A tourist, more than any other type of potential customer, is both the easiest and hardest to attract: on the one hand a tourist is interested, engaged and actively looking for new and unique purchases and experiences, ones they are often willing to pay a premium for; on the other hand, everything from the local language to the food to the tour itinerary can be unfamiliar, a bit confusing and scary, which can result in wariness about safety, potential ripoffs and general suspicious resistance to engagement with local businesses.
So, while the tourist is simultaneously a highly prized and potentially willing customer, they can also be wary and distracted in an unfamiliar environment and need clear, assuring signals to guide them through the confusion of strange sights, smells, and sounds.
This is where a well-designed and thoughtfully placed tourist sign can make all the difference and help persuade more tourists to follow their curiosity and take a closer look at your business.
Here are some of the less obvious signage fundamentals to consider when tourists are your target market:
Get To The Point! You have so little time to grab attention – less than five seconds, according to the experts. Ideally, the words on your signs should be easily read and understood in a single glance.
Think like a newspaper headline-writer, make your sign message short, punchy, and easily understood, with a clear call to action that encourages closer engagement.
Don’t ask rhetorical questions in your wording, don’t be cutesy, don’t use silly puns. A lot of the desired effect is likely to be lost on visitors unfamiliar with local use of the language and your clever subtleties just come across as confusing.
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Follow The Signs One of the most important aims of tourist and service signs is to guide tourists to their destination. These tourist information signs are not there to market your business, they are wayfaring signs, intended to guide customers to your door like a trail of breadcrumbs.
They should be clear, in an easy-to-read sans-serif font, positioned where they can be seen prominently in a crowded area and, above all, should carry a simple directional instruction. Everywhere there are tourists there are brown tourist signs and road signs for tourist information.
They are an excellent model to follow and the concept can be adapted to your specific purposes.
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid! If the design and the font are not readable, the sign is useless. Remember, potential customers, are constantly bombarded with uninvited messages and exhortations to buy, buy, buy, everywhere they look.
You have no more than five seconds to make your pitch, so make your sign readable with a clear font, simple message, and color combinations that enhance the overall effectiveness.
The brand is Important, but Not Essential Here If you are a local business you don’t have the time or the budget to build brand awareness internationally to talk to tourists in their home market.
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A tourist is most usually a passing opportunity for business, a potential customer from out of town literally on your doorstep. Tailor your signs to promote the things you are selling and how to get them, not to an airy concept of lifestyle or social aspirations that comes with familiarity with your brand.
That is brand loyalty, a topic for another time. Bottom line: Yes, use your logo or brand stylized elements on your signage, but convey a message, not a concept or a feeling – at least not until you’re well-known to your customers.
Mind Your Language We are fortunate in our region that the majority of tourists and just about everyone in the Cayman Islands can make themselves understood in English. But many visitors can’t. But why ignore the chance for a sale? If you attract or want to attract, visitors in other languages then make sure your multilingual signs are designed so that the reader’s language can easily be isolated from the others on display.
Use different colors, rather than different fonts (that are easily mismatched and confusing, like an over-busy fabric pattern). And take time to get the correct grammar, syntax, and spelling in your multilingual efforts to show your professionalism, attention to detail, and respect for your customers.
It’s All About “You” Talk directly to your customers. Think about what gets their attention. Talk to them using words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ to command attention and pique their interest. “You’ll look great in this.” “Your most thrilling Cayman experience.”
Personalized attention is a familiar concept worldwide, it makes the customer feel important and it works well in signs as well as face-to-face. Tourists will be familiar with it, even subconsciously, and that recognition could be the difference between losing or gaining a sale.
Hopefully the above has given you some pointers and ideas for your new signage. Here at Sign Solutions, we draw on many years of creative skills and entrepreneurial know-how to help you promote your tourism-focused business and services in the Cayman Islands.
Get in touch today to talk about your signage needs and see how our experts can help with every step of the way, from concept to installation. Tel: 943-SIGNs (7446) or Email: email@example.com