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5 Innovative Ways To Market Your Destination

5 Innovative Ways To Market Your Destination

Travel & Tourism remain one of the world’s largest economic sectors; creating jobs, driving exports and generating prosperity all over the world—and it is not showing any signs of slowing. According to the World Travel & Tourism Councilrobust consumer spending has seen the Travel & Tourism sector account for 10.4% of global GDP—up 4.6% from recent years.

With this competitive and at times resilient growth at hand, 2018 has seen a huge shift in the way various locations are marketed. Forward-thinking destinations are putting archaic marketing tactics to bed, choosing instead to test newer, smarter strategies that speak to travellers beyond “like,” “comment” and “share,” with an end goal to get travellers (and their wallets) to their destination.

REBORN has over 10 years of local and international destination marketing experience, spanning from our very first client, Tourism Ireland, to current partnerships with Destination NSW and Tourism Events Queensland. We’ve picked five of our favourite destination campaigns from around the world that pushed boundaries this year—displaying marketing innovation at its best.

1. Denmark and Iceland leverage a partnership

A well established co-branded partnership simultaneously leverages the audience and influence of not one, but two brands, with an element of exclusivity that drives consumers. It’s one of marketing’s sweetest hotspots; just ask Virgil Abloh, whose consumer partnerships with Nike, Ikea and Byredo have produced (and continue to produce) immediate sell out collections time and time again.

Whilst brand partnerships are not a new or groundbreaking feat, they are a marketing tactic that is seldom tackled in the world of tourism. With the vast array of, yet frequent similarity between destinations in the world, tourism boards are naturally pressured to compete with each other to gain the attention (and dollars) of travellers.

Denmark and Iceland recently flipped this trend on its head. Upon discovering that nearly 9% of U.S. travellers who visited Iceland in 2017, also stopped in Copenhagen, Visit Denmark partnered with Icelandair to produce a video showcasing scenes from both destinations. The campaign leveraged the emotional connection that travellers associate with a destination (Visit Denmark), with the mass audience reach of commercial brand (Icelandair) to successfully sell a joint brand message that benefited both Iceland and Copenhagen as destinations that should be visited in one trip.

It begs the question, who should you be working with, rather than against?

2. Tourism Australia’s marketing touchdown

“That’s not a tourism campaign, THIS is a tourism campaign.” If you were one of the many who tuned in to watched The Super Bowl this year, chances are you would have seen the trailer for the fake Crocodile Dundee film as part of Tourism Australia’s million dollar media campaign.

The $27 million (A$36 million) campaign launched prior to The Super Bowl with three teaser trailers starring Aussie Hollywood heavyweights including Margot Robbie and Hugh Jackman, leading audiences to believe that Dundee: The Son Of A Legend Returns Home was very much the real thing. The latest campaign video (released in October) is shot as a “visit the set” featurette starring Luke Hemsworth.

The Super Bowl advertisement, combined with the social media hype that preceded it, have been hailed a marketing triumph. The PR value of the media articles that were generated both pre and post Super Bowl was an estimated $63 million (A$84 million). Beyond the dollar value, the campaign successfully produced 204,00 leads from australia.com in its first four weeks. Immediately after the screening of the ad, there was a 1,400% increase in searches for “Australia”. Tourism Australia aims to drive an extra $450,000 (A$600,000) per year from U.S tourists per year by 2020.

Strewth, they might even beat their targets.

3. California enlists Pantone for Instagram analysis

It’s no secret that within the past five years, Instagram has singlehandedly changed the way millennials seek out travel destinations. Just about every other destination has partnered with an influencer to showcase Insta-worthy spots to see in any particular city—and more importantly, where to take a good photo. Because if you didn’t ‘gram it, did it really happen?

With this mindset, Visit Carlsbad (California) worked with Pantone to analyse 80 Instagram photos from 23 U.S based influencers with a combined audience of 17 million followers. The analysis saw Pantone select four of the top performing colours among all photos (omitting photos unrelated to travel and giveaway/incentive posts) to build the city’s campaign, ‘Colors of Carlsbad’.

