Exclude the wrong customers to attract the right ones


Charleville Bush Caravan Park is for non-smokers only, and guests love it. Photo courtesy of Graham Reid. 

What if you cut out an entire group of potential customers? You just might succeed.

Graham Reid from Charleville Bush Caravan Park in Australia has been telling me about their business’s success with allowing non-smokers only. It’s the kind of niche idea that many rural businesses could adapt.

There are a few parks that ban smoking on site but Charleville Bush Caravan Park is the first and only one to place a ban on smokers. The implementation of this rule now in its third year has been a bold move and sets our park apart from all others. People who stay here love the rule, many saying that’s why we are here….We also have a no-pets policy and un-suitable for children policy. People are looking for what we offer this is evident in the increase in patronage each year.

They also offer non-smokers only tours and are building a new bush camp for non-smokers only, too.

Some other business owners have actually mocked this business idea, but three successful years are a pretty good rebuttal. I think it helps that Graham grew up in a rural area and has years of experience in tourism-related businesses. He did the research and found that this is what his customers wanted.

Could a non-smokers only policy help your business? Or is there another way you can define your niche by excluding the wrong customers and attracting the right ones?
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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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  1. Raul Colon says

    When things are tough it’s so hard for small business owners to exclude the wrong kinds of customers but in those moments its even more important to define who you want to cater and be part of their community.

    The loyalty that comes from that is one that usually creates healthier and long standing relationships.

    For example being vegan I see many vegan/vegetarian restaurants catering to meat eaters (as if there where not enough place for meat eaters to eat). What these restaurants do is drive me away from their business because of cross contamination and the fact that their unique value proposition for me would be no meat in their place.

    I guess sometimes its seems easier to cater to everyone but it only works against us.