Destination marketing success
Whether we think we are or not, people are creatures of habit and no less so when it comes to holiday, leisure and pleasure pursuits. Beach lover or activity junkie, travel or culture, whichever we choose and at which time of the year we choose to take it, fundamentally we make similar choices every time but the destination may well be different.
Successful destination marketing, as with any type of brand marketing, is still the process of communicating with potential customers (or in this case visitors) to influence choice, destination preference and to establish a base of repeat visitors. But holidays are high ticket value products and the unusual difference compared to other high value products and brands is that the opportunity to influence that choice often happens several times a year, rather than once every few years.
Potentially of course that sounds like it may require big marketing budgets, but done effectively and away from the more traditional methods of customer acquisition, that need not be the case and the returns on investment will be significant.
“Traditional Marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world that you are one.” – Robert Rose
Today, customers build relationships with brands as much as brands invest in building relationships with customers. It's become a real and shared conversation, in which they choose to be engaged and which they also share their experiences with others across the web and social media channels - posting texts, photos, videos and comments. Whether the need is to grow short-term revenues or to focus on loyalty and customer lifetime value, successful destination marketing strategies recognise the importance of this content. They are the perfect beneficiaries of this 'show and tell' medium, which can deliver low cost, high-reach third party endorsements that drive traffic, interest and enquiry. What better way to engage potential visitors than images and described experiences?
Purple Frog have developed destination marketing strategies and created successful campaigns for destinations literally the length of the country - from Tresco in the Scilly Isles to Dornoch in the Highlands of Scotland. Working collaboratively with our clients to bring all stakeholders on board, we help secure available grant funding and deliver highly visible, engaging and very cost effective communications. These communications consistently exceed performance targets and through our own optimisation tools, they're shared and seen widely across the web and social media. Appearing on these high-value influence sites ultimately delivers a budget equivalency that far outweighs actual spend. So, being small and having a small budget may be a circumstance, but it isn't a barrier.
So what are the 7 key things you need to think about?
Clearly define and understand the identity and proposition of your destination. Because if it's not clear to you, it won’t be clear to your potential visitors either and they want to know what they are getting.
Overlay that on to the type of audience demographic your destination will attract. Destination marketing is anything but generic. Simply put - if you don’t have the right type of product for the audience, no amount of promotion will produce the desired outcomes.
Have a proper strategic plan that aligns with the community, the stakeholder and any regional development and support. Adapt it as situations change, but above all use it! This is your route map.
Set proper marketing goals to enable performance to be measured and marketing activity honed and tuned.
Create a brand and an identity that is useable by all - it’s the destination's collective strength that binds the proposition together. Your brand identity is also the entity that defines you and makes you visible.
Be prepared to take a long view. Early groundwork won't always turn into immediate bookings.
Work with the community and stakeholders to get buy in and involvement. They are the reflection and ambassadors of the destination and brand - and they are a massive source of free content and network sharing.
And of course, one other - why not get in touch with Purple Frog to help you bring it all together and build a successful destination marketing campaign?