The Art of Tourism Marketing: Essential Strategies for Success

Adventure tourism. By nd3000

In the ever-evolving landscape of tourism marketing, contemporary strategies have begun to place a significant emphasis on digital tactics, targeted outreach, and unique brand development. With the rise of social media and online platforms, the ability to effectively engage and entice potential tourists is an art unto itself (Sigala, 2018). This post will discuss the key strategies for successful tourism marketing, including targeting the right audience, building a strong brand identity, and creating engaging content across various platforms.

Targeting the Right Audience

Successful tourism marketing begins with a clear understanding of your target audience. In recent years, there has been a substantial shift towards personalization in marketing strategies, aimed at providing individualized experiences to potential tourists (Li, Li, & Hudson, 2013). The tourism industry has increasingly recognized the value of tailoring marketing content to align with the specific interests, values, and preferences of different demographic groups (Bieger, Laesser, & Wittmer, 2011). For example, millennial and Gen Z travelers show a marked preference for authentic and experiential travel experiences over traditional tourism offerings. As such, tourism marketing strategies have begun to highlight local and immersive experiences, geared towards these younger demographics.

Building a Strong Brand Identity

In an increasingly competitive market, establishing a robust and unique brand identity is essential for a destination to stand out. A strong brand identity not only differentiates a destination but also creates an emotional connection with potential tourists, promoting loyalty and repeat visits (Konecnik & Gartner, 2007). For instance, since 2018, several cities have launched innovative branding campaigns to highlight their unique attractions and appeal to specific demographic groups.

Creating Engaging Content Across Multiple Platforms

Creating and distributing engaging content across multiple platforms is another crucial component of successful tourism marketing. With the rise of social media and digital technologies, tourists now have access to a wide array of online content (Munar & Jacobsen, 2014). This content, whether it be stunning visual imagery, compelling narratives, or interactive virtual experiences, plays a significant role in influencing tourist behavior. In recent years, destinations have begun to leverage user-generated content, such as photos and reviews shared by tourists on social media platforms, to enhance their marketing efforts (Sigala, 2018).

In conclusion, the art of tourism marketing hinges on understanding your audience, crafting a strong brand identity, and creating engaging content that is distributed across multiple platforms. As the tourism industry continues to evolve and adapt to changes in consumer behavior and technological advancements, so too must the strategies used to market destinations (Sigala, 2018).

References:

  • Bieger, T., Laesser, C., & Wittmer, A. (2011). Consumer heterogeneity in the context of different levels of destination loyalty. Journal of Travel Research, 50(3), 274-287.
  • Konecnik, M., & Gartner, W. C. (2007). Customer-based brand equity for a destination. Annals of tourism research, 34(2), 400-421.
  • Li, X., Li, X., & Hudson, S. (2013). The application of generational theory to tourism consumer behavior: An American perspective. Tourism Management, 37, 147-164.
  • Munar, A. M., & Jacobsen, J. K. S. (2014). Motivations for sharing tourism experiences through social media. Tourism management, 43, 46-54.
  • Rossi, A. (2022) Comunicazione Digitale per il Turismo. Ed. Rossi
  • Sigala, M. (2018). Tourism and customer engagement management in the digital age. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 35(7), 771-779.

#TourismMarketingTrends; #DigitalEraTourism; #TargetAudienceInsights; #BrandIdentityInTourism; #EngagingContentCreation; #MultiPlatformMarketing; #PersonalizedTravelExperience; #AuthenticTravel; #TourismBrandingCampaigns; #UserGeneratedContent; #InfluencingTouristBehavior; #ImmersiveExperiences; #TourismEvolution; #DestinationMarketingStrategies; #SuccessfulTourismMarketing

Contact me

“Vilnius’ Belated Birthday Cards” advertising for Lithuania

Group of young people taking selfie at a birthday party. Photo by vladans

In this brilliantly innovative advertising campaign, the creators playfully tackle the obscure nature of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with a delightfully tongue-in-cheek approach that combines humor, nostalgia, and a sense of adventure. Drawing upon the city’s previous promotional campaigns, which daringly labeled Vilnius as “the g-spot of Europe” and playfully subverted the conventional Christmas carol narrative with the strikingly titled “Christmas in Vilnius: Amazing wherever you think it is,” the minds behind this effort have truly outdone themselves with their latest endeavor. Celebrating the momentous occasion of the city’s 700th anniversary in 2023, the campaign adopts a retro aesthetic that masterfully encapsulates the essence of the 1980s while simultaneously offering a fresh, contemporary twist.

