The summer of 2017 is dwindling down and is sending out the usual end-of-season energy. It’s time to go back-to-school shopping, soak up the sun on as many brewery patios as possible, and hit up the pool before Labor Day approaches. This year, Charlotteans have a whole other factor adding to their list.
History and science have a huge day on Monday, August 21st with the upcoming solar eclipse. This is the first total solar eclipse that is visible across the entire contiguous United States since 1918, and Charlotte has a front row seat. Based on the path of totality, which is a very thin ribbon across the U.S., Charlotte will have approximately 91% visibility. Because of our location along the eclipse’s path, our city is one of the main destinations that travelers and sky gazers are planning to experience the event. We have been prepared to expect high volumes of traffic. If traveling, get to the airport early. Don’t expect to book a hotel anywhere close to the city because they have been booked up for months. Schools that are in session are closed for the day and even some businesses are closing at lunch. It might seem like we are locked and loaded for the expected travelers; however, there is a whole other aspect of this natural phenomena that the greater Charlotte area isn’t touching on, and that is the marketing opportunity that has been handed to our city on a silver platter.
Here are the major industries that can use this total eclipse to their advantage from a marketing standpoint:
Restaurants & Bars
People enjoy new dining experiences, and indulging in a beverage or two. This upcoming event has paved the way for the Queen City to be a tourist hotspot next week, and plenty of these travelers are going to be making a vacation out of their trips. Local restaurants and bars will be stepping up their advertising game in preparation for August 21. We will be seeing food and drink specials everywhere, as well as boosted social media posts to advertise them. This is a perfect opportunity to give your regulars a nice little surprise during their happy hour, and introduce yourself in a catchy way to the market that doesn’t already know you yet. Creating specialty branded mugs and coasters will help bring awareness for your business.
While many of the hotels have been booked for the past few weeks, it is crucial that from here on out, their execution is flawless. Hotels and rentals have a huge opportunity to impress travelers who wouldn’t normally venture to Charlotte and the Carolinas. Hosting a themed Solar Eclipse cocktail hour with crafted drinks will keep your guests entertained and excited for the once-in-a-lifetime event. If those individuals are swept off their feet now, they are sure to return and use the hospitality service that worked out so well the first time.
It is the Queen City’s time to step up and market themselves as a travel destination. Time to show off what makes Charlotte so great! The tourism industry can take steps now to drive exposure by posting on social media and making easy-to-use guides that are also aesthetically pleasing. When tourists don’t have to go digging for what to do around a new city, they are bound to enjoy themselves much more and experience more of what is so special about the city. Putting together social events all over the Charlotte area the weekend prior to the Solar Eclipse is a great way to host the out of towners and a reason to get them to arrive earlier, while enjoying their stay. Uptown Charlotte is a great spot to host a themed field day (so many beautiful parks!) or parade with retail shops and restaurants as sponsors.
One industry that has an opportunity to sneak in and gain some exposure due to this event is the journalism industry. Much like the tourism industry, journalists need to promote the great things about Charlotte in a user-friendly way. Make it easy for the tourists, as well as the Charlotte natives. By giving the tourists information on where to go and what to do, they can also reach their local market by telling them where to avoid. As a member of the local market, we would appreciate companies like Charlotte Agenda or CharlotteFive to tell us how to avoid the congestion and madness of the event. Journalism can kill two birds with one stone when an event like this occurs. Streaming a Facebook Live coverage of the Solar Eclipse or aftermath festivities is a perfect way to bring the community together and gain traffic to our media’s social sites to promote our great city!
The Charlotte area has been given all the ingredients to turn this once in a lifetime event into one big advertisement for the city itself. Here is a great example of how an event that is out of anyone’s control can be used as a marketing strategy. We are excited to see how creative the local Charlotte companies are going to get in their advertising with the solar eclipse rapidly approaching.