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Established 2009

Nobody Cares About Your City: Tips for Tourism Marketing


So it’s time to develop a brand-spankin’-new marketing campaign for your tourism or entertainment business. Your marketing team members get right to work, busying themselves with new taglines, new graphics, new copy for the website, new print collateral, new everything.

When they finish, they proudly unveil their new masterpieces for all to admire. Essentially, the impact of the new campaign materials goes something like this:

“Discover our city. It’s a really good city and we’re proud to live here.”

“Our restaurant has been family owned for 30 years. We’re really proud.”

“Bring your family to our bowling and entertainment center. It’s clean and located in a safe part of town. Some of our staff have been here for 30 years. We’re really proud.”

The graphics look great, the website copy’s been proofed, your direct mail pieces are ready to go. Everybody loves what they’re seeing it. So all these omens are probably indicators that you’re going to have a very successful campaign, right?


The fact is, while some of the benefits mentioned in the examples above are perfectly legitimate second or third-tier marketing messages, they probably aren’t going to sufficiently compel your best customers or best visitors the way you would like them to, which means that your campaign probably won’t end up getting the results you’re after.

And if these messages are also reflections of the mindset that is powering your overall marketing strategy, you’ve got an even bigger problem.

Why? Because the “We’re great, here’s why, we love our city/bowling alley/restaurant” way of thinking about tourism or entertainment marketing is based on pride, not strategic thinking about the motivations of your best customers.

Being proud of your business, brand, or product is wonderful – and if you’re good at what you do, your pride is very justified. But your visitors and customers don’t care about your pride, they care about what you can do for them.

Let’s take New York City as an example. This brand is what we call a “bucket list” brand. Because it’s New York City, millions of people are motivated each year to visit the city “just because” they want to check the experience off their life list.

New York is exceptional in the world of tourism marketing, because it can do quite well with some “we’re great, we’re proud” marketing – with a specific subset of visitors, that is.

New York is not exceptional when it comes to cultivating repeat business – they want people to come back again and again, just like you do. And those visitors probably aren’t going to be nearly as motivated by “we’re great, we’re New York” marketing as they once were.

In other words, once they’ve crossed New York off their bucket list, they’re going to need to have a good answer to the question “What’s in it for me?” before they spend money again on air fare and hotel rooms. Your visitors and customers need to have that question answered as well.

Pride is great – but people book hotel rooms and open up their wallets for dinner and tickets because they believe they are getting something in return: A chance to show their kids a great time, the opportunity to create lifetime memories with their significant other, a wonderful meal in a fabulous setting, an escape from their daily stressors.

When you start thinking about your marketing strategy from your customer’s perspective, not your own, your chances of getting a rockstar ROI for your marketing investment will increase tenfold.

We know tourism and entertainment marketing like no one’s business. If it’s time to tell a new marketing story, let’s talk.

austin advertising agency, destination marketing, entertainment marketing, tourism marketing