Destination Marketing

Discovering the 12 Can’t Miss Elements of Destination Marketing

By: Frank DePino | April 5, 2024

Destination marketing is a must for travel and hospitality businesses looking to market services toward specific locales. By touting the benefits of your destination, you can inspire users to book a stay. What kinds of strategies should a travel and hospitality company use in its campaigns?

Here are some top destination marketing strategies:

  • Audience data
  • Focus on key markets
  • Storytelling
  • Social media marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Online ads
  • Visual marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Destination branding
  • Experiential marketing

This full guide to destination marketing for the hospitality and travel industries will help you attract more customers to your destinations. We’ll present definitions, benefits, and tactics to help you thoroughly understand and implement tourism destination marketing.

Destination marketing strives to inspire customers to travel to specific locales.

What Is Destination Marketing?

Let’s get underway with a definition.

Destination marketing strives to inspire customers to travel to specific locales. As we’ve mentioned, most businesses within the travel industry or hospitality sectors use this form of marketing.

You might assume that the average person needs no impetus to take a vacation. After all, according to marketing firm Amra & Elma, the travel ad industry expenditure was 36 percent higher in 2022 than in 2020.

However, people do need the motivation to take a vacation, whether because they have to set a budget or take time off from work (and it’s usually both). That requires scheduling a trip well in advance.

Then there’s the matter of selecting a place for a vacation. Whether a person wants to globetrot or stay closer to home, they have innumerous vacation destinations to select from. It can be tough to narrow it down to just one.

You want to position your vacation destination as the most optimal choice, and this is where destination marketing shines.

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The Benefits of Destination Marketing

Destination marketing benefits more than your travel or hospitality company but also the destination itself. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages.

Drums up Interest in an Area

Sure, anyone could tell you to visit sunny Florida, tropical Hawaii, or beautiful Jamaica. It doesn’t take much to inspire someone to make those kinds of decisions.

What about those rarely-visited locales, those hidden gems that have far lower tourism numbers? You could put a spot like that on the map with a good marketing plan.

This directly benefits your company too. You could earn credit if the boon to this place holds, and it becomes a lauded enough travel destination.

Customers might look to you to recommend other such hidden gems with lower tourism numbers so they can enjoy a vacation that’s off the beaten path.

Can Increase Area Economy

What happens when more people flock to an area? That’s simple!

Hotels and resorts in the area experience an influx of income, as do restaurants and shops. Further, the location gets a much-needed economic boost.

Meeting resource Successful Meetings published the results of a 2014 study from the Destination & Travel Foundation. The study is based on a dearth of research that stretches back more than 20 years and includes over 200 cities. According to the findings:

 “destinations that place a high priority on marketing their brands and amenities realize significantly greater employment and economic growth, well beyond the visitor economy.” 

The study goes on to mention that destination marketing boosts transportation infrastructure by improving supply logistics and accessibility. The trickle-down effects of this can reach other sectors far outside travel and hospitality.

The relationships, familiarity, and awareness that tourism destination marketing secures can increase the rate of investments in the area.

More so, trade shows and conventions will want to come through, further strengthening the economy and introducing new business opportunities.

Strategies and Ideas to Market a Tourist Destination

12 Strategies and Ideas to Market a Tourist Destination

Are you ready to put together your destination marketing plan? This section has 12 ideas and strategies for finding your target audience, using social media, working with influencers, destination management, and making those little-known spots into popular destinations!

1. Know Your Audience

Before promoting any viable travel destination, you must have an innate understanding of who comprises your audience.

If you haven’t recently issued a survey asking about your audience’s opinions and motivations, do so before launching your destination marketing campaign.

You also want demographics and geographic information to go with your psychographics.

Next, you can divide your audience into various segments. Focus on information like income, location, marital status, and number of children.

This data will tell you what kind of vacation to promote to your various audience groups. For example, it would tremendously waste your resources to advertise a family fun getaway to a household with no children.

It might not behoove you to market a romantic getaway to a family with a new baby either.

2. Focus on Your Key Markets

As you research and segment your audience, sit down with stakeholders within your destination marketing company to identify your key markets.

Using income as an example, you won’t want to target lower-income segments of your audience at this time, as a vacation isn’t in the cards for them. They don’t have the budget.

Instead, you should pay more attention to the subsets of your audience that can afford a vacation.

3. Utilize Storytelling

Destination marketing is all about the richest, finest details. You want to make your audience feel like they’re at your destination.

They should feel the sand beneath their toes, the warmth of the surf as it embraces them, the sounds of the gulls calling in the distance, and the smell of the cool ocean breeze.

How do you stir those kinds of emotions? Through storytelling!

You can sell your audience on the resort destination by delving deep into its long history over the centuries. This will fascinate history buffs, tickle the fancy of travel nerds, and inspire other curious parties to look into the resort.

