≡ Menu

Tourism Marketing Basics: The Hows and Whys of Promoting Your Destination

Are you in the tourism industry? If so, you’ve got a tiny slice of a global 8.27 trillion-dollar pie.

Parts of the world that were once inaccessible now see tourists flocking in droves. Other areas rely almost solely on tourism to support their local economy.

Whichever area of the world you’re in–and whatever type of business you run–tourism marketing is the key to your success. How will people know how amazing your resort, restaurant, or venue is unless you get the word out?

Still, promoting your business isn’t always the easiest endeavor. This is especially true in the tourism industry since there’s so much competition.

In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of tourism marketing and some expert tips to ensure your success.

What Is Tourism Marketing?

First of all, how is tourism marketing different than other types of marketing?

The main difference is that tourists are temporary visitors. Traditional marketing efforts focus on creating long-term customers who live in the area.

Since visitors come and go, tourism marketing has to focus on capturing their attention. Most likely they won’t be too familiar with the area, so your job is to educate them about what makes it unique.

Why should visitors stay at your hotel, eat at your restaurant, or visit your museum? What makes your venue stand out from the rest? What incentives can you offer to make them choose you over the place down the street?

These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself as you craft your next marketing plan.

Tourism Marketing: Tips for Success

If your current tourism marketing plan feels stale, try some of these tips to freshen it up.

1. Define Your Goals

Every year, you likely set up a specific budget for marketing. Do you also create specific goals along with it?

Let’s say you added luxury villas to your mid-range hotel and you’re disappointed by the low number of bookings. How could you refocus your marketing efforts to attract more customers?

Perhaps you need to revamp your advertising efforts to target luxury travelers. Or you could offer complimentary upgrades to regular guests and encourage them to leave reviews.

The point is: Don’t gloss over areas of your business that aren’t meeting your expectations. Make these the focus of your next marketing plan.

2. Partner Up

If you’re hoping to target national or international customers, your goals may be well out of your marketing budget. Chances are that other local tourism businesses have the same problem.

The solution? Partner up with other businesses and attractions and combine your marketing efforts.

If you own a restaurant, could you reach out to nearby hotels and ask them to display coupons in their lobby? Would your local chamber of commerce be interested in putting together a regional booklet of tourist attractions?

3. Build a Discussion Forum

A sure way to get people buzzing about your destination is to open a question and answer forum on your social media pages.

Travelers always have questions about the area they’re visiting. As a local with insider knowledge, this is your chance to provide valuable insight and gain their trust.

Most people will ask simple questions about restaurant recommendations, pet-friendly hotels, or public transportation. Encourage communication on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and be sure to answer their questions promptly.

4. Pick a Theme

Depending on where you’re located, your area may already attract a certain type of visitor. Napa Valley is a destination for wine lovers, while New Zealand is the mecca for adrenaline junkies.

What if your area doesn’t have a clear-cut reputation–or you want to introduce visitors to another side of it? Could you focus your marketing efforts on ecotourism, outdoor adventures, historical tours, or experiences for kids?

On Colorado Info’s website, for example, they have a whole section dedicated to concerts and other events for music lovers. Check it out here.

5. Identify Traveler Types

Travelers come in all shapes and sizes–families with kids, retirees, backpackers, millennials. 

Marketing 101: If you try to target everyone, you won’t reach anyone.

Narrow your focus to a particular type of traveler. If you run a rustic lodge in the mountains, target families who enjoy skiing and hiking. If you run an oceanfront restaurant, target seniors with early bird specials.

Are you trying to get more couples to stay at your resort? Target engaged women with ads about why your resort is the ultimate honeymoon destination.

7. Network with Influencers

We’ve all seen influencers on YouTube and Instagram. These social media giants have built their own digital empires and have thousands (or even millions) of followers.

Why not tap into their powerful influence with an exchange? Offering a few nights at your hotel or a five-course meal at your restaurant in exchange for a video on their channel could expose your business to thousands of potential customers.

The trick is to find an influencer whose content relates to your business and whose followers would be interested in your locale. Even if you have to pay for their services, the exposure they offer is usually worth it.

8. Produce Amazing Videos

If you want to stand out from your competitors, videos aren’t optional anymore–they’re mandatory.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a 60-second video is worth. Videos can convey an incredible amount of information in a very short amount of time–far more than a brochure or snapshot ever could.

Don’t focus solely on your business. Take short videos around town offering fun facts, advice for getting around, and insider tips that only the locals know.

Post these on your website and social media channels, and you’re sure to engage and attract new customers.

Final Thoughts on Tourism Marketing

So, which of these tourism marketing tips will work best for your business?

Whether it’s teaming up with influencers or narrowing your focus to a particular type of traveler, you’ll soon be on your way to a thriving tourist-based business.

Need more great marketing advice? Check out our latest posts.