Destination marketing is exciting – you have food, vacations and getaways, and overall tourism to promote, which are all things that people get so excited about. How do you promote yourself, though, especially in a city where there may be a lot of competition? In this article, we’re going to give you tips for destination marketing for cities and local chamber of commerce. Even if you think you’ve exhausted the possibilities, you’re bound to find at least a new idea or two in this article. Good luck!
1. Connect with Influencers in Your Area
When you’re able to connect with local influencers and have them promote your company, you tap into an already established audience in your locale. Plus, their followers will trust what the influencer says (hence the name “influencer”). Make a list of the blog, Instagram and YouTube influencers in your area or who promote happenings in your city, then take some time to get to know their process. When you’re ready to reach out to them, consider what you can do for one another – maybe you can promote them in a way, too.
2. Create a Guide for Your City
Your hospitality brand is only one part of the local tourism. People who come to your restaurant or hotel are going to want to know what else to do in the area, from where to go for coffee in the morning to what type of nightlife there is. The more information you can offer them, the more they’ll trust your company, and in turn they’ll be encouraged to use your business next time they’re in town. Nobody knows the area quite like you do and it’s time to put all that knowledge to use. If you have a mailing list, you can collect email addresses whenever someone chooses to download the free city guide. That way, you can reconnect with those potential customers again.
3. Make a Destination Video
Video marketing is huge right now and the hospitality industry lends itself to this type of media. Make a video that showcases both your business and the destination. For example, if you have a hotel, you can start by giving a tour of the lobby and then head out the front doors to show how much there is to do right in walking distance. Change the video from time to time to to keep it updated and to reflect the current season. A summertime video isn’t going to mean much to a person who’s visiting during the wintertime.
Here are a few examples of great Destination Marketing videos:
Cannon Beach There is Magic Here Video
Yaquina Head Lighthouse Video
4. Setup a Facebook Group
People who are heading to your destination will have a lot of questions. By creating a Facebook Group dedicated to the location, you can answer their questions and even do a little bit of market research while you’re at it. For example, if you notice that visitors can’t seem to find a great Happy Hour in the area, it’s the perfect opportunity to start Happy Hour at your hotel bar. You can also answer questions that will make people more comfortable to stay with you. For example, if potential customers are worried about access to public transportation, you can let them know that the bus stop is just half a block away or that the front desk will be happy to call a taxi for them in advance.
5. Go All-In on Instagram Posts & Stories
In the destination marketing world, Instagram is all the rage right now! Instagram has done a great job of removing the clutter of other social media apps, and instead focusing on niche based high-quality photography. Since the app is primarily picture based, and to a lesser extent video, Instagram is the perfect place to showoff the beauty of your destination. Use the Instagram Posts feature to showcase your best work while providing daily updates and short videos on your Instagram Stories page.
6. Invest in High-Quality Photography
If your going to make Instagram a priority, it’s worth investing in high-quality photography. Hiring a professional photographer or buying quality photos can make your destination stand out from the crowd. Focus on capturing “evergreen” images that will stand the test of time. Plus, you can repurpose these images and use them for your website, print campaigns, and your social media.
7. Get Everyone Involved in a Challenge
While a challenge will have one winner, that’s not truly the point, at least not for you – the point is to spread the information far and wide so that a ton of people get involved. There are all sorts of ways to create a destination-specific challenge. For example, you could have everyone look for specific things around the city and send in photos when they find them, and the first person to get everything on the entire list will win a stay with your hotel or a free dinner. You can even extend this marketing campaign by asking the winner to create something like an Instagram story about their stay with your company.
8. Create Content That’s Relevant for the Season
Seasonal content is a great way to keep your fan base engaged throughout the year. Let’s face it, tourist season comes and goes, but your fans will come to expect a consistent flow of new content year round. The easiest way to execute this is to create content for the seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. You can also engage your fans with fun holiday inspired content during Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and more. By niching down during the appropriate season it will decrease fatigue and keep your content fresh and exciting!
9. Know Your Target Demographic
If you are marketing on behalf of a city or chamber of commerce it’s absolutely critical that you know who your target demographic is. Depending on the town or destination your represent, you’ll most likely have a very specific audience you’re marketing too. By understanding your target demographic first, you will be able to save a fortune on your advertising budget. Plus, by understanding your target you can speak their language and communicate directly to them which in turn will make your message resonate better. It’s worth the extra effort to zero in on your target market before you craft your marketing plan.
10. No Matter What, Create a Marketing Plan!
Now that you have a number of ideas to move forward with, your next step (and truly the first step before you actually employ any of these ideas) should be to create a marketing plan. Without a plan, it’ll be much harder to track what you’ve done and what’s working.
One Last Thought
When people travel or even head into the city for the night, or when they opt to act as a tourist in their very own city, they don’t necessarily know where they’re heading. This gives you the chance to influence them before they finalize their decision. With the right destination marketing techniques, you can stand out from the crowd even in a super popular urban location.
If you’re interested in video production for your destination marketing efforts click here for a free quote.