We already looked at a few best practices to digitize destination marketing.
We also suggested concrete strategies to help you grow in a digital environment.
In this post, we’re going to tie everything together with examples. Below, we’ll look at the best digital campaigns by destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to serve as inspiration for your own initiatives in 2019.
Ready? Let’s go.
Foodtopia – packaging the local food scene as a marketable asset
Asheville is a small town in North Carolina, US. However, it offers some pretty big cuisine.
This is why the local DMO – Explore Asheville – came up with a campaign to package and promote their food scene.
Foodtopia is a culinary community that unites local food and drink establishments, as well as local farmers.
The great thing about this concept is how much easier it gets to promote a destination’s food scene.
Instead of relying just on the individual efforts of bars and restaurants, Asheville has taken things a step further by using one of their strong points – cuisine – to influence their destination’s branding and develop their image as a place that offers great food.
Apart from the website, Foodtopia also has its own Facebook fan page with more than 25,000 followers at the time of writing.
Combined with word of mouth and Asheville’s substantial reputation as a top tourist destination, this concept can lead to serious results.
Take, for example, the Asheville Food Tours which now boast more than 1,000 TripAdvisor reviews and a 5-star rating:
Or the Eating Asheville tours which also help people discover the city’s cuisine:
While it’s difficult to know how much of their success can be attributed to Foodtopia, one thing is sure:
There are creative ways to package certain aspects of your location and promote them effectively using digital channels – just like Asheville did. This can help you drive more visitors and increase success for your local suppliers and business partners.
Colors of Carlsbad – using data to inform campaign decisions
Carlsbad is a city near San Diego, California.
The local tourism board, Visit Carlsbad, devised their campaign “Colors of Carlsbad” in a pretty interesting way.
Working alongside specialist firm Pantone, they analyzed around 80 Instagram images from 23 travel influencers who had a combined following of more than 17 million people.
The analysis yielded four specific colors that seemed to make images more attractive. These colors were used in the campaign, hence the name “Colors of Carlsbad”. You can see the end result in the video below:
This campaign is a good example of using both data analysis and influencers to drive destination marketing decisions. As a consequence, Carlsbad is in a much better position for utilizing social media as a way to popularize their destination. As Visit Carlsbad’s executive director Sam Ross put it:
“Beyond our natural features, Carlsbad is home to a bustling local art scene, ground-breaking restaurants and breweries, a heritage of adventure and action sports, and a Southern Californian approach to wellness. Now more than ever, our visitors are interested in not only partaking in these unique experiences but sharing them with their followers near and far.”
The Faroe Islands – Turning “Street View” into “Sheep View”
The Faroe Islands are a gorgeous archipelago located in-between two always-popular tourist destinations – Iceland and Scotland.
They have tons of exciting sights there for travelers, but getting there can prove challenging. The Faroe Islanders were waiting a long time for Google’s mapping cars so they took it upon themselves to give the world a “bird’s-eye-view” of their beautiful landscapes.
Well, actually, it was a “sheep’s-eye-view”. Sheep are the most populous inhabitants of the Faroe Islands. In fact, there 83,000 of them according to campaign manager Durita Dahl Andreassen.
So what was the campaign like? The Faroe Islanders strapped 360° cameras to some of the many sheep that wander freely all over the country. Andreassen then uploaded the footage to the Google Street View, or as she calls it: “Sheep View”.
This resulted in a unique look at these amazing islands which 49,000 people (give or take a few) call home. Their creative solution represents an authentic way-of-life as well as the unique benefits for travelers. And that was achieved using an unlikely marketing tool – Google Maps.
Hong Kong – using virtual reality in travel the right way
As we already know, virtual reality in the travel industry could be a very effective method for creating engaging experiences for travelers.
This partnership allowed sky100 visitors to experience what the city was like back in the sixties and eighties, showcasing Hong Kong in an exciting and unforgettable way.
While we should expect nothing less than a tech metropolis like Hong Kong, a campaign like this is achievable for most destinations nowadays.
Apart from word of mouth referrals from visitors, it can also lead to considerable press coverage, as was the case with Hong Kong’s “VR Time Travel” campaign.
There are many ways to utilize technology when promoting a destination.
Some of them are now considered “best practices” while others require a little creativity and a willingness to take a risk.
In this post, we focused on the latter so you have a source of inspiration for your next destination marketing campaign.
Whether it’s by using unconventional marketing tools like the Faroe Islands or revising the way you package attractions like Asheville, we hope this article has given you ideas to reach your destination marketing goals faster than you ever imagined.
This blog post is part of our series on destination marketing. You can find the rest of the articles below:
- 10 Destination Marketing Strategies to Help You Grow Quickly
- 8 Tips for Successful Destination Branding
- How to Use Social Media for Destination Marketing
- The Top Destination Marketing Trends in 2020 and Beyond
- How to Get Destination Marketing Right in a Digital World
- The Most Useful Destination Marketing Tools for Any Budget
- 5 Reasons Why DMOs Should Work with Bloggers
- How Destinations Should Position Themselves in the Tours & Activities Market
- Storytelling for DMOs: Make Your Destination Come Alive