8 Tips for Successful Destination Branding

destination branding

Travel is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. People are spending trillions of dollars globally every year. Having a solid marketing strategy is definitely crucial for winning a chunk of that market. 

But meanwhile, something else has become increasingly important. In this аrticle, we will go beyond the successful strategy to explore its starting point – the brand building. 

Destination branding is not only part of the marketing strategy. It’s actually the foundation that creates a positive image and unique identity of every place. It also defines what will remain in visitors’ minds and memories. In other words, the complete performance of your destination. The journey, the experience, the long-lasting memories. 

Destination branding could be complex so a good understanding of the basics is essential. This article will go through its core components, as well as the marketing tactics you definitely need to consider when working on your brand. 

Below, we share our 8 keys for successful destination branding.

 

Set Clear Goals

Or in other words, your ways to:

  • improve your brand’s weaknesses
  • give your customers what they need
  • outperform your competitors

Establishing a successful brand goes far beyond the fancy logo. Take your time to understand what constitutes a brand and explore each element in detail. Carefully analyze your brand to compare and set a desired vision and concept. From fonts, palette and design to voice, letterheads, and prints – define the areas that require improvement. And make sure everything consistently reflects your values and vision. 

Let’s face some facts about destination branding. The rapid growth of travel and tourism has shifted the focus from the actual place towards the customers. To transform your brand into something that makes a difference you need to get to know your audience. 

Understanding the customer journey and where is your place in it is essential. Find out what attracts them and use it to define how you can capture their attention and interest – visually and conceptually. Be there when your customers need you!

Tip: In addition to actual and potential visitors, modern cities are attempting to create attractive propositions for stakeholders, residents and business owners. Don’t limit yourself to the traditional audience you’ve been targeting for years.

Last but not least – let’s think about distinction. Research your competitors and what they do. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Knowing that will help you distinguish your brand. Even if you offer similar experiences, it is important to present yourself in a unique way. 

 

Plan Ahead

Once you find the above answers, your goals will start building up in your mind to outline your main objectives. However, a goal without a plan is just a wish. 

So take a deep breath and create a timescale to follow and make the most of it. 

Set the key areas you want to improve and write down your ways to achieve that. Remember that destination branding requires time, effort and attention to detail. Some things will take a while to reach the desired audience and gain popularity. 

So relax and patiently follow your plan for action. And remember – there isn’t a successful strategy without a good plan so it’s always the right time to start building one!

 

Optimize Your Website

Brand building is all about consistency. And your website plays a significant role in brand formation. 

Studies show that first impressions of a website are formed within 0.05 seconds. Make sure that yours represents your destination’s identity and key advantages. 

Create a compelling design that catches attention. Build meaningful content that answers customers’ questions and engages with local aesthetics and character. 

Tip: You can make tours and activities bookable on your website with Regiondo’s booking software. This way, website visitors can book offers from local suppliers directly on your website, earning you commission and enhancing your profile as your destination’s central management body. Start your free trial today.  

How to Promote Tour Packages - Get started with Regiondo

 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Print

Print media has undergone some major challenges that led to new forms and types of advertising materials coming into existence. 

Brochures, flyers, banners, catalogs, billboards – they all come in your advantage when spreading the brand’s message. With the numerous services offered by mail delivery companies, you can easily reach thousands of potential tourists in your desired area – both locally and abroad. 

 

Enhance Authenticity with Instagram

Instagram is changing travel irreversibly and could play a significant role in the success of your destination branding. Here’s why: 

Travelers are getting tired of the staged marketing images we are all familiar with. They portray destinations in a very favorable, but also unrealistic way that often doesn’t meet our expectations. Instagram is the place that transforms the high-gloss image into something much more realistic and accessible.

To make the most of this platform, create hashtags and connect with influencers that can promote your destination and increase your reach within hours.  

 

Bring Your Brand to Life with Video Marketing

Tourism is no longer solely dependent upon the existence of resources and cultural heritage to attract visitors. Nowadays, visuals are the actual cornerstone of the travel industry, as selling intangible experiences requires strong and attractive visual arguments. 

Moreover, they are critical in the inspiration and decision-making stage of contemporary travelers. Understand how your destination is perceived and outline the unique expectations you want to set. 

Do you want to amplify the positive image or completely challenge it and set a different one? Either way, a visually engaging video campaign will beautifully strengthen your brand identity while capturing the unique essence of your destination.

 

Stage Memorable Events and Festivals

Once everything is in place, you can start proactively utilizing the uniqueness of your destination and complete the brand vision. Stage events of international significance or small local ones. Explore the latest trends to gain some inspiration for exciting themes and concepts. This is a cost-effective method to promote your destination which will lead to tons of user-generated content across various media platforms. 

 

Promote All Year Round

The journey of modern travelers begins long before they reach a destination. In fact, their experience is fractured into a number of stages that makes them mentally travel the world while still exploring the web. 

They dream and research, like and share, consider and plan. Thinking about this, even the most perfectly built destination brand would not bring an ROI if it doesn’t appear or match the customers’ search. Capturing them at this very early stage of the travel experience is the best opportunity to shape their further decisions.

Google Ads can help in that direction. The various possibilities with Search, Display and Video campaigns will give you the chance to become among the best options showing up on the search feed of potential customers. 

Google has solutions that can accomplish key actions like driving incremental traffic to your site, providing relevant information when potential customers are searching in the research stage, as well as re-engaging with past visitors.

Conclusion

Achieving the best version of your destination brand will determine the success of almost every marketing strategy. 

Don’t treat your destination as a product you are selling, but rather as a heritage you are building. 

And remember – popular destinations live beyond the hype. Invest in increasing the brand value because it will remain in people’s long-lasting memories to establish relationships, popularity, and growth in tourism.

Editor’s note: This is a guest contribution by Angela Bolchinova. Angela is an independent Content Marketing Specialist and Branding Consultant based in Lancaster, UK. 

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About Trifon Tsvetkov
Hi, I'm Trifon and I'm Regiondo's Content Manager! Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland (but originally Bulgarian) I like to stay on the edge of what's going on in the worlds of travel and marketing. When I'm not researching, outlining, writing or editing, I play lots of chess and football. Get in touch with me for anything Regiondo or just to have a chat!
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