Destination marketing is a process aimed at influencing potential visitors to travel to a certain location, thereby influencing their preferences. This involves showcasing the destination as having an edge against its rivals, exploring its competitive products and promoting value-added services and actions beneficial to both visitor and resident. Here, as Jovago.com lists below are some tips that will guide any marketer in moving their destination from just another tourist attraction to a magnetic, must-visit location.
Invest in Content to Benefit your Audience
Content, whether on brochures, blogs or the website speaks volumes about the company’s main focus. As opposed to putting up articles and creations solely around your marketing targets, aim to develop content that is more informative and insightful for your audience. This will in return provoke their imagination and curiosity about the destination in question. Your content should always be audience-focused rather than sales-oriented. Categorize appropriate and corresponding markets, and align your content with their needs.
Identify Media with Travel-interested Audience
Basically, this is working with channels effective in delivering the message to the right people. In a market saturated with diverse products all claiming to ‘drive home the message’, you need to ensure that your message lands at the right doorstep! For instance, you can identify with travel writers, travel shows and programs, organizations that support tourism etc. as you can be sure their audience/followership/membership constitutes of a market niche that does not require major efforts to appreciate and share your enthusiasm in the adventures of the destination in question.
Build on the Power of Social Media
The internet is by all means a powerful phenomenon in reaching the world. While organizing your destination marketing strategy and plan; find the place for social media engagement on different platforms. Some aspects of these include identifying and engaging with both individuals as well as organizations with same goals as yours to reap the full benefits of the synergy acquired. Study the trends and behaviors on social media to determine what potential and target markets are looking for; create hashtags and buzz in timely seasons and above all, be present to answer to queries and comments.
Be Objective in times of crisis
Crisis can be anything; from terrorist attacks to bush fires created by man’s carelessness and the menacing ivory trade as well as natural calamities that can take any front. While you cannot undo the action; the reaction will make or break the very image you’ve spent time and resources to build. As Jurgen Thomas of eTurbo News stated at the recently ended ATA Conference in Nairobi, you do not need to deny or cower out, instead he advices the involved to take three steps; accept, outline, and update. Accepting fault and outlining any crisis mitigating procedures while keeping your audience updated on the outcome prompts harmony and support that can actually help in driving visitor numbers to your destination.
Align your Brand to the Community’s Aspirations
Hotels like Governor’s Camp in Masai Mara have invested heavily in the upgrading and supporting of the communities around the reserves and conservation areas. Building a destination brand in harmony with the community around you will no doubt ensure their support in different measure; extending hospitality to visitors, protecting resources and promoting sustainable tourism in their area. Involving the community is also a vital part of cultural tourism as the local residents will be your ambassadors in spreading the message and pushing your brand.
Communication and Accessibility
Finding help and response when in need tops as one of the priorities for most visitors. This means that anytime a visitor, media house or consultant reaches out to your line; they are able to get help. Investing in 24 hour customer service/response will go a long way in ascertaining flawless communication hence boost your score in reliability.
Invest in Partnerships
Identifying appropriate market players with a common goal and investing in partnerships with them will also bolster your efforts in pushing the brand that is your selling destination as this may lead to creation of larger offers to an even larger audience. Partnerships entered with other related sectors such as transport, education and consumer federations should also be in the list of prime targets for marketers.