The Singapore Tourism Board has refocused the Singapore destination brand from “Uniquely Singapore” to “YourSingapore”. The aim is to place visitors at its core and to build on Singapore’s strengths as a destination. The strategy is to empower travellers to personalise their own Singapore experience, according to what they like, and how and when they want to experience it. At the heart of the campaign is a holistic digital approach that includes a new website, significant investment into search engine marketing, blogger engagement, mobile, social media and travel e-commerce.
These platforms are devised to engage visitors pre, during and post arrival and will be aggressively promoted. Visitors are invited to plan their individual Singapore travel itinerary in a user-friendly manner and to share of experiences among travellers and residents alike. The launch of Singapore’s new brand and digital strategy at ITB Berlin last week has gotten the sector talking. Some call it innovative, others wonder whether it is too whizzy. The proof is in the durian pudding, as we may say in “YourSingapore”. Travel technology pundits have shared their comments on the move by a tourism board to steer towards a customer-direct and largely digital approach. One of the most common themes coming through is how busy the site appears. There are a lot of images on the home page and as attractive as it looks, it can be quite overwhelming, especially someone who’s never been to Singapore.
In any case, recognizing the successful branding efforts of the Uniquely Singapore campaign over the last five years, it was clear that the next chapter in the brand story would necessarily be an evolution, a natural transition, and not an overhaul. Ken Low, assistant chief executive of the STB’s Marketing Group said: “We firmly believe that to differentiate Singapore in what is becoming a crowded market for destination marketing, STB has to embrace global trends and the shift in media consumption, to the extent that we have put digital at the heart of our marketing communications, in order to transform the way we reach out to our potential visitors. We will continue to use traditional media in our communications, but it will play a more specific role to emotionally engage our audience and drive potential visitors to our digital platforms where they can experience and have a glimpse into what Singapore has to offer.”
In the span of 6 years since Uniquely Singapore was launched, Singapore has seen an increase in visitor arrivals from 8.3 million in 2004 to 9.7 million in 2009, representing growth of 16.8 percent. Singapore has also witnessed strong growth in tourism receipts during this period from S$9.8 billion in 2004 to S$15.2 billion in 2008, up by 55.1 percent.*
In many ways, unleashing YourSingapore is an acknowledgement of the transfer of power from supplier to customer. Let the customer decide what they want; tell them what is on offer and make it easy for them to research, plan and book – that’s the essence of the new STB campaign.
Eunice Yeo, area director for Northern and Western Europe of the Singapore Tourism Board says, “YourSingapore builds upon Singapore’s unique attributes and the emotional connection that visitors experience in destination. It enables us to differentiate Singapore in the increasingly crowded destination brand marketplace.”
For STB, the road to “YourSingapore” has just begun. Now they have to make sure the road leads somewhere, and not some dead end.
*The Singapore Tourism Board has also just released its forecasts for the tourism industry in 2010: 11.5–12.5 million in visitor arrivals and S$17.5-S$18.5 billion in tourism receipts.