For many businesses, winter is a slow season, especially for car dealerships. The colder weather and inclement conditions can make it much more difficult to attract visitors to your lot. However, with a little bit of effort and creativity, you can turn the winter season into a profitable one for your dealership. 

Luckily, the Sunshine State of Florida attracts snowbirds throughout the year, drawn to our consistently warm temperatures. In light of this influx, it’s crucial to have a strategy in place to attract winter and part-time Florida visitors to your dealership during the typically lackluster sales season.

A Brief History of Snowbirds

For those unfamiliar with the term, snowbirds are typically older individuals who flee colder climates in the winter for the warmer regions of Florida. This group has been flocking to the Sunshine State for decades.

The term “snowbird” originated in the 1920s when wealthy Americans from the Northeast began to migrate to Florida during the winter months. These affluent individuals would spend their winters in Florida, enjoying the warmer weather and all the amenities the state had to offer.

Today, snowbirds continue to migrate to Florida in large numbers, with the state hosting over one million winter visitors yearly. According to Visit Florida, these visitors contribute significantly to the economy, with snowbirds spending an average of $4 billion each winter season. This influx of visitors also supports various industries, including tourism, hospitality, and real estate.

With an abundance of disposable income, they are the perfect target demographic for your dealership. Here are some tips and tricks on how to attract snowbirds to your dealership during the winter season:

Offer Winter Promotions & Specials

Of course, this one is a no-brainer. While most places, especially on the East Coast, offer discounts on winter tires or winter service packages with the purchase of a new vehicle, you can have fun with your advertising by really leaning into the Floridian lifestyle. Examples we’ve seen include emphasizing gift-giving, incorporating plenty of oranges, and featuring Santa dressed up in his best Hawaiian attire. Additionally, you can create financing options that are exclusively available during the winter months.

Host Winter-Themed Events

Think about hosting a winter car show or a winter driving safety seminar. These events can help build community and can be an excellent way to get people excited about visiting your dealership. Furthermore, hosting events can help establish your location as a community leader, resulting in brand loyalty.

According to Eventbrite, 93% of consumers say that live events have a more significant impact on them than television ads.

Leverage Social Media

Develop winter-themed social media campaigns that showcase your dealership’s winter products and services. You could also use social media to promote the aforementioned winter events or highlight the importance of winter maintenance (despite Florida’s virtually nonexistent winter). By leveraging social media, you can reach a wide audience and build brand awareness.

Highlight the Benefits of Winter-Friendly Vehicles

Sure, snowbirds may get caught up in the fantastic weather and sunny skies in December. However, at some point, they’ll still need to visit their family on the East Coast. Winter-friendly vehicles, such as those with all-wheel drive or heated seats, are essential to enter a much colder climate. Consider creating content that showcases the winter capabilities of your vehicles, including publishing blog posts or videos.

Partner with Local Businesses

To truly emphasize the attraction of snowbirds to our state, try utilizing the local appeal of nearby businesses. For instance, your dealership can partner with hotels, restaurants, and other businesses to offer packages that include a stay, dining, and (of course) a visit to your dealership. This collaboration creates a network of businesses that benefit from attracting winter visitors to the area.

Advertise on Local Radio and TV Stations

This strategy ties into the previous promotions and specials. Your dealership can create commercials that promote your dealership and its winter-related offerings. Given Americans’ tendency to watch television during the winter months (peaking at this time and bottoming during the summer), it’s the perfect way to advertise your business to a broad audience.

Attend Winter Events

We discussed hosting events, but your dealership can also participate in local offerings. Surprisingly, despite the consistently pleasant weather in the Sunshine State, there are still winter-themed events that your dealership could attend. Florida hosts events such as holiday parades, tree lightings, and Christmas light attractions. This not only provides an opportunity to promote your dealership but also allows you to network extensively.

Emphasize Transportation

It’s no secret that snowbirds don’t bring their vehicles with them. Public transportation is less than ideal, and car rentals can be costly. Given that the state has plenty to see, all of which can be accessed by the numerous highway systems that crisscross our diverse terrain, owning or leasing a car could be the best option for most snowbirds. Additionally, dealerships often offer discounts to winter visitors, making it an ideal time for an extra vehicle purchase.

Attracting snowbirds to your dealership during the winter season requires a blend of promotional strategies, community involvement, and creative marketing tactics. By implementing these suggestions, you can make the most of the unique opportunities that the winter season presents and turn it into a profitable time for your dealership.

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