7 Inspirational Travel Marketing Campaigns That Deliver Visitors
It’s safe to say that every destination in the world has seen tourism impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. While there are still many travel bans and restrictions in place, it’s never too soon to start planning your next campaign once it’s safe for people to travel again.
Maybe you’re looking to change your marketing style or you’re looking to get really creative since you have some extra time to plan out a campaign. We’ve collected some great travel marketing campaigns that increased tourist visits and made an impact.
“During times of uncertainty, whether it be a hurricane, pandemic, economic downturn, there is always an opportunity to be strategic in messaging to combat the effects. In the case of the coronavirus, the pent up demand for travel remains. Travel marketers will be smart to seize the opportunity to highlight the best parts of their destinations that accommodate safety and social distancing to be in the arena for consideration of consumers’ next travel plans.”Ally Parker, Account Executive and Travel & Tourism Category Captain at evok advertising
Citrus County: Changing the Post-Hurricane Perception
Hurricanes are devastating for residents, but they have a negative impact on tourism as well. When Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2017, Citrus County wasn’t impacted, but Floridians and potential out-of-state visitors had a general impression that it was better to avoid travel in Florida as a whole. Citrus County reached out to our agency to change that perception and keep visitors coming.
Targeting Floridians, Chicagoans, and Canadians, we created a digital and out-of-home campaign to let travelers know Crystal River and its surrounding areas were open or business. The timing was key in helping Citrus avoid a hurricane letdown, so we needed to get the campaign up and running in record time. Our campaign landing page, RealTimeRealFun.com, included live feeds of Crystal River and Homosassa, as well as features of the County’s best attractions – manatees, trails, waterways, culture, and wildlife.
The County saw a 75 percent increase in social media web traffic, a 10.35 percent decrease in site bounce rate, and a 2.32 percent increase in click-through-rates (CTRs) during the first month of the campaign.
Don’t let natural disasters happening around you stop visitors from traveling to your destination. Stay one step of the game and change the destination’s perception before too much damage can be made. Showcase the beauty of your location, the wonderful attractions, and the safety that travelers will experience when visiting.
Tschlin: The Quiet Town
The Graubunden area is known to have quiet villages, with Tschlin being the quietest. In fact, it is said to be so quiet that when the village phone rings, everyone in the town hears it. Graubunden Tourism decided to prove this by asking people to call the telephone.
Outsiders who rang the number got a free trip to Graubunden, but only if someone failed to answer them. The video shows the great lengths that villagers went through to pick up the phone.
The campaign ran for six days and led to 4,000 conversations with Tschlin locals, and 30,000 calls total. Additionally, the media reach included 1.5 million YouTube and Facebook views, as well as more than 500,000 visitors to the campaign website.
What makes your destination unique? Is it that you can ride a cute, little red bike through the picturesque town? Or is it the white, sandy beaches that people can enjoy while sipping on a cocktail? Whatever it is, find a way to get potential visitors to experience it through experiential marketing campaigns. Whether you encourage people to call the locals of your destination for a pleasant chat, or you get people to chisel at a huge block of ice for a prize, think outside your usual advertising box and create something memorable.
Brabant: Brabant is Open
Brabant was recently elected the “most beautiful province of the Netherlands.” But this digital marketing campaign wanted to show off more than their natural beauty, but the friendliness of their people. Throughout the campaign, locals shared their favorite spots in the province, sometimes even revealing hidden gems and local-secrets. The personality of the locals shone through the campaign and gave potential tourists the sense that they would feel right at home when they visited.
The campaign resulted in more than 100,000 unique page visits, an engagement rate of 10.8 percent on influencer content, and a 4 percent increase in tourist visits from 2018 to 2019.
When people travel they want to know that they will be well received by locals. If you have friendly citizens, make sure that visitors see that. Get a handful of local shop owners and let them take over your Instagram stories for a day, or collaborate with local influencers who are known for their authenticity and kindness.
Rio De Janeiro: From January to January
Rio de Janeiro is mostly known for one thing: Carnaval. Every year, Rio de Janeiro experiences a huge influx of tourists wanting to experience the festivities, but the rest of the year the city is pretty quiet with foreign visitors. VisitBrasil began looking to expand tourism and spread visits throughout the year, not just during Carnaval.
On December 31, 2017, they launched the Rio de Janeiro a Janeiro campaign, which presented a variety of events each month, from January to January. The events ranged from culture and fashion to sports and business.
The launch of this website turned Rio de Janeiro into a year-long destination and boosted tourism by 20 percent.
