Tourism and travel is not just personally enriching – it is a point of civic pride, a source of economic opportunity, and a tool to bring the world closer to together. For attractions, hotels, and perhaps most importantly, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), effective tourism marketing can move the needle and turn your corner of the world into the next hot destination, all while growing the communities you serve.
While every tourism campaign will have its own nuances and challenges, there are seven core principles that we look to when developing winning projects, and that you can put to use immediately when developing your next strategy.
1. Do what you can do best
You don’t need to provide a phonebook listing of every restaurant, attraction, or offering – there are companies like Yelp, Google, and Foursquare that wake up every day doing just that. Your intimate local knowledge is your competitive advantage, make hay with that.
2. Give them something to share
We all love to brag. As customers explore your products and locations, empower them to become social ambassadors with photo-ops and other viral assets that become valuable “social media ammunition.”
3. In-market or out-of-market?
There are two major phases of any adventure: the planning and the doing. Each has a distinctly different set of information and functionality needs, so identify and plan which stage to target accordingly.
4. Surface authenticity
In an ever-more-connected and homogeneous world, what is it that makes your place special? Give me a true experience that I can’t get from just a YouTube video or Wikipedia article.
5. Design the “best day ever”
Directly related to the first point, what you can provide is a uniquely tailored experience for the explorer. People are busy and distracted, and despite all their talk about choice and options, research shows the consumers are happiest when provided with a smaller, curated sampling. Provide those “perfect day” itineraries and you’ll be their hero.
6. Make it real
Paint the most vibrant image of your destination, and empower your audience to envision your home as part of their own biography. Captivating imagery and evocative language are the essential building blocks for any successful place-making marketing program.
7. Embrace coordination
Rising tourism and trade lifts all boats. It’s not a zero-sum game, work with your neighbors and partners to form mutually-beneficial coalitions that will create meaningful results for all of your community’s stakeholders.