The New Face of Destination Marketing

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

It is impossible to talk about promoting destinations without acknowledging the foundations on which destinations worth promoting are built. Megatrends, evolving consumer demand, technology, the political environment and the green economy are all changing the face of tourism.

Understanding what makes a destination attractive for people is key to boost tourism and develop local economies and infrastructure, raise export revenue, create jobs, and importantly, connect humanity across the world.

In a recent report, for example, OECD estimates that global tourism has witnessed continued growth over the past 60 years, with 2016 seeing an estimated 1.2 billion arrivals in 2016. This figure is expected to rise to 1.8 billion by 2030, with emerging markets receiving the bulk of the tourist arrivals over the next decade.  Whereas, tourism accounts for 10.4 percent of global GDP, and employs one in ten people around the world, according to latest estimates from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Given the rise of a new middle class, the youth explosion, increasing consumerism and better, more affordable connectivity, there is no doubt that will keep people moving around the globe.

Getting ahead in this race, however, requires a tourism strategy that focuses on improving competitiveness, enhancing the quality of services, attracting businesses and making the industry sustainable and inclusive.

Destinations will have to identify and promote their unique assets and appeal to travelers with the promise of unforgettable experiences. They have to work closely with regional actors, utilize technology in the management of resources and constantly transform and adapt to keep visitors’ interest intact and meet their needs. When it comes to the details, however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

This is where destination marketing becomes significantly critical, allowing countries to sell a story to attract tourists. In some markets, the onus is on destination management organizations (DMOs) to galvanize the interests of various stakeholders towards a collaborative tourism marketing strategy.

Take Vienna’s example, where the federal tourism board developed a broad-based partnership with actors from all fields – economy and culture, politics and administration, urban development and architecture, logistics and mobility, science and education, to develop a destination strategy through an open innovation process. The initiative reached 650,000 individuals on social media and 2,500 selected stakeholders, who generated more than 1,000 ideas from 43 countries. This shaped the ‘Vienna Assets’ – the destination’s strengths, including ‘Imperial Heritage,’ ‘Music and Cultural Attractions,’ ‘Culinary Culture’ and ‘Green Vienna’.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a closer look at the trends shaping the tourism industry, and what marketers can look forward to in 2019, from ‘roaming’ holidays to revamped bleisure travel and place-making.