Whether you’re a DMO, tourism or leisure attraction or a destination – intelligent marketing strategies and campaigns are vital for ensuring customers know all about you, and your unique offering.
As experts in destination marketing, r//evolution has planned marketing campaigns for a wide range of attractions, destinations and tourism brands and we’re here to help you too. If you’re not sure where to start, this short guide will walk you through the main factors you should be considering when planning a destination marketing or tourism marketing campaign.
Understand the target market of your destination
We recommend producing buyer personas to help guide the creation of your marketing plan. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer. These include demographic information as well as their interests, where they go to find information to plan holidays or experiences, any challenges or barriers they may have when considering visiting your destination or attraction, and what kind of experiences they’re looking for.
You may have multiple personas for your tourism or leisure brand and that’s expected – your attraction or destination may cater for family audiences as well as single travellers, or it may appeal to foodies and adventure thrill seekers alike. Once you’ve conducted research to identify your buyer personas you should then have a solid foundation from which to build your marketing plan; you will understand better where your target audience go to find information to help you choose the most effective marketing channels, and what appeals to them most, so you can tailor messaging and content to engage with them more successfully. If you need help creating your personas - take a look at this free ebook.
This is also where you need to get to grips with whether your reach needs to be regional, national or international – as this will have implications on how you plan and roll out your campaign.
Align your destination marketing with your business objectives
When it comes to planning your destination marketing campaign you need to understand what you’re trying to achieve. Set marketing goals that align with your wider business objectives (so have these at the front of your mind when setting your marketing goals) and think about how they work together.
Remember, if you don’t have goals for each of your tourism marketing campaigns, you’ll have nothing to measure the results against. When you’re creating a destination marketing campaign – knowing exactly how you will evaluate its effectiveness is vital, otherwise you’ll fail to understand the impact your campaign had on your organisation’s performance.
Stating that you want to increase footfall, raise brand awareness or increasing bookings is not enough. Your destination marketing goals need to be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Rather than saying you want to increase room bookings to support the organisation’s revenue goals – your goal could be: to increase family room bookings by 20% compared with the same period of the previous year during the upcoming summer period.
Of course, for this goal to be achievable there will need to be activity that focuses on this target demographic to drive the increased bookings and the appropriate figures need to be available to track and evaluate on the number of room bookings, comparing it to previous periods.
Identify effective channels and content
Use previous campaigns to inform your marketing activity and plan. Consider what kinds of content and platforms have been effective for your brand previously – for example is Facebook a great way to reach your customers, or have sponsored listings on TripAdvisor led to increased bookings in the past? Try to have an integrated combination of channels to increase the number of touchpoints your audience has with your brand to maintain awareness within your key market.
When making decisions about channels and content remember to always keep your buyer personas in mind. When you build your personas you should have considered what messages appeal to your ideal customer – and you can use these throughout your content to ensure it’s ticking all the right boxes for your target audience.
Content creation is key to helping your potential customers make a purchase decision – building awareness and educating them about your great offering. Since much research is now done online, ensuring your content is optimised for digital channels is vital – don’t underestimate the power of rich media and SEO (search engine optimisation).
By making informed, strategic decisions about your content types, messaging and channels, your marketing campaigns will be increasingly relevant for the customers you’re looking to target, helping ensure your destination marketing campaign is a success.
If you need support with your destination or tourism marketing – we’re here to help. Whether it’s a one-off campaign or putting together a detailed marketing strategy, talk to our destination marketing specialists.