The captivating video, which can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAfZJRbgih0, humorously acknowledges the general public’s lack of awareness regarding Vilnius’ geographical location and historical significance. In doing so, the video presents a novel and engaging solution for commemorating the city’s 700th birthday: a “belated birthday e-card collection” that injects an irresistibly whimsical sense of fun into the proceedings. This inventive approach not only pokes fun at the fact that many people have overlooked Vilnius’ previous 699 birthdays, but also serves as a clever way to bring attention to this captivating city that has, until now, been relatively hidden from the international spotlight.

The video, steeped in nostalgia, walks viewers through a series of entertaining and visually striking cards, each more amusing than the last. The campaign encourages viewers to send their own belated birthday e-cards, thereby creating a sense of personal connection and investment in the celebration of this extraordinary milestone. The video concludes with an uplifting and memorable message, reminding viewers that while they may forget the date of the anniversary itself, the celebration of Vilnius’ rich 700-year history will be an unforgettable experience. The city, in all its vivacity and charm, is described as being “700 years young,” a testament to its enduring spirit and the ever-evolving cultural tapestry that makes it such an exceptional destination. This audacious and remarkable advertising campaign deftly showcases the indomitable character of Vilnius, inviting viewers to join in the festivities and discover the magic that awaits them in this enchanting, often-overlooked European gem.

#Vilnius700; #HiddenEuropeanGem; #BelatedBirthdayCards; #RediscoverVilnius; #VilniusGSpotOfEurope; #CelebrateVilnius; #700YearsYoung; #RetroVilnius; #VilniusAdventures; #UnforgettableVilnius; #DiscoverVilnius; #VilniusAnniversary; #WhimsicalVilnius; #VilniusMilestone; #VilniusUncovered; #InnovativeAdCampaigns; #VilniusRetroRevival; #RememberVilnius; #CulturalTapestryOfVilnius; #IndomitableVilnius

Spellbound by Sweden: the “Scandi horror flick” advertising campaign for Sweden

Trail in a dark pine forest on the slopes of the mountain. The Swedish Forest By goinyk

The “Scandi horror flick” advertising campaign for Sweden is a truly innovative and captivating way to draw visitors to the country. In an effort to tap into the popularity of horror and suspense,

Visit Sweden has crafted a two-minute horror film that is both frightening and alluring.

The film, which can be found on YouTube at the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2nLmi6dCIE, is narrated by “Sweden” herself, and takes the viewer deep into the heart of the country’s forests, where they encounter a mysterious woman who turns out to be a huldra, a creepy forest nymph.

The video of the destination ADV campaign of VisitSweden

As the story unfolds, Sweden warns the viewer that what they are about to experience is not a dream, but a chilling reality. The film is expertly crafted, with a perfect balance of suspense and terror that will leave the viewer on the edge of their seat. The cinematography is stunning, capturing the beauty and majesty of the Swedish forest, while also hinting at the danger lurking just beneath the surface.

The “Scandi horror flick” campaign is not just a short film, however. It is part of a larger effort to promote “Kiln,” a “chilling audio story” by John Ajvide Indqvist, which is only available to be downloaded in the Swedish forest. This unique marketing approach is sure to pique the interest of travelers and horror fans alike, and encourage them to explore the country and experience the story for themselves.

The video, which has been well-received by viewers, has garnered a significant amount of positive comments and engagement. Many have praised the film for its suspenseful and creepy atmosphere, while others have applauded the stunning cinematography and attention to detail. Regardless of one’s personal opinion on the horror genre, it is hard to deny the impact that this advertising campaign has had, and the buzz that it has generated around Sweden as a travel destination.

The “Scandi horror flick” campaign is a bold and daring way to promote Sweden, and it is sure to leave a lasting impression on those who view it. Whether you are a fan of horror and suspense, or simply interested in exploring the beauty and mystery of the Swedish forest, the “Scandi horror flick” campaign is a must-see. So, if you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, then why not plan a trip to Sweden today?

Bibliography

#ScandiHorrorSweden; #VisitSweden; #HorrorsOfSweden; #SwedishForests; #HuldraMystery; #KilnAudioStory; #CreepyTravel; #SwedenAdventure; #UniqueMarketing; #SuspensefulJourney; #DiscoverSweden

http://www.andrearossi.it/en/contacts/

Integrated Online and Offline Communication

Handshake after a good deal. By ijeab

The advent of digital communication has not eliminated offline channels, that is, traditional communication (newspapers, weeklies, monthlies, guides, radio, TV, etc.), which continue to have their audiences and therefore continue to be important for conveying our tourism messages.

An effective strategy in the digital communication era must therefore be able to integrate online and offline channels (Fig. 1), involving our audiences (especially fans on social media channels) to share our messages. To succeed in this endeavor, communication needs to be coordinated between the offline and online parts, both between the destination and the operators and residents as much as possible, conveying a well-defined tourism identity.

