Macy’s Makes Mark as Tourist Attraction

Dec 10, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

When people from outside the U.S. plan vacations here, where
do they go? Macy’s, of course.

According to a new survey conducted by Mandala
Research and underwritten by Macy’s and Shop America Alliance in partnership
with the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumers from Australia, Brazil, China,
India and Korea put the department store on their list of places to visit
while here.

The study, which surveyed 2,500 adults from August through October
2010, found foreign vacationers spent an average of $3,517 coming to the U.S.
with one-third of that spent on shopping. Fifty-six percent said shopping was
a key reason for them choosing the U.S. as a vacation destination.

"We are extremely pleased with the top marks we received in this eye-opening
survey of travelers from these emerging and growth markets," said Kristen
Esposito, vice-president of Macy’s Visitor Services and Tourism, in a statement. "For
over two decades our Visitor Services and Tourism programs have targeted overseas
travelers with special amenities and discounts including our extremely popular
International Savings Card. This survey proves that this outreach has had a
major impact on our business and has made Macy’s an international shopping
destination that provides tourists with great brands, customer service and
fantastic value."

Macy’s is actively engaged in marketing to foreign consumers.
The retailer provides a 10 percent discount on purchases for consumers with
documentation such as a foreign passport. The company’s Visitor Centers, located
in stores in Boston, Buffalo, Houston, New York, Chicago, McAllen (Texas),
Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco, also provide
concierge services such as shopping and language assistance.

The company’s website
offers information for people from other countries planning their shopping
trips before leaving home. The company also assists further in trip planning
with the Macy’s Luxury Hotel Collection, which offers special rates and special
offers such as room upgrades as part of the "Macy’s Advantages" program.

Discussion Questions: How big an opportunity are foreign visitors for American
retailers? Is the Macy’s approach something that many others are (or should be)

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5 Comments on "Macy’s Makes Mark as Tourist Attraction"

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John Boccuzzi, Jr.
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
10 years 5 months ago
For retailers in major US cities that are flooded with tourists including NYC, LA, Orlando, Miami and San Francisco, this is huge opportunity. Macy’s has the correct approach of becoming a destination and catering to tourists needs. Some ideas for retailers to consider:1) Travel information desk within the store that offers info on great attractions to see in the city2) Discounts for international travelers like Macy’s offers3) Over the top displays or attractions that draw people to the store. The Toys “R” Us indoor Farris wheel in NYC is a great example4) Partner with hotels in your city that match your consumer5) Host a quarterly hotel concierge event so each hotel can learn more about your special events coming up and what you offer their guests.6) Provide a special pillow gift at hotels for international travels. Example: Dylan’s Candy Shop in NYC could provide local hotels a Sweet to leave on their guests pillow with a note and coupon for the store. These approaches can be easily promoted through travel web sites, hotels (concierge desk),… Read more »
David Livingston
10 years 5 months ago

I was in New York a couple of weeks ago. There was only one reason to go to Macy’s. They had public restrooms. That automatically made Macy’s a tourist attraction.

Gene Hoffman
Gene Hoffman
10 years 5 months ago

Yes, this is an opportunity for retailers. VAT is a load of fat for visitors from foreign countries, most of which charge VAT. Macy’s is ahead of the curve–as John has described why above.

Craig Sundstrom
10 years 5 months ago

Other department stores in major cities’ downtowns should do what Macy’s is doing…what’s that? There ARE no other department stores left…uhm. Back on point, this would seem to be a feast or famine situation: for well known brands in tourist centers, merely opening the front doors is probably enough, for everyone else, nothing much would help. (And on a side note, I’m surprised this has generated only 4 responses, as I would have expected a flood of (Marshall) Fieldsfans to discuss one of their favorite topics: how the Macysization of that store has destroyed its tourist potential…unlike David, most other Midwesterners apparently don’t find the restrooms to be worth a detour.)

Kim Barrington
Kim Barrington
10 years 5 months ago

I guess given it’s an emerging economy they don’t have much to compare it to?

Macy’s by virtue of the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” and its longstanding name would/should garner visits from foreigners.

What a disappointment I would think that they find clothing made by their own countrymen and a true lack of anything innovative in terms of merchandising.

It’s a real lost opportunity for Macy’s. It looks, as a rule, like it did in the ’80s. How progressive is that?


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