When trying to attract travellers, destinations go to great lengths and use a multitude of different methods. While many of these can be extremely effective, at the same time it is slightly depressing for marketers to know that recommendations and opinions from family and friends remain one of the most important pull factors!
Social media significance
Nevertheless, there is still a lot that a destination can do to influence opinion and successfully market itself to holidaymakers. As well as recommendations from trusted peers being important to travellers, reviews on social media are also considered to be an extremely reliable source of information. More than 70 percent of travellers trust one of these two sources above all others.
The importance of social media is magnified when one understands its demographic significance. Currently, no less than 97% of millennial travellers post on social networks during the travelling experience. This naturally provides a fertile opportunity for destination marketing.
With this in mind, VisitDenmark has attempted to tap into the knowledge that travellers love to share pictures from trips to iconic places of interest on social media. Thus, VisitDenmark has taken a novel approach in an attempt to generate interest in the subject. The tourist board has identified fifty particular point of interest scattered across its nation, and subsequently identified each of these places with a physical signpost which specifies hashtags that travellers can utilise to share photographs.
This is an innovative way of tying real world locations to social media, and one that could be extremely useful when one considers that social media is so valued in terms of forming an impression of a particular place. The VisitDenmark campaign has also created a YouTube video to showcase the campaign and give a further favourable impression of its tourist attractions.
VisitDenmark has also encouraged travellers to upload pictures taken at these fifty notable landmarks on its destination website. Visitors to the VisitDenmark website can also easily upload pictures to either Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. It is notable that the campaign describes these attractive tourist locations as “shareable locations”, helping to create the feeling that travellers are participating in a communal activity. This is of course one of the primary elements that attracts people to social media in the first place.
However, VisitDenmark is by no means the first destination to encourage travellers to share social media content via specific hashtags. Several other destinations have also engaged in this approach in an attempt to create a communal feeling around integrated website and social media content.
Thus, destinations such as VisitCanada (#ExploreCanada), VisitPhilly, Discover NorthernIreland (#northernireland), VisitScotland (#beautifulmoment) have all asked followers and fans of the nations to share their own photographs and videos of the destinations via a specific hashtag.
Elsewhere, other destinations have organised competitions and contests in an attempt to incite travellers to share spectacular and appealing visual content. Destinations such as VisitIceland (#Icelandsecret) and VisitCroatia (#LoveCroatia and #ShareCroatia) entice travellers to share pictures and videos with them by offering trips to the destination as an incentive for the best content.
It is clear given the vast numbers of people that utilise social media sites today, coupled with the research information that indicates such content carries weight and cachet among travellers, that these campaigns are well founded in terms of attracting holidaymakers. But what is the best approach for destinations in terms of utilising such video content?
Individual destinations would do well to understand and research the specific market and demographic that they are targeting. A destination which is targeting young people will need to offer something particularly outstanding and exciting, as merely having social media content is unlikely to impress these tech-savvy individuals. While branding a destination which is perhaps aimed at families and more mature travellers, will require a completely different tone and type of content.
While attracting and consolidating a social media community and then encouraging them to contribute content is a very viable promotional avenue, it is essential to ensure that they create the right content, or at the very least that the best content receives the most attention. In order to do this, destinations might wish to think about how they brand and present themselves to potential travellers.
There are obvious ties between social media and mobile devices, and overwhelming evidence that travellers are utilising mobile devices more regularly for a variety of reasons while on holiday. Research from TripAdvisor indicated that 60 percent of US respondents to a recent survey had downloaded a mobile travel application. As this mobile marketplace grows, it is likely that social media will become even more significant, so taking steps to create a social media buzz and community around a destination is an extremely sensible move for any location.
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