A look inside the mind of our tourism and entertainment marketing guru
Convincing your target audience to take a fun trip or vacation should be easy right? Not quite. Travelers are busy and value where they spend their time–and money–more than ever. Options are numerous, so how do you go about making your location stand out?
Charlotte Mabry is our staff’s cultural aficionado with 10 years of experience. She’s handled many of Vimarc’s tourism clients and is a great resource if you are looking to push more foot traffic to your attraction. That’s why we put her on the hot seat and asked her to explain six of the hottest topics in the industry.
1. What is most important for tourist destinations to figure out when they begin promoting themselves?
To know what they’re offering from an experiential standpoint. People visit other cities or local attractions out of curiosity/to learn something new/and to say they’ve been there, all with the desire to make a memory. Also, encourage happy travelers to share their experience through their own channels. People often trust like-minded travelers more than a tourism marketer.
2. What would you say to locations that think no one will ever consider visiting them?
Understand your differentiators – know what sets your destination apart AND TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT. But don’t just tell them about it, tell them why it matters. Frame your destination in terms of the experience visitors can expect and not just the attraction and amenities you offer.
3. What do you think established destinations have to learn from those just starting to get their name out there, and vice-versa?
Established destinations need to remember to always evolve, they cannot get stale — otherwise interest will decline. New itineraries, updated attractions or events, or even new ways to package your tried-and-true offerings can help you stay relevant.
Destinations that are just beginning can gain a quick following just by being fresh and new, but that’s not sustainable unless there’s a plan. Be consistent in your message and persistent in your delivery across all available channels.
4. Compelling storytelling seems to be one effective way to advertise within the tourism industry. What are some other tactics that you’ve found to be successful that resonate with audiences?
If attractions can highlight their place of business with something iconic and easily recognizable, it serves as an extension of their brand and gets patrons involved, playing into their experience. Anything that provides a photo opportunity or social media engagement element will organically help generate buzz. People love to tell others where they are and what they’re doing. Even if you don’t have a giant Louisville Slugger or iconic statue, etc., we’ve seen some good results with branded filters that are available in certain locations that put a cute or clever spin on visitors’ experience and make the photos more shareable.
5. When developing a marketing plan, how vital is it to understand who the current tourists are and the positive (or negative) impact they have on the local businesses and industries?
This is of utmost importance. The marketing plan should clearly define your goals and the strategies and tactics to achieve them. This includes who your audiences are, where they are, and how to motivate them to action. It’s the critical foundation of any marketing effort and should be the roadmap to keep you on budget and moving your message forward.
6. Whether it be direct economic impact relating to tourism or audience interaction with the advertising, what are some key metrics you look for when gauging the success of a campaign?
Sales and foot traffic are your bread and butter – this is always the best measurement for success. There are other metrics that we look at that are specific to the advertising response, like website traffic, social media engagement, offer code redemption, etc., that allow us to adjust the tactics to optimize results.
We also believe in the power of good press. If your destination is being covered in news outlets, blogs and publications, it will extend your reach and relevance to your audience–and we can track those impressions as well.
Navigate any tricky tourism landscape with help from Charlotte and the Vimarc team. All we need is some info here to get started.