Destin­ation Marketing is Super Easy!

Need to create a campaign for marketing your tourist destination this summer and don’t know where to start? Consider these sure-fire winning tips collected from our in-depth analysis of the Canadian tourism marketing landscape.

Ownable experiences are the first things to look for. Things that your town boasts that can’t be found in any other city in North America. Or even the world! These are usually expressed visually, in print, online or video. For the lucky few, here are some winners:

The doorman at a hotel. Especially valuable if he tips his hat while opening the door. If there’s budget, splurge and shoot the hotel room from just inside the door – make sure set decorators know to display the most inoffensive wall hangings available. Also show the television as research indicates that most visitors prefer to stay in their rooms and check out the local news programming!

Natural water features. Very few cities have bodies of water anywhere near them so aerial shots that are several years old are a good idea to convey the uniqueness of your area. Non-descript water bodies translate into tourist cash!

Outdoor adventure. Often a Charter challenge in federal court, very few cities in Canada allow jogging in public spaces. If your city doesn’t have a bylaw against the practice, celebrate! Nothing brings in tourists like the knowledge that they can run in your city! Double down if there’s a body of water to run around, because THAT’s not something you see everyday!

World-class superlatives. Every city on the planet can be world-class. Why not you? Use this term for every attribute and don’t forget that everything is amazing, spectacular and excellent. Take your dictionary and thesaurus and burn them.

Dining. Because there are so few restaurants in your country, it will be important to capture the restaurant experience if there is a restaurant in your city. When shooting, think Olive Garden meets Hy’s Steakhouse. We don’t need to be original here as most visitors will have never seen a restaurant in person. The best imagery has a server presenting a wine selection to guests or lifting the cover (called a cloche) off of the plated food. Make sure that something is really funny when you snap the pic or, better yet, capture the moment where glasses clink in predictable celebration.

Make this shoot pay for itself! Shoot to capture an experience that could be expected at ANY OTHER RESTAURANT in the country and rent the materials to them!

Fun fun fun! With many towns lacking child-friendly infrastructure, if your city has has strollers and helium balloons, get them into your materials! This will immediately convey all the other interesting and “family-friendly” activities waiting for your visitors like skate and bmx parks.

Business travellers. Business is fun in your city! Images of multi-cultural “business” people gathered around an antiquated ThinkPad and pointing at the screen sends your message loud and clear: We Know Business. Another great shot is to have people who would never, in a million years, own the modern technology they are crowded around, let alone know how to use it.

Now, what about messaging? We need a hook, a tag line that will say it all. Try some of these beauties:
Let’s Go!
The Best Place on Earth
The Place to Be
The Place to Be
The Place to Be
The Geographic Centre of the Province
Beyond Your Expectations
It’s Manitoba Time
U just have to be here
Come Play & Stay

Music. Music should sound like a David Foster tribute to a Great Canadian who has passed on. Lots of piano tinkling, add some strings and, if this is a rural town, maybe a touch of Blue Rodeo. All of it should build to a dramatic finish, never a fade.

In all of this, remember one thing: Safety First.

Here are a few examples of the havoc creativity and insight can wreak. Be careful out there.