Sunday, November 22, 2009

Palm Springs businesses are marketing to the wrong customers

I posted this post back on 11/29/08. It is more true than ever today. Here in Palm Springs most businesses are still spending most of their marketing money and energies trying to woo the local Southern Californian customer. Instead, Palm Springs business needs to market more to the national and international guests.

Now it's human nature to market to the easiest customers to attract, "the locals." But, if your a tourist business and you just market to the locals, you'll only be busy on weekends and empty midweek as locals will rarely vacation with you.

14 years ago, we specifically bought a resort that had big rooms, was very spacious and was geared for vacationers. Thus, about 80% of our business comes from out of state and/or out of country. We are busy 7 days a week, not just weekends like other places. There is nothing more boring than going to a nudist resort or a town and finding out no one is around on Sunday thru Fridays because you booked a weekend getaway.

I wrote the paragraph above a year ago. We are now in our 15th year of business. We have found our out of state out of country business has grown to about 85% of our business. Last year was the first year that Washington become the #1 home state of our guests, followed by Canada, and then California.

I read in the paper this week that the states with the most mortgage problems are Florida, followed by California, Arizona, and Nevada. It said currently 1 out of every 7 mortgages in California is in default or behind on their payments.

It makes good sense to diversify your customer base which is why we are the ONLY nudist resort outside of Florida that is busy 7 days a week because out guests come from all over the US, Canada, England, and Australia.

I am a past president of the Palm Springs chamber of commerce. When I was president, I tried my hardest to teach other businesses that you have to cater to the vacation market, not the Saturday night getaway market. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses in the tourist industry did not listen and are now out of business or struggling, including some nudist businesses.

Here is a story about tourism in Palm Springs from our local paper which applies to many tourist destinations:

"Valley Tourist Hot Spots Seeing Downturn, Hoping for Local Turnout

It's the season for travel but tourist spots here in the Valley are just not seeing numbers like they used to.

"We've seen about a 10% drop in our attendance so far this year," says Kimberly Bowers with The Living Desert. She says the struggling economy is delaying what is usually the time things start picking up. Desert adventures, which offers jeep tours of the Coachella Valley have seen nearly a 20% drop in tourism...

"We've increased our advertising in the L.A. and San Bernardino areas and also here locally, we've also been doing some P.R. efforts and we also have a lot of special events coming up," says Lena Zimmerschied with Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

"We'd like to see tourism in Southern California increasing as far as regional tourism is concerned. So with our feeder markets for example San Diego and Los Angeles hopefully seeing more people coming in from those areas as well," said Bowers...

The original story was from the Desert Sun newspaper 11/28/08. It is no longer on line.

Well this year tourism is down another 20% on top of being down last year. In my opinion a lot of that is due to the short sided easy thinking of marketing local.

Palm Springs needs to do what big cities like Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, etc do, market nationally and internationally.

We have the best resort weather in the world. We are the sunniest city in the US and the last time it rained here was over 9 months ago in February. No other vacation destination can guarantee nice weather like Palm Springs. We need to constantly remind people of that.

Palm Springs businesses should be marketing to Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Calgary, London, etc. Market to where the winter weather is cold with snow and rain. Then make sure you take care of your customer so they want to come back.

Sadly, we have had more guests from California cancel then ever before this year. Always they say one of them lost their job or they are behind on their mortgage. This breaks our hearts as we have known some of these guests fro more than 10 years.

However, we have found lots of other repeat guests that have cancelled their Hawaiian, Caribbean, Mexican, European, and Floridian vacations and flown to our resort instead because we are such a great bargain.

We just had a couple from Atlanta who we hadn't seen in 11 years stay here for a week. They had been going to Club Orient in St. Martin. This year they cancelled St. Martin. They estimated that in that 10 year time they would have saved about $50,000.00 if they had continued coming to Palm Springs instead of going to St. Martin.

Palm Springs is a great value just like out hotel The Terra Cotta Inn.

So if you have always wanted to try topless or nude sunbathing, give us a call at 800-786-6938. It will be your most fun vacation ever.

Visit our site at

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Hope to see you in sunny Palm Springs!

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