Travelers are an urgent care target audience your center may not have considered marketing to. But you should, especially during the busy summer travel months, and here's why.
The odds of getting sick or hurt while out of town are higher than at home for several reasons. Most people have increased activity and try new experiences during travel. There is also often a climate change, and exposure to a different environment along with many new people. Finally, eating new or unfamiliar foods can raise the stakes.
Unexpected illness or injury can completely undermine the purpose of a trip—and about one-third of all trips are for leisure only, while two-thirds are for business or a combination of business/pleasure. As the saying goes, “time is money,” so for most people the cost to get better is less important than diminished productivity or lost enjoyment at the destination. This means most travelers are willing to, and would prefer to, pay out-of-network rates at an urgent care center rather than a crowded emergency room.
Here are some strategy tips for marketing your services to this urgent care target audience. Consider the following types of hotels:
- Destination resort hotels have multiple customer entry points, including the concierge desk, the taxi stand, guest services, and the front office.
- Full-service hotels (those with an on-site restaurant) often cater to both business and leisure travelers, with entry points at the front desk, bell stand, and possibly a concierge.
- Limited-service hotels, which range in price and amenities, serve both business and leisure travelers but have a main entry point through the front desk.
Meet with the appropriate staff and provide flyers, patient brochures or other materials for distribution as needed to guests. You should also connect with drivers of airport and hotel shuttles, who can make referrals for healthcare—and may be the ones driving those who need urgent care. Consider also offering van or taxi-service vouchers for hotel guests to use, with your urgent care picking up the tab for those fares.
Marketing tactics to avoid:
- Blanketing the hotel with materials in every room, because it’s not worth the cost given the potential payoff.
- Advertising in Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau or Tourism Department materials, or in-room magazines, which are used for trip planning but not a likely resource for someone who falls ill during travel.
- Placing materials in a tourism materials rack where placement costs money, it’s likely to get lost in shuffle and isn’t a likely outlet for travellers looking for urgent care.
When it comes down to it, the front desk manager and staff members need to be your biggest advocates for steering customers toward your urgent care center when health needs arise.