By: Mia Huntington
Senior Vice President & General Manager, Elavon Canada

2017 marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation. In other words, it’s Canada’s 150th Birthday! As a 7th generation Canadian (my ancestors arrived on the shores of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1785), I'm really looking forward celebrating with family on July 1st. For many communities the party will run all year long, with celebrations happening from sea to sea.

High volumes of Canadian tourists are expected to head out across the country to explore their own back yard in honour of the anniversary. Experts also anticipate an influx of international tourists, after Canada was named the best travel destination in 2017 by Lonely Planet’s Guide and ranked at #1 on The New York Times’ 2017 Top Travel Destinations

So, how can small businesses take advantage of this swell of Canada Day tourism? It doesn’t take much more than some thoughtful marketing.

Party on, eh? After long, frigid winters, Canadian communities come alive with amazing events throughout the summertime. Across the country, Canada Day is possibly the busiest day of the season. Use this opportunity to lure in event-goers with POP signage, promotions, and specialized merchandising and displays.   

Partner up to create experiences. There’s nothing like a good old Canadian road trip, or a city tour. With vast lands to explore, the adventure can last for hours or weeks. Incentivize the experience by partnering with other local businesses like restaurants, vineyards and breweries, parks and specialty shops or markets to create a bucket list adventure. Tourists who check off all the stops on the list not only get an authentic Canadian experience, but make memories with their travel buddies, too.  

Draw in crowds with social media. Attract tourists before they even leave home by using social media to highlight unique aspects of your business and your community. Different platforms will attract different customer bases: older crowds might use Facebook or Twitter, while younger millennials are more likely to tune into Instagram or Snapchat. Use simple hashtags like #Canada150 to expand your reach.

Be prepared. Your customers may be coming from all around the world this summer, meaning they will be bringing numerous forms of payment. Prepare ahead of time to accept a mix of payments from smartphones, chip enabled debit and credit cards, and Apple Pay or Android Pay. An integrated payments system that covers the diverse ways in which customers wish to shop is essential.

Through our eCommerce solution, Converge, Elavon offers currency features such as Multi Currency Conversion (MCC) and Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) that provided customers with an easy, affordable way to attract international customers by accepting payment for products and services in 90 currencies. For more information, visit www.elavon.ca .

Make sure you never miss a sale or new customer acquisition opportunity during this exciting year.

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada!