4 Trends Defining Tourism Marketing in 2018

Concept Farm, the agency Aruba worked with on the campaign, said local-focused content it creates for destinations has performed significantly better than other themed content, with average engagement 87 percent higher on Facebook and click-through rates more than eight percent higher than traditional display advertising.

“We had a lot of locals not only in front of the camera but also producing the campaign, said Luidens. ‘This is a new approach for us which started in 2017 and now even more. We’ve seen how this has helped locals up their games in terms of production.”

Luidens said destination marketing has become more about what travelers are saying on various platforms rather than the message a tourism board is trying to push out. “It’s about getting those who know the destination to become brand evangelists for us,” she said. “That’s definitely one of the strengths for this campaign. We do this across channels and we involve locals in our press trips as well.”

The videos encourage travelers to get off the beaten path to meet locals like the people featured in the videos. Luidens said a majority of Aruba’s visitors leave their resorts and beaches during their stays to explore the island’s culture. “Through our exit surveys we see people enjoy the friendliness of the people, ease of getting around, and we have more sunny days than any other Caribbean island,” she said.


The travel industry knows that digital influencers on platforms like Instagram and YouTube could be good partners, but it’s how some destinations like Carlsbad, California, are using influencers behind-the-scenes that shows more of their usefulness to marketers.

Carlsbad, a coastal resort city located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, wanted to determine which colors were most popular in travelers’ social media photos and see how those compared with colors common around Carlsbad.

Visit Carlsbad, the city’s tourism board, analyzed about 80 Instagram photos during the past year from 23 U.S.-based influencers with a combined following of 17 million. The organization worked with U.S.-based Pantone on the analysis. Pantone pulled the top three photos with the most likes that depicted travel from each influencer, omitting photos and captions unrelated to travel and omitting giveaway incentive posts as outliers.

The analysis yielded four colors the destination is featuring in its new campaign “Colors of Carlsbad” (see the colors in the video below). “From the ocean and lagoon waters to the rolling green hills and beautiful sunsets colors highlighted in the 2018 Colors of Travel Study illustrate the coastal beauty, casual elegance, and laid-back glamour with family-friendly outdoor fun that Carlsbad is known for,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, in a statement.

“A blend of soft and warm with cool and calm expressing a marriage of land and sea; these colors encourage relaxation and provide refreshment while at the same time stimulating the senses and our desire to explore and experience,” said Pressman.

Carlsbad was already a colorful place, said Sam Ross, executive director of Visit Carlsbad. “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,” said Ross, in a statement. “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.”


Further up California’s coast, it might come as a shock that Sonoma County, part of California’s Wine Country north of San Francisco, hasn’t had an official destination brand or tagline before this year. But that’s how things have played out, and Sonoma County Tourism, the destination’s tourism board, wants to help the area step out of the shadows of Napa Valley, it’s more popular neighbor.

In September, the destination launched its new brand: “Sonoma County: Life Opens Up,” to highlight how Sonoma is part of one of the world’s best wine regions but also has plenty to offer travelers who don’t enjoy wine.

The destination decided to survey travelers about what words they associate with Sonoma County versus Napa Valley. Sonoma County worked with travel agency MMGY to survey more than 1,000 U.S. travelers and found that “fiercely independent, connecting, progressive, and real” were some of the most common words that came up in terms of how travelers perceive Sonoma. Word associations have been a key way to learn how travelers perceive a brand, but in 2018 there are also many sources to gather travelers’ perceptions from such as Facebook and Twitter.

“To succeed, we need to connect with our customers on an emotional level and create a compelling set of reasons to visit Sonoma County,” said Claudia Vecchio, president and chief executive officer of Sonoma County Tourism. “Our new brand helps us to evolve from simply talking about the destination’s assets to showing how those assets provide transformational experiences.”

Sonoma created a video about the new branding but isn’t releasing it publicly until late October.

Sonoma County Tourism’s new branding.

This article has been republished from www.skift.com

Last modified onWednesday, 03 October 2018 16:00

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