Where In The World Is Your Audience? Marketing to Tourists vs. Locals

New York City attracts people from all over the world. In 2015, 58.5 million visitors took a bite out of the Big Apple.

As one of the city’s biggest draws, Broadway also brings in crowds from all over: 63% of ticket sales in the 2015-16 season came from tourists.

So when you are creating a campaign for your show, it is important to not only think of your target markets in terms of who, but also in terms of where.

Not from around here?

Where your audience comes from is not as simple as “tourist vs. local.”

Of the total number of tourists in 2015, 46.2 million of them were domestic and 12.3 million were international. There is a big difference in behavior between someone traveling to NYC from North Carolina and someone visiting from Tokyo. Similarly, there is a difference locally: Brooklynites and Upper West Siders have much different consumer behavior. When considering where your audience is from, be as specific as you can.

It’s all in the timing.

Some of your audience breakdown may become more apparent based on the timing. A lot of tourism happens during the summer or holidays, whereas die-hard, theatre-loving New Yorkers may be a bit more year-round in their theatre-going habits.

If you’re looking at tourists, you may also want to consider the length of their stay. Are they coming by bridge or the tunnel for a day visit? Maybe look into advertising along the Metro North. Are they coming for a week? Consider partnering with hotels and placing ads in tourist magazines.

Spend a day in their shoes.

Once you’ve nailed down where you think your specific market is coming from, and when they are coming, imagine a day in their shoes.

Visitors staying for a week in the summer will likely find themselves walking through Times Square, so think about trash cans and digital billboards. New Yorkers hunkering down during the winter may be checking NY1 Weather on the 1s pretty regularly, so a TV sponsorship there would be valuable.

Location, location, location.

It’s not just about where they are, it’s about where YOU are. If you have an Off-Broadway show downtown, but you want the theatre district audience, you may want to consider educating your audience with a video or directions on a flyer. If you’re right in Times Square and handing out flyers at the TKTS booth, put a map on the back to make it absolutely clear that you are just steps away: be easy to find. Focus on both efforts that reach people in the immediate area of your theatre and then expand to reach those outside of that 5-10 block radius.

Think outside the Bow Tie District.

Not all tourists stay in Times Square. In fact, the more popular trend is to experience the city like a local and try unique experiences. So, be flexible and strategic with your advertising plan, and don’t get stuck ONLY in the Theatre District. Consider the specific buying habits of your target markets and then create a broad, layered plan that will reach them in multiple locations via multiple platforms.