From blue oceans to rolling hills of pastel florals, the campaign tells the story of Carlsbad through the colours of the city, with the aim to drive awareness and visitation. Sam Ross, executive director of Visit Carlsbad revealed; “Now more than ever, our visitors are interested in not only partaking in these unique experiences but sharing them with their followers near and far.”

What colours are your top performing?

4. Aruba taps into the local market

For many destinations, local life and culture is one of the biggest draw cards for visitation. For the island of Aruba, its local people are one of the key drivers behind why more than half of tourists are repeat visitors—and their marketing campaign is a direct reflection of this. Aruban locals are the stars of “This is My Aruba”, a campaign featuring several video shorts of Aruban’s celebrating what makes the island uniquely special to them.

Approximately 87% of Aruba’s gross domestic products comes from tourism. As Sanju Luidens, chief marketing officer for the Aruba Tourism Authority states: “Tourism is part of our DNA.” The videos encourage travellers to come to Aruba, and experience the island like the locals do.

Aruba’s campaign proves that while tapping into the local market can be a huge risk for a destination, (depending on the destination) it can also reap the rewards.

5. Palau markets a change in immigration laws

A successful marketing campaign tells a story that connects with an audience— bonus points go to those campaigns that also find a way to pull on the heart strings and call for change. Palau’s 2017 marketing campaign did just that, enlisting the island’s children to send a message of preservation and protection of Palau.

The campaign came about after new tourist routes were created in 2015 which saw an unexpected influx of tourists to Palau. While the growing tourist population had a positive impact on the island’s economy, Palau’s infrastructure was not equipped to manage this growth.

The Palau Pledge involved a change in immigration laws for the cause of environmental protection. Upon entry, visitors need to sign a passport pledge to act in an ecologically responsible way on the island. Palau is the first country in the world to introduce an immigration change in the name of ecological sustainability.

The campaign also involved a 4-minute video to be aired on all inbound flights to Palau. The video is told as a story from the perspective of the children of Palau, using the metaphor of a monster to represent former tourists and visitors to the island. Communicating to incoming tourists through the eyes of Palau’s children was a successful marketing move, ensuring the emotional, human cut-though that is required to enact change. Who could deny wanting to leave a better world for these children?

Where a trip becomes tradition: REBORN’s North Stradbroke Island case study

REBORN partnered with North Stradbroke Island on the strategy, creative and digital rollout of their recent destination campaign with the aim to increase awareness and visitation to the island.

Using research gathered by the Queensland University, REBORN created a campaign that branded North Stradbroke Island as a destination that draws tourists back, again and again. The research found that 73.5% of people who had visited North Stradbroke Island continued to revisit. With this insight, REBORN developed the key concept of the campaign, “where a trip becomes tradition.”

We wanted to show travellers that North Stradbroke Island is a different world—it is a destination as different from your normal life as you’ll find and it’s one that deserves repeat visits. The campaign featured a series of evocative videos and imagery featuring real telephone conversations with regular visitors and a soundtrack written and performed by local musicians.

Alongside the integrated media campaign and full rebrand, REBORN are working with the island’s operators such as hoteliers, restaurateurs, and other businesses to help them develop their own digital marketing. Part of REBORN’s ongoing strategy will see a new destination website and the implementation of a marketing cooperative that provides local businesses with shared creative services and group media buying through REBORN.

There’s a unique story to be told in every destination.

At REBORN, we aim to uncover and showcase the unique story of a destination, rather than just presenting a montage of vacation-style activities. Successful travel marketing campaigns are born in uncovering the narrative behind a destination—the why, as opposed to the what. It is this unique approach to storytelling, combined with a comprehensive and intelligent marketing strategy that produces memorable and meaningful travel and tourism campaigns that stand out.

If you are a destination or travel brand looking to transform your digital marketing, contact us for a free consultation.

David Easton is the CEO and co-founder of the award winning, integrated advertising agency, REBORN—specialising in business strategy, integrated marketing and brand development for lifestyle and travel brands. His performance-driven marketing strategies have been delivered to tourism boards including Singapore, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Queensland, and consumer brands such as Revlon, L’Oréal Paris, Nestlé, Jurlique, Colgate and St John Ambulance.

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