After a year of travel restrictions, people are making up for lost time and hitting the road. An increase in travelers is leading to a higher demand for cars, giving auto dealers a unique opportunity to secure new business. While the current vehicle shortage is likely impacting how you manage your inventory, you can still benefit from more travelers sliding behind the wheel.
Set realistic expectations
If you’re struggling with a lack of inventory, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Clear communication at the beginning of the buying process ensures car shoppers won’t be caught off guard along the way. Be upfront about the timeline and price range buyers can expect when purchasing a new car. Customers will appreciate your honesty, even if it means adjusting their original expectations about when they’ll be driving away in a new set of wheels.
Manage your inventory
To prepare for demand, it’s important to do everything in your control to maintain — or even increase — your vehicle inventory. Use resources like our SmartAuction digital tool to access auction information, make offers on wholesale vehicles and analyze car sales data. And, if you’re looking for new ways to expand your product offerings, consider buying used cars to get more options on the lot. Providing your customers with quality choices will take extra effort right now, but if you’re able to maintain your inventory, it will help to accommodate more shoppers.
Focus on the features
Gone are the days where the only things to consider before hitting the road were cramming luggage in the backseat and securing bikes to the roof with bungee cords. Today’s vehicles have features that can make life a lot more enjoyable during summer road trips. Be sure to highlight any in-car tech that provides additional safety and entertainment value. Think infotainment systems, blind spot sensors and backup cameras. Remote start capabilities may also be a selling point for customers who want to get the A/C going before jumping in their car on hot days. And, certainly, call attention to extra trunk space and built-in bike racks. By noting these features, you’ll show the value cars bring to long-distance trips and encourage travelers to invest in the ease they provide.
A car may be the biggest purchase customers make for their travels, but it won’t be the last. Additional costs like gas and hotel reservations can add up. Consider providing gas cards, hotel discounts or tickets to tourist attractions as incentives to offset other travel-related costs. These perks may be an exciting bonus for buyers who can’t wait to explore via their new wheels.
Target the adventurers
Many people are chasing their next travel excursion, and they’re going to need a vehicle that fits the part. Take this opportunity to craft strategic advertising. When creating your marketing materials, feature images of families packing up for a road trip, cruising by a national park or crossing cities off their bucket list. By appealing directly to a traveling audience, you’ll have a better chance at winning their business.
Work with travel services
The logistics of travel can be overwhelming, but you can lighten the load for car buyers. Build relationships with travel agencies, tour apps and booking websites to connect your buyers with the tools they need to enjoy a stress-free trip. These services can provide additional value to customers working through the details of their next trip.
Highlight payment options
Promote flexible vehicle financing options to help travelers meet their budgeting goals. Saving your customers money can leave them with leftover funds to put toward making that trip they’ve been thinking about even more eventful.
Extend a detailing service
Traveling can be messy. Sand in the backseat, crumbs in the cup holder, stains on the carpet — you get the picture. Offer to keep your customer’s car in good condition with a free detailing, redeemable up to a year after their purchase. You can even build customer loyalty by expanding the offer to include all buyers within the past year. People who plan to rack up vacation miles can rest easy knowing their coffee spills are already taken care of.
Steering through the summer rush
Travelers are off to the races, and your dealership plays an integral role in getting them where they want to go. Be proactive by thinking through how to best serve potential customers as they gear up to hit the road. Reliable products, strategic marketing and a customer-first mentality can help your business set road trippers up for success.
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