Fig 1 – Integrated communication diagram in Travel and Tourism (created by the Author)

Bibliogrphy

[Rossi A., 2022] Rossi Andrea, “Comunicazione Digltale per il Turismo”, Rossi A., 2022, ISBN 9791221004175

#OnlineOffline; #OnlineAndOffline; #OnlineAndOfflineChannels; #IntegratingOnlineAndOfflineChannels; DigitalCommunication; #TraditionalCommunication; #TourismMarketing; #TourismIdentity; #Coordination; #AudienceEngagement; #SocialMediaMarketing; #DestinationMarketing; #OfflineMarketing; #OnlineMarketing

The Crisis of Traditional Communication

Heap of retro TV sets with no signal. The Crisis of Traditional Communication (By maxxyustas)

Traditional communication, constrained by rigid tools and a poor understanding of the target audience, their needs, passions, uncertainties, and their position in the customer journey, is not very effective in meeting the needs of new tourists who are more skeptical than ever of stimuli sent by traditional and institutional communication, and are also more accustomed to online research and a new ability to discern information and news.

In addition, even those entities that previously succeeded in influencing tourists’ choices, such as travel agents, tour operators, catalogs, mass media communication on TV, newspapers and radio, famous testimonials, have lost much of their influence compared to tourist reviews and especially influencers, who offer more modern and audience-friendly languages, styles, and formats.

Influencers are creators who have managed to show credibility and gain the trust and following of numerous fans, and can be bloggers, video makers, photographers, online journalists who have learned to use new languages, forum administrators, social media stars who have found their expressive niche and/or their particular passion and following.

Depending on their followers, influencers can be divided into various categories, e.g., Bella Foxwell of iconosquare.com [Foxwell B., 2021] classifies influencers into 4 categories:

  1. Mega: 1 million or more followers
  2. Macro: between 100,000 and 1 million followers
  3. Micro: between 10,000 and 100,000 followers
  4. Nano: 10,000 followers or less

Based on the ability to engage audiences, influencer marketing has emerged, which is the use of online experts in the field who have a fairly large audience that respects and trusts them. In the case of tourism, influencers can be tourism experts, but also specific experts of the target audience (e.g., families, singles, seniors, etc.), or even experts in experiential themes that the destination offers, such as sports influencers, food influencers, etc. Therefore, in tourism, it is important to use not only travel influencers, but also a range of specializations that fully represent our destination.

Bibliography

[Foxwell B., 2021] iconosquare.com Bella Foxwell, January 28th, 2021 “A Guide to Social Media Influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro, and Nano” https://blog.iconosquare.com/guide-to-social-media-influencers/ accessed on January 23rd, 2022

[Rossi A., 2022] Rossi Andrea, “Comunicazione Digitale per il Turismo”, Rossi A., 2022, ISBN 9791221004175

#TraditionalCommunicationCrisis #InfluencerImpact #TourismMarketing #InfluencerCategories #EngagingAudiences #TravelInfluencers #SpecializedInfluencers #DigitalCommunication

The Five Stages of a Tourist’s Customer Journey

Young traveler planning vacation trip and searching information on laptop and smartphone, by kitzstocker

According to the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) [López de Ávila A., 2011], a tourist’s customer journey (the process that characterizes the interaction between consumer and brand, from need to purchase and post-purchase) consists of 5 stages [Fig. 1]:

  • Dreaming
  • Researching
  • Booking
  • Experiencing
  • Sharing

Fig. 1 – The Tourist’s Customer Journey (own elaboration)

The Dreaming stage is the most critical phase of the tourism customer journey, as it is when the tourist starts to consider traveling without a clear idea of where to go. Tourists search for information, compare offers, ask for advice, and typically use the internet as a source of inspiration, utilizing search engines, social networks, blogs, travel websites, and encountering shared tourist content (texts, photos, videos) from destinations, operators, residents, media, influencers, and other tourists.

The Researching stage involves the tourist investing time in a more in-depth exploration of potential destinations and the feasibility of their travel intentions (prices, availability, offers, services, connections, etc.). They use numerous online services like TripAdvisor, Booking, eDreams, Expedia, Airbnb, Trivago, Skyscanner, etc. Opinions from other users, tourists, or influencers remain crucial at this stage.

The Booking stage increasingly occurs online, particularly for short and medium-haul trips or short and medium-duration stays. However, traditional travel agencies and tour operators still play a significant role, especially for long-haul or extended-duration trips. Tourists book necessary resources, such as accommodations, transportation, local activities, and event tickets. Online bookings have grown exponentially on desktops/laptops and mobile devices. As a result, booking websites must be intuitive, easy to use, responsive (adapting to the tourist’s device), and offer optimized mobile apps. Tourists place greater trust in other users’ reviews than in institutional advertising, which has lost credibility.

