The marketing of any location is a delicate and complex process with a simple intended result: to create a “destination” that can spur positive economic impacts.

Destination promotion is typically a result of a local government entity or convention and visitors bureau that relies heavily on the commerce spurred by visitation to sustain jobs and grow the economy.  It additionally creates compelling exposure that leads to both economic growth and a sense of place.  

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Five Rules for Effective Tourism Advertising

1. There Are High Stakes, So Heighten Your Discipline     

In today’s advertising world, it is fairly acceptable to assess advertising by testing to identify what resonates with the audience or not. With tourism marketing, when you simply test an advertisement, you are risking the destination’s image, affecting the political landscape, and potentially impacting the economy.

While testing is still vital and part of any good advertising process, there is an added importance to invest more heavily in the research and planning process prior to implementing a marketing plan. People subconsciously correlate poor advertising with diminished destination experiences; likewise, mindful advertising should set the stage for a compelling experience ahead. Don’t leave destination advertising to amateurs.

2. Crystalize The Unique Qualities Of The Destination in Your Audience’s Mind        

It’s possible to order anything you can imagine today online. “Without leaving your office” is a thing of the past. It can be “without leaving your bed” since we have access to all of the world’s resources from our cell phones and have become accustomed to one-click buying.

As a destination, you are asking someone to get out of bed, leave their office, and trek to a new location. To achieve this, you need to find something that resonates with them. What resonates with everyone is new. Use whatever is unique and different about your destination habitually and intermittently throughout your advertising.

Tell them what’s unique and tell them why the destination is suited for them. Compel their senses. Remind them. Remind them again. And avoid typical travel clichés. 

3. Make It Something That Will Stick In Their Mind And Be Worthy Of Talking About         

Unlike a typical commodity and online buying process, this will take time. People need to plan, coordinate with others, arrange experiences and accommodations, and prepare a budget. A single advertisement is unlikely to produce a windfall of new visitors. Repetition of the mindful destination campaign through various platforms should keep your audience intrigued, interested, and engaged.   

Even more important becomes the “stickiness” of the advertisement. This is true of the words used, the visuals presented, and the connection made which reinforces the importance of the unique qualities you use in your advertising.   

4. Help Remove Your Audience’s Barriers    

Even budget-friendly destinations have their costs. Ancillary travel expenses always exist. What about the time away from home? Someone to watch the kids or pets? Time away from work? 

There may be numerous concerns in your audience’s mind. While you can’t address every unique situation, you can make the case through mindful marketing that a planned vacation or staycation may be exactly what they need.  Create the want and make them desire the destination!

5. Provide Explicit Next Steps To Lead To Action  

Making it easy for people to plan is key. They will appreciate the assistance and be more apt to pull the trigger on the destination commitment.  Help them be clear about why they should buy the ticket, book their hotel room, and begin to plan their itineraries.  

Specifying clear next steps is true of any advertising. With destination marketing, in particular, it means action towards visitation.

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When you are promoting a destination, or creating a “destination” from a place, rules are to be followed. 

Be disciplined about the quality of your advertising. Highlight what makes the destination unique, making the travel worthwhile. Make it so interesting they will remember and talk about it with others.  Remove barriers and compel them to take steps towards planning their next vacation.