Know your peak and shoulder seasons and find ways to keep your destination flowing with tourists all year long. Consider adding a calendar to your destination’s website on all the events happening throughout the year that might interest visitors. Or, if your destination is only known for one season, say beaches during the summer, show visitors the kinds of activities they can enjoy in other seasons.
The Faroe Islands Closed for Maintenance
The Faroe Islands welcomes 110,000 visitors each year, and while locals were not bothered by the over-tourism, the beautiful landscape of the islands was feeling the toll. So, for one weekend in April, the Faroe Islands were closed for tourists. The idea was to close the island for maintenance and open for voluntourism.
Participants received free accommodation, food, and transportation on the islands during the three-day maintenance period. They worked alongside 40 Faroe islanders who also volunteered to keep the island in pristine shape. The campaign was so successful in 2019, they opened applications to repeat it in 2020 (however, it had to be postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19).
Within 24 hours of the opening for the 2020 Closed for Maintenance initiative, 5,886 voluntourists signed up from over 95 different countries. Voluntourists came in a wide range of ages, ranging from 18 to 77 years old, and from diverse backgrounds. From accountants to diplomats to students and retired grandparents, people were eager to help maintain and preserve the Faroe Islands’ beautiful landscapes.
While on their voluntourism, Maintenance Crew (what the voluntourists were lovingly called) worked across ten locations on the islands, maintaining and creating hiking pathways and viewing areas, and setting up signposting.
Is your destination suffering the consequences of over-tourism? Maybe take the Faroe Islands approach and close your city, country, or region for mass tourists and offer an opportunity for voluntourists to come help restore and maintain your natural environment. Set up a weekend where volunteers can collect trash from Hawaiian Beaches, or get them to partner with locals to fix signs on the trails of the Swiss Alps.
Visit Omaha: Bob the Bridge
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a 3,000-foot curved suspension bridge connecting two states, Nebraska and Iowa. The architecture of the bridge is impressive, however many locals found it to be an eyesore and was often referred to as the “bridge to nowhere.”
In order to generate greater enthusiasm for the bridge from locals, and to encourage travelers to visit this remarkable bridge, Visit Omaha decided to turn the pedestrian bridge into a personality, Bob the Bridge. Bob hosts an ongoing video blog, runs his own Twitter and Instagram accounts, and is featured on Visit Omaha’s Facebook page.
Bob’s personality clearly shines in Visit Omaha’s video where he says that couples can enjoy a “cheap date,” moms can experience “baby strolling magic,” and dog parents can indulge their pup’s in “3,000 feet of Fido fun.”
While the bridge was built in 2008, Bob the Bridge was only introduced in 2017, and Visit Omaha is always trying to keep the campaign alive. Recently, they introduced a 0.9-kilometer “marathon” across the length of the bridge. After walking across two state borders and snapping a selfie with Bob, visitors and locals can present their picture to the Omaha Visitors Center to Receive an official 0.9K marathon sticker:
Is there an attraction that is viewed poorly by locals or tourists? Maybe turn that inanimate attraction into a quirky, fun personality that draws people to visit and snap a picture. Or maybe you have an animal that is unique to the region. Attach a GoPro on their little head and let them create content for their social media and show visitors your destination from their point of view.
South Africa’s 24 Hours of Wow
Generally, when people think of South Africa they think of safari adventures and that’s about it. South African Tourism wanted to expand that image for future visitors. They made use of existing video content in their archives and created an interactive video tool called 24 Hours of Wow.
On the site, visitors were greeted with a clock and a collection of 144 video clips. Users could create their own 24-hour South African experience by selecting their favorite activities of attractions that interested them. Then, the clock started and an activity or attraction was displayed. Every six seconds the clock moves ahead by an hour, displaying a new scene. If guests were spontaneous they could let the “shuffle” option surprise them with 24 Hours of Wow.
Since its launch, the site received over 600,000 visits, with the average user staying 3 minutes. However, at the beginning of the campaign, this was closer to 10 minutes. With users soaking in every South African hour, they were lured by the mornings at aesthetic cafes, afternoons hiking in the beautiful landscapes, and evenings watching a medley of colors paint the sunset sky on the coastline.
Show potential visitors what your destination has to offer with a creative twist. Take the content you post on your social media and compile it in a scrapbook-fashion where users can flip through different sceneries and attractions in your region. Make a timelapse of a calm city center where momma ducks come by with their ducklings to get fed by the lake every morning and evening. Find ways to make your content stand out beyond the normal channels.
Now that you’ve gained some inspiration from past destination campaigns, it’s your turn to create something that will help your destination increase tourism once the pandemic subsides. Still not sure what to start? We would love to help you create an out-of-this-world travel campaign.