Some influencers are Market a Tourist Destination with the help of Social media marketing.

4. Use Social Media Marketing

Marketing resource Oberlo reports that in 2023, 4.89 billion people use social media. That’s a tremendous number of possible vacation-goers you can reach with your marketing.

One platform that’s rising in the ranks that destination marketers must pay attention to is TikTok. Some say TikTok transcends even social media and qualifies more as an entertainment platform.

TikTok does take over the lion’s share of social media users, reports Insider Intelligence. In 2023, 834.3 million social media users are on TikTok. By 2025, the number should rise to 955.3 million.

Whether it’s TikTok or another social media platform where your business chooses to put its focus, tracking social media metrics matters.

What kind of reach do your posts get? Ideally, you should see this number go up steadily as your campaign progresses.

What is your engagement rate like? An engagement rate should be commensurate with your number of followers. A good engagement rate for an account with 1,000 followers differs a lot from an account with 10,000 followers.

You want a large subset of your followers to engage with the content you post.

Finally, has your travel or hospitality company attracted more reviews by posting more actively on social media? What about higher ratings? Hopefully, you can answer yes to both questions.

5. Embrace Influencer Marketing

Do you feel like your destination marketing strategy isn’t enough to drive people to travel to a location that’s not yet booming with tourism? If you can’t do it alone, use influencer marketing to help.

Influencers have a large audience of devoted followers who will try products and services the influencer recommends. Partnering with an influencer can mean big business for your hospitality company and lots of revenue for the area as a whole.

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6. Run Online Ads

Our next tourism destination marketing tactic is online advertising.

Online ads run the gamut from email ads to video ads, social media ads, native ads, affiliate ads, and display ads.

Depending on your budget and the kinds of ads you think will perform the best with your target market, you might use a little bit of all the ads above.

We can’t stress enough the importance of budgeting for online ads. As much as you might wish to attract vacationers to a unique destination, you can’t put your hotel or resort in the red to do it.  

7. Use Visuals

People are highly visual. As much as storytelling can set the scene for what staying at a vacation destination is like, your audience wants to see what’s in store for them.

You can clue them in by offering rich visuals on your website, landing pages, and social media accounts.

Post videos (more on this in a moment) and even consider using VR travel previews if you want to create the most immersive experience possible.

Video marketing is an important way to communicate with your audience.

8. Incorporate Video Marketing

We’ve already touched on what a massive vehicle video can be for your destination marketing campaign, but let’s delve a little deeper.

Video allows you to showcase visuals of your resort and the surrounding area in a way that photos alone cannot do. It’s also more affordable for many companies than VR.

According to a 2023 report from HubSpot,  92 percent of marketers have reported that video positively influences their ROI.

Many social media platforms support video, including original video-based platforms like YouTube and TikTok to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Get out there and make original content showcasing your destination!

9. Aim to Get More Return Visitors

Your destination marketing company must strive to attract as much repeat traffic to your resorts and hotels as possible.

How do you do that? Well, for one, you need to create an experience worth coming back for. Your hotel or resort should prioritize clean premises, an extensive range of amenities and entertainment options, and premier customer service at every turn.

You might begin a referral program where your customers can earn money off their next vacation by referring X number of family, friends, or colleagues.

You can also offer an exclusive discount code where a customer can save Y amount if they book by a specific date.

10. Make Your Destination Stand Out from Others

What’s unique about your vacation destination? Surely, it’s something, from its exotic location and rich history to the sterling amenities and entertainment options.

As many special elements as the destination has, play them up in all aspects of your marketing campaign.

11. Use Destination Branding

You should also rely on destination branding.

Your hotel brand includes your tone, communication style, logo, and design aesthetics. Having a distinctive brand further separates you from your competitors and gives you a memorable appeal that your audience won’t soon forget.

12. Try Experiential Marketing

Finally, we recommend experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing or participation marketing.

Experiential marketing includes engaging ideas, events, and activities at your vacation destination that make for a more memorable experience for attendees.

Mediaboom is the right company to achieve great results in your destination marketing.

Work with a Destination Marketing Agency

If you’re struggling to get your tourism marketing plan off the ground, a destination marketing agency could be exactly what you need.

Digital marketing company Mediaboom offers services to support and execute your marketing strategy, including branding, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and more.

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Schedule Your Free Consultation

Seeking to elevate your luxury business? Let Mediaboom guide you. Secure your exclusive, free consultation with our luxury marketing experts today.

Conclusion

Destination marketing for hospitality industry professionals bolsters more business to your vacation destination, which in turn stimulates the economy and has trickle-down benefits for the area as a whole.

Do you need a marketing agency to help you achieve more of your goals and launch winning campaigns? Contact Mediaboom today!


By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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