With an estimated 72% of Americans planning to take a road trip this summer, drivers will need their cars to be in top shape. Dealerships will want to capitalize on this business by educating customers on the potential dangers before they drive away.
“The key to avoiding trouble on the road while vacationing is having the car checked by a mechanic before leaving,” says Dave Whitney, a marketing director for Universal Underwriters Group. “Alerting customers to this type of ‘vacation-saving’ service will help retain business and increase your profits during the summer months and beyond.”
Dealerships can bring back repeat customers and attract new ones by making them aware of vacation driving vulnerabilities. “Use summer maintenance check-ups as a marketing tool to reach new customers,” Whitney says. “Providing low-cost repair services and making basic maintenance suggestions that drivers can do themselves helps build trust for long-term customer relationships.”
Catching these travelers' attention can be challenging, though. To capitalize on the summer travel season, use the following techniques:
- Pick services your dealership is equipped to perform quickly and at a high volume to meet the needs of vacationing customers.
- Keep current customers in the know. Post notices in your store and send out mailers emphasizing the importance of a routine check-up before a road trip.
- Partner with other businesses. Team up with travel agents and trip planners, such as your local AAA office, to advertise your maintenance package to their members.
- Offer a discounted service. Give travelers an incentive to come in to get their car checked by offering discounts on services, such as oil changes and tire upgrades when buying new tires.
- Organize a “Summer Maintenance Day.” Pick a Saturday and have your mechanics perform convenient check-ups at a discount for people without a scheduled appointment.
- Work with local media to grab consumers' attention. Offer interviews to local newspapers and TV stations to help remind vacation drivers to get their cars checked out before they hit the highway.