The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

You Should Still Market Your Destination in Challenging Times


Don’t Miss the Latest News and Resources in Tourism

Fall is here! Just like that, summer is over and a new season is upon us. This week, we have some great resources for you as you plan for fall and winter campaigns. Learn about branding rural communities, video marketing in tourism, Google Business Profiles for your stakeholders and more. Keep reading!

Investing in Branding Will Shape the Future of Rural Communities

 A recent study examined Americans’ migration to smaller cities and rural communities. Data showed that of all the respondents, only 12% considered finding a job their primary goal. Instead, 42% reported that finding the balance between the right job and the right place was a goal, while 46% placed the highest importance on finding the right place to live. This means that rural communities have a valuable opportunity to rebrand themselves from sleepy small towns into thriving communities full of opportunity.

Destinations that have proven to be the most successful in this new initiative are partnering with marketing agencies to create brand new approaches and connect the dots between amenities and identity.

“You never want to make a community branding process about a logo or a line because it’s just so much more than that,” Ed Barlow, senior vice president at North Star Place Branding + Marketing, said. “Every place has something distinct and ownable and special.”

Finding what makes your destination stand out is the first step in creating your own destination’s brand, leading to a more unified approach to tourism and economic development in the region. Learn more about community branding here.

Video Marketing Is the Most Effective Way to Attract Visitors

Using video is revolutionizing the way DMOs are promoting to visitors and the way visitors are getting their travel information. Giving visitors an inside look into your destination’s offerings will pique their interest into what it would be like to visit. In rural destinations, video marketing is a tactic that is still largely underutilized. Planning and executing a video marketing campaign can set your destination ahead of the competition.

When it comes to planning your video marketing campaign, there are some important steps to follow:
1. Set your goals. What do you hope to achieve by launching this campaign? Who are you trying to reach and why? Identifying these goals sets the foundation for your entire campaign.
2. Figure out what will resonate with your target audience. Will they prefer scenes of families having fun, or will silly humor be more up their alley? Deciding on this will make your videos more powerful and effective.
3. Find the video platform that best suits your needs. Perhaps you’re looking to target millennials on Instagram or you have a focus on visiting families who pay attention to Facebook. Evaluate the best platform to reach your audience.
4. Consider which resources you’ll need. You may need to invest in some video equipment, hire a videographer or, depending on your goals, need to engage a marketing agency to achieve an overall strategy.
5. Tell an authentic and engaging story. Decide on the story you want to tell and develop creative ways to present it to your audience.

Once your campaign is in motion, make sure you also take time to assess your progress. Monitor audience engagement and stakeholder feedback, continuing to implement practices that are working and eliminating practices that are not. Honing in on an effective video marketing strategy will set you and your destination up for success.

Putting Your Destination On the Map

Google Business Profile is a powerful tool for DMOs who are looking to increase awareness about their destination and earn credibility with visitors. Without an optimized GMB listing, visitors won’t be able to easily find your destination’s amenities. Searchers can see a business’s hours, reviews, photos, location and more with GMB, making it a valuable asset in destination marketing. If visitors can’t find the information they need about a certain amenity, it significantly decreases the likelihood that they’ll visit it.

One misperception about Google Business Profile is that it’s only relevant for local searchers. While it is important for local searches, these profiles can be found from all over the country. Visitors who are planning a trip in the near future will be looking up potential locations to visit while at your destination. Don’t let your stakeholders pass up on an opportunity to catch a visitor’s eye with clear information and quality photos.

Encouraging your local amenities and businesses to create and develop their GMB listings boosts your area’s organic search results. Spread the word about the value of GMB for your local stakeholders and watch the online and in-person traffic increase.

Creating Assuring Content in Difficult Times

There’s no doubt that the world feels a little topsy-turvy nowadays. Even the most rural communities can feel the effects of nationwide inflation and political uncertainty. While this might make some DMOs lean away from promoting travel, that’s the wrong move. Instead, it’s in times like these that tourism marketing holds more opportunity than ever to market to potential visitors. This article from Marketing Insider Group highlights how you can create content that is engaging, accessible and, most importantly, assuring.

When it comes to marketing in uncertain times, it’s important to maintain your presence in the digital landscape. How? These two ideas will help you put together content that will help you stay at the forefront of visitors’ minds, no matter the consequences.

1. Don’t ignore the problems. Instead, address your visitors’ concerns. Whether they are Covid guidelines or inflation reports for your area, be open and honest with them. Provide clear directions and suggestions and you’ll earn your visitors’ trust.
2. Offer opportunities for your visitors to escape from the craziness. They want a break from the news and busy school and work schedules. Offer them an opportunity to get away from it all for a relaxing weekend or vacation at your destination.

It’s no easy task to market tourism in these times. There is a fine line between seriousness and silliness that needs to be carefully monitored. Take time to plan out your content thoughtfully and considerately. Taking the right measures and implementing creativity will help you win over your audience successfully.

  • Paige Schamberg

    Content Production Manager at Bull Moose Marketing. A lover of literature and a sunshine enthusiast who probably drinks too much tea. Connect with me on LinkedIn @paigeschamberg

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