Summer break has come to an end for most, and whether you got out of the city, county, state, country, (probably not the world, but maybe!), we all experience some type of travel or tourism through the season. However, have you ever thought to yourself what these travel/tourism hot spots do to properly market themselves to the people? For example, how did we all of a sudden find out that Asheville, NC was the spot to visit? Today, we are going to take a deeper dive into some popular scenarios that marketers and DMOs have to overcome before they ever get to the promised land of tourism marketing.
Low Attendance Tunnel Vision
Now it’s no big surprise that most tourism brands experience lower attendance outside of summer–especially in the winter in the Midwest climate that loves to challenge us. How do we combat this low attendance and make our favorite destination spots still exciting places to go?
thunder::tech Senior Account Manager, Kim Boggs states that one of her best practices with her travel/tourism clients is to look at the full mix. Take one tourism client’s low attendance and compare it with another client. What are they doing differently? Something that sticks out is the seasonality of events. Locals may be unlikely to visit somewhere that displays the same attractions or messaging year-round, especially if they have visited previously. However, if these cities, museums, halls of fame, etc. periodically change up their events and offerings, this has the potential to constantly bring in visitors, new and old, throughout the year! Tradition is one thing, keeping things fresh within that tradition is better.
Keeping Clients Current
One of the things that clients rely on us for the most is recommendations. How can we take our knowledge and education on the current trends and merge that with what our clients can be doing to improve? It’s our job as marketers to take tactics such as the “Hero, Hub, Help” video strategy framework, and show clients that the video that we just shot for them can be much more than just a TV ad. Or, that three easy steps such as knowing your brand, knowing your customer and getting cozy with data can impact the end result in building a better brand experience just by connecting dots that once lived in different departments. Both of these strategies have the potential to drive more people to visit, and it is our job to remind our clients how they can most efficiently make an impact and beat out the competition.
One thing that sticks out to us as a challenge with travel and tourism clients is that clients can often feel that there is a “silver bullet” that will result in outstanding attendance numbers, and solve all their problems, but that is not usually the case in any industry. It’s best to level set process and expectations right away. We don’t want clients purchasing a billboard as part of a media buy and immediately expecting their numbers to rise 50 percent! In some cases we can measure the direct impact of marketing with tickets sales for example, but in other areas of the industry, such as DMOs, it’s much harder to prove impact when you’re really a publisher and promoter.
One of the most important things to accomplish when dealing with any client is to get acclimated in their environment. For travel/tourism, take a visit to the location, and get a feel for what the consumers are thinking. Then after this is accomplished, brainstorming is essential! Get your team together and plot a magnitude of strategies that can help bring visitors in while working to overcome the always-present bigger fish, such as website functionality. Deliver all your ideas to the client, and have a discussion on what they did/didn’t like, and why. This will help get the process moving for getting new ideas implemented.
To tie everything up, take the low points that a client may be going through (low attendance, out of the loop on the latest trends, lack of immediate attention), and use that to your advantage. It’s our job to help clients lift up their low points. Provide ideas, recommendations, be creative and show clients how much fun it is to get out of the proverbial box and share their stories with visitors near and far!
Want to learn more about the successful strategies we’ve developed to help clients out of these above scenarios? Reach out to the team today!