Travel planning is entirely different today than say even 10 years ago. Today’s travelers are invisible prospects to you and your marketing team, often until after they’ve made their vacation destination selection. Combine that with a consumer whose needs are more complex, stresses more numerous and media choices that have literally exploded over the last few years and you have a perfect tourism marketing storm.
Lose Your Edifice Complex
A building is a building is a building, even if it’s the Parthenon.
Well that’s not exactly true… but unless your buildings have historical significance on par with the Parthenon, think twice before featuring them in your marketing. And for those of you that have lakes, beaches and bar areas — I’d argue the same.
Challenge yourself to go beyond the obvious, the “first ad” as my old advertising professor used to call it. Instead, push to ask yourself, what can you show that will cause your prospective visitor to dream about your destination… to long to see it for real?
Go beyond the obvious. The obvious motivation is usually a category level motivation, which means not only do you offer it but likely most of your competition does too. So push harder during your planning.
Still having a hard time truly defining what core human motivation drives your audience(s)? Bring in an outside point-of-view for a ThinkAbout.
Get Picky About Your Target Audience
The beautiful thing about your digital marketing strategy is that it doesn’t have to focus on one or even a handful of audiences. With today’s modern targeting abilities, niche media platforms, even niche social media influencers… you have the freedom to craft increasingly nuanced campaigns against ever smaller, and far more tightly defined audiences.
Invest in social reconnaissance and craft highly detailed audience definitions based on real-time, real world analysis versus third-party or even primary survey research.
Stop Planning Everything
Amazing things are happening every day in your destination. In fact, years ago when my firm was doing some Guerrilla Insight Research into why people come to New Orleans, we stumbled across an incredible insight. People came here because they felt like there was always something “around the corner” worth seeing or experiencing. They actually used THAT EXACT PHRASE totally unprompted by us. It was an incredible insight that we only found by embracing the unknown vs trying to use research to confirm our own hunch.
They didn’t talk about the French Quarter, the Cathedral, etc., they talked about those incredible random discoveries we’ve all had on vacation. The little corner market with incredible coffee. The cute little shop that had adorable handmade clothing… or the quaint little bar that served the most incredible Old Fashioned.
These are the things travelers embrace. These are the stories they tell. And these are the stories your social agents will share on social media and those posts will entice future travelers.
So how do you encourage and create these moments?
Simple… stop trying to plan and control everything… put away your dang content calendar for a bit and instead, embrace a certain amount of random in your marketing strategy.
Embrace it, prod it, push it and encourage your visitors to do the same. It’s really very easy… here’s an excellent example to get you started.
Don’t be afraid to fail. As I alway say, build small, inexpensive “proof of concept” campaigns designed to confirm your hunch. Launch them. Track them. And if they work, double down. If they fail, kill them and move on to the next test. Never stop testing and I promise you, your destination will flourish.
Need some help being fearless? Give me a call… my firm, Converse Digital is dedicated to the fearless exploration of what’s possible in marketing.