. And while you may be preparing to go back to school or work, it’s still interesting to learn that US tourist trips to Canada hit a seven year high this past June. That’s quite impressive, considering that the act of traveling has become both hassling and expensive.
However, due to the fact that the Canadian dollar averaged around 80 cents US during the summer month, Americans seemed to be inclined to take almost two million trips to Canada, which is noted for being the highest level since passport requirements came into effect seven years ago.
And the tourist trend is only expected to continue!
Depending on the specific city and type of business, tourism trends can vary. For example, a particular city or store that is popular around Christmastime may not have the same attraction during the spring or summer months, and vice versa.
We’ve put together a list of tips that can help small businesses prepare for tourist season, no matter what time of year it might occur. Winter, fall, spring or summer, these pointers can come in handy.
Plan your marketing strategy ahead of time
As a business owner, you’re probably well-aware that the act of planning is very important. This idea is particularly true when it comes to marketing. If your “busy season” is during the fall, then you need to give yourself an adequate amount of time to advertise and showcase why your business is an attraction that shouldn’t be missed.
For example, Vancouver’s Stanley Park is a popular destination. Therefore, surrounding businesses that include the Vancouver Aquarium, the Stanley Park Pavilion and the Rose Garden should get ready for an increase in attention.
Do you need seasonal workers?
Depending on the popularity of your city or business, you may need to consider hiring seasonal workers. Again, if you plan to hire more people to assist with the tourist season, then you need to do so before the season actually starts. After all, you need to give yourself time to train the new workers.
During winter months, the famous ski resort and village of Whistler becomes a common place to visit. Known for being one of the locations for 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the area offers world class skinning, hotels and dining.
Therefore, businesses that could possibly benefit from seasonal help include the Whistler Museum, Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre and Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
Create an event for the tourists
If you already have tourists coming to see or enjoy your business or location, then create an event for them! What better way to show customer appreciation (and generate even more buzz for your business) than by hosting your own event? These events can be holiday themed, or you can even consider teaming up with similar businesses to your own to form one huge event.
The Calgary Stampede is one of the most widely anticipated events in Western Canada. The 10 day affair takes place in July and attracts both locals and travelers. While this event already has a following, local businesses in the area could jump on the bandwagon and offer special prices or products to go hand-in-hand with the theme.
For the latest buisness news in the United States, visit our sister brand Business Review USA.
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.