Marketing Your Destination’s Uniqueness

By: Simpleview

What makes your destination can’t-miss? What won’t visitors experience anywhere else in the world? What are the locals most proud of? 

Why is your location unique?

Nuances make all the difference when marketing your destination’s uniqueness. You know this when you’re immersed in a destination, but how do you convey these distinctions to someone who is considering visiting your city? Fortunately in today’s digital world there are a number of stages on which to tell your destination’s story, and when you pair these stages with targeted content marketing strategy, you ensure your story reaches the right audiences … the ones truly looking to connect with your city.

Your Website 
Think of your website as the digital gateway to your destination, opening the door to visitors to display all your location has to offer. Your website offers travel planners inspiration. So go beyond what they may already know from other travel guides or word of mouth. Most people know the Golden Gate Bridge is a sight to see in San Francisco, but do they know about the the Exploratorium? 

The Experience Columbus team promotes the “Made in CBUS Trail”, a curated collection of local makers—from cold-pressed juicers to craft brewers, handcrafted candlemakers to jewelry designers—that can be found as one of several experiences on their destination site. While the trail is promoted through their blog and “Made in CBUS” landing page, throughout the site anything made in Columbus features a visual call-out, which is a “Made in CBUS” icon designed to quickly deliver truly destination-specific experiences. 
 
Pull your site visitors into experiences in with an interactive itinerary builder based on personas, blogs from locals, and user-generated social media content. These content options personalize their travel planning experience and provide more focus to specific areas of interest.

Microsites 

Microsites offer you the option to give interested travel planners more targeted information about specific events or activities of interest. Go beyond a listing to detail all the events that make up the day-long or multi-day celebration with an easy-to-navigate, focused microsite linked from your main site. Lake Charles, Louisiana, for instance, celebrates Mardi Gras with parades, dancing, a gumbo cook-off and more, annually, and illustrates all the facets of the experience with a Mardi Gras microsite. The history, events, parade routes, and ways to get involved—from sponsorships to parade rules—are all gathered in one place, along with access to brochures, a Mardi Gras Guide, and an app.

User-Generated Content 

Social media has the power to inspire and influence. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content. So turn fans into brand ambassadors. Bring  positive posts into your content strategy and tell stories visually from varying perspectives. Collect, curate, tag, and filter social content like Instagram photos with the right tools, inspiring travelers with authentic, real-time visitor experiences, like Valley Forge & Montgomery County PA.  

Don’t stop there, though. Develop a relationship with content creators on social networks. Work with influencers or micro influencers. You’ll not only add to your targeted content, you’ll potentially improve destination awareness.

Email Marketing/Marketing Automation 

As influential as social media is proving to be lately, a message is five times more likely to be seen through email than Facebook and you are six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than from a tweet. Email marketing also goes beyond your website to personalize your message and keep travelers up to date with information relevant to them. If you make your targeted email messaging valuable, it will be sharable, too, in addition to being a measurable and economical piece of your marketing strategy. Know your audience before drafting your message. Include a clear subject line and call-to-action. Use analytics to target when to send and to whom. 

Marketing automation uses data to help you further target and personalize email or social media campaigns to deliver the right messages at the optimum times, potentially increasing open rates, click-through-rates, conversions and revenue. While enewsletters and one-off email campaigns will always have a place in your email marketing strategy, automated email marketing tools and campaigns help you deliver relevant messages at the right times to encourage action.

Mobile Apps 

Adding Mobile Apps to your targeted content marketing strategy personalizes and focuses the destination experience, making it mobile, valuable in market, and encouraging visitors to turn inspiration into action. Think of your mobile travel app as narrowing your marketing focus to more directly address specific traveler needs after your website has opened the door to their interest. Don’t recreate your website. You don’t need to do this if you have a responsive site that’s accessible by mobile. Instead, use your app to address a traveler’s specific question or problem. Your website delivered inspiration, let your mobile app provide information. Better yet, include a content mix, with specifically focused informational and inspirational elements and push notifications. Help visitors navigate your destination, organize their activities, and experience every distinctive opportunity that fits their current travel persona. Take visitors on driving tours; help meeting/summit attendees organize their schedule, take notes, and get information on speakers; inspire users to dive into seasonal events; encourage fans, players, and coaches to make the most of sports tournament time in the area; organize fam trips; or guide foodies through food and drink experiences. 

No matter which stages you use to present the story of your destination, make sure you inspire, inform, creatively storytell, and most of all, personalize your messages. Know your audience and speak to them in a way that demonstrates your destination has experiences—nuances—that will connect with them as equally unique visitors. As Ann Marinovich, SVP of Content Partnerships at Forbes Media recently said at the Innovation Enterprise Content Strategy Innovation Summit, “Ensure your stories, insights, and points of view consistently reach and resonate with the right audience.” 

How do you do this? Pay attention to data. Mitchell Pavao, SVP Digital Media for Leaf Media, said at the same content summit, “Always pay attention to your user behaviors to remain relevant.” 

Test content. Measure results. Listen to feedback, be it through social media outlets or other responses. 

Takeaways:

  • Your website: The Digital Gateway to Your Destination (Inspiration)
  • Microsites: Beyond Listings (Focused, in-depth event information)
  • User-Generated Content: Turn Fans into Brand Ambassadors (Influence/storytelling)
  • Email: Relevant, Valuable, Shareable (Personalization)
  • Mobile Apps: Engagement Beyond Your Website (In-market focus/personalization)