How Exterior Theming Can Draw Visitors to Your Tourist Attraction

You know that little saying… don’t judge a book by its cover? What if I told you that is exactly what you want your customers to do.

In other words, when your guests pull up to your business you want them to be impressed with your building and have a good idea of how you operate on the inside. Follow along as we discuss how bringing a little imagination and personality to the exterior of your building can have a beneficial impact on the business that comes through your doors.

What Does the Exterior Look of Your Business Say to Guests?

In our recent blog What Does Your Reception and Lobby Say to Guests, we noted that it only takes seven seconds for a person to make a first impression. Seven seconds is just enough time for a person to decide whether they are going to turn into your parking lot or not.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

– Oscar Wilde

Make sure your guests are wowed from moment one with something that makes them take a deep breath and think, “I am in the right place.”

What Do You Want Your Visitors to Know About You?

What attracts visitors to your destination? Is it your signature dish, prehistoric fossils & minerals, a new science exhibit, or top-notch scuba tours? Similarly, why are you as a business owner excited to have guests join you in your space?

You can give visitors the answers to these questions by designing the exterior of your location to visually represent who you are, and make them feel assured they are in the right place when they arrive.

Before you embark on the journey of designing your dream exterior, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. How do I want my brand to be visually represented?
  2. What assumptions do I want people to make when they arrive at my business?
  3. What are my target audience’s interests?

Attract Attention with Landmark Characters to Top Your Building

Turn heads from miles away and make people think “I have to go there.”

External business landmarks – a tried and true advertising technique that works for your business 24 hours a day.

Your business’s exterior is the first interaction guests have with your company. Let it be your silent salesperson and speak on your behalf for all the moments you are not around. Let it intrigue passersby. You are a one-of-a-kind business, give people the idea that what you are doing through your doors is different and exciting.

This legendary landmark makes it obvious that this location is committed to the promise of fun. A strong impression like this sticks like glue – who forgets an octopus with a snorkel practically inviting you inside for a scuba-filled adventure.
Check out these keepers of the animal kingdom. Visitors will be curious as to what other playful safari animals they may encounter as they wander through this attraction.
“There’s only one thing that can leave a footprint that size…” Feast your eyes on the world’s largest gorilla gripping the Empire State Building in its clutches.
Ready for a white water rafting adventure? This wild landmark doubles as a photo op for these kids who have hopped on for the ride!
Looking for some radical waves to surf? Give this dude some fin for riding that gnarly wave over the edge of this business rooftop.
Fans of fossils and dinosaurs will spot this friendly dino from miles away as it spans over the entirety of this building’s roof.
Yehaaaaaw! This educational facility promises a farmyard full of fun to all the guests who walk through the doors!
This is a landmark of… a landmark! The Hollywood Wax Museum displays stars of the past in the style of Mount Rushmore.

Grab attention and let the word of your unique exterior spread far and wide. Exterior theming will attract new visitors and get the community talking about you. “Turn left at the giant octopus” will become a common phrase. People won’t be able to help but come by and check you out.

Advertise with Themed Cladding for Your Building Exterior

Take it one step further than a sculpture on your roof – cover your whole building in an eye-catching display!

Theming the entire exterior of your business will have car breaks screeching and kids and adults alike screaming “stop the car!”

Turn your space from mundane to magical and hit people with the curiosity bug. They will have a hard time staying away from your space wondering what is behind your remarkable doors.

This wonderful upsidedown museum is sure to draw attention. What do you think has happened to the inside? Should we explore?
Do you dare enter the Castle of Chaos? The themed cladding on this building radiates mystery and the promise of a thrill.
The Hollywood Wax Museum is the home of the stars!
When guests pull up to MagiQuest, they know they are in for an adventure. Which magical door should they try first?

