The New Way to Market Destinations: Three Strategies

Marketing destinations has become a big business, with destinations from Peru (“Land of the Incas”) to Pakistan (“It’s Beautiful, It’s Pakistan”) launching slogans and programs to grab the attention of travellers. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, says Richard Edwards, president and chief development officer of the Tartan Group. “Places are the places travellers visit on vacation. Destinations are the places tourism professionals talk about among ourselves. We need to get back to talking about places.

On social media, Edwards uses his alter ego, GreenTravelGuy, to offer straight talk and candid advice on the conversations around sustainable travel marketing. Here, he lists three simple strategies places can use to promote themselves.

  1. Use plain language. Learn the daily conversational speech of your target market, including the slang and common phrases, and stick to that style. Don’t make the mistake of falling too far into the way teens speak to each other, unless you have a laser focus on that market. However, when developing the message around the reason to visit your place and its unquestioned attractiveness, it is vital to avoid using marketing and industry jargon in all social and other communications to consumers.
  2. Leverage available quality content. We’re all in the trade, so obviously, in the trade, we can use a little jargon. It’s vital to create a strong online system to collect, compile, curate, and easily disseminate worthy written and visual content. The system, administrated by the DMO, should make it easy for the organization itself to access content that enhances and fits with the established marketing calendar. This content should be searchable and agile enough enable you to respond quickly to daily social media trends and offer quick replies to social conversations while adding value to any given conversation.
  3. Add value. Obvious, you say? How many destinations, tour businesses, and hotels do you see continually repeating the same attributes of their offer, combined with the occasional or constant sales message? Many. Look at the example of TripAdvisor, which directly drives more travellers to the final purchase in the North American tourism industry. The reason? It adds value to nearly every interaction with the traveller. It is vital to infuse your online and offline content and messages with new, and unique information and stories about local people, places, and events. You know more about your destination than anybody else in the world, so when a traveller wants to know what is really happening, ensure that yours is the online destination they turn to in their trip planning process.

Follow GreenTravelGuy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Tartan helps destination clients cut through the noise and clutter to find and articulate the essence of a place.

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