During the Experiencing stage, tourists seek contextually relevant information and content at their location, tailored to their interests and passions, primarily using smartphones. Responsive websites, apps, web apps, and social channels must provide real-time access to routes, recommendations, schedules, maps, transportation, events, services, and any other information the tourist may need during their stay. Tourists increasingly access real-time information upon arrival at their destination instead of preparing in detail in advance.

In the Sharing stage, tourists share opinions, information, and content (texts, photos, videos, stories, reels) about their vacation in real-time or later (creating albums, retouching photos, or editing videos more structurally). This sharing is made possible by smartphones, increasingly widespread free Wi-Fi, and reduced data costs (5G, 4G) even while roaming. These valuable feedback (photos, videos, reviews, opinions, or general information about the trip or destination) influence other tourists’ decisions and the actions of operators and DMOs (Destination Management Organizations) that can capitalize on this information.

Bibliography

#TouristCustomerJourney; #TravelPlanning; #DreamExploreBook; #TravelStages; #TravelExperience; #TourismInsights; #DigitalTourism; #UNWTO; #TravelSharing; #SmartTravel

http://www.andrearossi.it/en/contacts/

“A tourist experience is what you remember”

Picture Credit: engy91

Using Porter’s classic strategic model, several factors have changed in the digital age, which are essential to understand in order to define an appropriate marketing and communication strategy (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 – Classic Porter’s Model (Author’s elaboration)

Indeed, with the advent of the Internet, low-cost flights, and the era of personalized tourist experiences, the following have changed:

• Industry Competition (rivalry): always very high and fragmented, making price increases risky and limiting creative innovation opportunities (which involve significant costs and time) while the barriers to entry are reduced by the internet.

• Newcomers: new countries like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), new technological platforms (Booking, Expedia, Trivago, Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Skyscanner, etc.), and low-cost flights that have quickly shifted traffic due to low prices.

• Substitute Products: new niche thematic experiences (e.g., pursuing passions like cosplay, film tourism, or Storm Chasing/Tornado Hunting), changes in vacation duration and periods (from the classic multi-week summer vacations of the ’70s-’80s to short breaks and multiple vacations in more modern times), and technologies that allow exploration and virtual visits from home (e.g., Youtube videos, Google Arts & Culture, Virtual Tours, Virtual Reality, Metaverse, etc.)

• Suppliers: labor market and creative and technological providers, who require increasingly updated and excellent qualifications, as well as the availability of local products, food and wine, and crafts, etc., which make the difference between an excellent and a mediocre offer.

• But above all, the Customers: who have the power of information and reviews from other tourists and an almost unlimited choice online (of destinations, accommodations, flights, packages, etc.), who want to live meaningful experiences and have shifted from passive consumers to active decision-makers for their vacations, thus overturning the balance of power that existed with operators and destinations.

For example, today tourists seek, among other experiences, Storm Chasing/Tornado Hunting, where tourists, accompanied by trained professionals, get close to or even inside storms and tornadoes. This is an extreme example, but it serves to illustrate how the world of tourism has changed with the advent of the Internet. Google alone records 25,000,000 results for the term “Storm Chasing.” (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 – Some Storm Chasing and Tornado Hunting offers found online. Google indicates 25 million results in the Storm Chasing search (Author’s elaboration)

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) [CTC, 2011] says that “a tourism product is what you buy, a tourist experience is what you remember”, or in other words, a tourism experience actively connects and relates tourists with the local area (and preferably with locals) and lets them live authentic and deeply engaging experiences based on their passions. More and more tourists are transitioning from observers/visitors of attractions and territories to seekers of specific experiences tailored to their personalities, interests, needs, and passions.

Of course, no sector is static, including tourism, and it is necessary to continue observing changes and future trends to stay up-to-date and understand the future of tourism and how to adapt one’s business and offerings accordingly.

Communication is also affected by these changes in which the tourist is at the center and wants relevant, targeted, pertinent, personalized messages without wasting time on unnecessary interruptions. The shift is from paper to cloud, desktop to mobile, “leave a message” to “always on,” and most importantly, from sending messages to potential tourists to searching online for what tourists actually want.

Bibliography

Photo and Picture Credits: Andrea Rossi (Author); engy91

#touristexperience #digitaltourism #marketingstrategy #communicationstrategy #customization #nicheexperiences #StormChasing #TornadoHunting #localproducts #virtualtourism #travelmemories #BRICS #lowcostflights #Portersmodel #customerpower