Become a Shareworthy Business With Themed Photo Ops

Whether you operate a healthcare facility, hospitality venue, or tourism destination, it’s critical that your clients leave happy and are excited to come back. And if you’ve done it just right, they will be happy to share with others the great experience they’ve had in your space.

Give your guest something to share by showcasing visually interesting moments they can easily capture and post on social media. But what could these significant opportunities be for your business? Well, what is the first thing you do when you are looking to visit a new place? Do you check prices, read reviews, or do you scan the photos? Our guess is photos first.

Picture this… the first photos of your business that come up on Google are customers posing with your one-of-a-kind photo op. They are beaming in these photos because they’ve just had a wonderful time in your space.

Check out a selection of photo ops created by the IDS team over the years. These 3D characters continue to stop visitors in their tracks to snap a memory to this day.

Hollywood Wax has a heart-stopping photo op where families can pose with King Kong himself.
Those with a sweet tooth can pretend to be the founders of a famous chocolate shop in this peek-through photo op display.
Fans of trains can hammer in the final golden railway spike on their adventure through the olden days.
Visitors to the famous dinosaur town of Drumheller, Alberta can pose with a raptor come to life!
Have a blast at the local science center! Guests can explore the stars while pretending to be an astronaut.
warthog with a sports jersey and foam finger photo op bench
Sports fan? A mascot that’s always ready for a close-up is the perfect photo op outside of a stadium.

Including your logo in the shot is a must! Your guests will be advertising for you when they share their photos with others.

This anime-inspired mecha dragon gets all the kids excited for a new adventure.

Seasonal photo ops are another great way to entice visitors with fun photos. An entire Christmas display may not work for your business, but a Santa who’s always ready for a photo will draw in kids and adults for a quick shot.

This “selfie Santa” lets you put your phone in Santa’s hand for the perfect photo.

As we said, when you’ve done it just right, the content your guests capture interacting with your space and something like a photo op will easily showcase how the experience at your location made them feel – #happywecame! That’s the real power of visual content and why social approval remains the most powerful way to influence business results.

Speaking of which, check out how exterior theming can supercharge your return on investment (ROI)…

Supercharge Your ROI with Exterior Theming

Let me give you a little scenario…

There are two businesses in the same industry and each owner wants to work on boosting their ROI. Both business owners have committed to a similar budget over the next 5 years to achieve this goal.

Business A has committed to dedicating that money primarily to social media advertising initiatives. Whereas Business B has dedicated these funds solely to investing in theming of the exterior of their business – Business B’s theming included an addition of a marvelous photo op character.

Business A has undoubtedly seen an increase in business deriving directly from their marketing efforts. However, Business B’s upfront investment in theming has cut their need to spend on marketing entirely. Why? Because their customers have begun marketing for them.

People love sharing their experiences on social media. Business B’s photo-op in front of their storefront gave their guests the perfect opportunity to do so. On top of that, people cannot help but talk. Business B’s visitors continue to share the word that there is a magical photo op attraction in their community. This has people far and wide talking about and seeking out Business B’s attraction.

What theming investment has afforded for Business B is years of free marketing collateral for a one-time investment. Whereas business A will inevitably have to continue contributing to their marketing initiatives to keep seeing the results they are seeing. But because they will need to continue making significant contributions to see similar results they will have to ask… is this sustainable?

I think undeniably this is the best marketing tool you can possibly use – you know, you don’t have to put up a billboard when you have a business like this.”

– Dr. Bill Martin, IDS theming client

Encourage your guests to look, point, and judge a book by its cover. Reel them in with the story your exterior tells. You are mysterious, you offer relaxation, or you can provide ultimate fun. A first impression lasts forever, so catch their attention and keep it.

Want some more inspiration for promoting your town or business?

4 Ways a Roadside Attraction Can Benefit Your City or Town

6 Types of Roadside Attractions That Will Get You Noticed

The Magic of Parade Floats: Types and Benefits

Playful Photo Op Inspiration

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your business into a magical guest experience.




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