Top 5 AbouTourism Posts for 2012!

As we get ready to welcome 2013, we take a look back at some of our favorite and most read articles for 2012!

During this past year, abouTourism offered insights on destination marketing and the latest advancements, highlighted the latest trends to shape the industry, and shared best practice cases showcasing successful destination strategies.

Let’s take a look at the abouTourism blog posts that you found the most useful in 2012!

1. Developing a Social Media Strategy for Tourism Destinations

An overview of the Social Media Strategy for Slovenia,  which the Slovenian Tourism Board commissioned us to develop in 2011, in order to take its marketing activity to the next level, broadening the range of channels through which the Slovenian tourism product could be accessed and exceed the expectations of today’s online travel consumer.

2. Local Destination Marketing – Take a Look “Inside”

A selection of marketing initiatives from England, Scotland and France aimed at promoting domestic tourism and ‘staycations‘, local collaboration and product development as well as manage domestic issues affecting their reputation and tourism flows.

3. Greece: Online Reputation Management & Destination Marketing

For an online reputation management program to be successful at a destination level, it is clear that Tourism Boards and DMOs need to follow an organized and methodical approach. Setting clear objectives, communicating it to all stakeholders and coordinating their activity while having integrated the program with existing marketing and operational activities are the basic steps to success.

4. Destination Marketing & Sport Tourism

Sport tourism is much more than just one-off sport activities. It can form a unique culture at the destination, enhance long term tourism development and certainly has great economic benefits as one of the fastest growing and more profitable tourism sectors; that is if planned and developed appropriately.

5. In Partnerships We Trust- Collaborative Destination Marketing

This article focuses on the most recent collaboration and tourism partnerships at a destination level, this time especially focusing on examples of tight market segmentation profiling such as in the cases of France and Holland.

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Smart City Branding

Cities of the future will have to be “smarter” if they want to succeed by providing better services and quality of life to its citizens. That is the reason why they will also have to manage their brands in a smart way.

The idea of ‘smart city branding’ will be covered by international academics and practitioners in the city design and city branding fields, during the ‘Smart City Branding” Forum which will take place in Barcelona on 25 &26th of September.

Among them Best Place Institute experts will present interesting cases from around the world. Juan Carlos Belloso will explain how the image of a place (city) is built and what is the right process for creating the place brand.  ‘Re-building Citizen Confidence and Identification: The case of Athens’ will be covered in the presentation of Manolis Psarros. Whereas Mihalis Kavaratzis will help to understand what are the existing city brand tools from smart city design perspective. At the end of the conference Magdalena Florek will give a lecture about “Smart Brand Communications”.

Amongst the very interesting sessions on brand building strategies, partnerships and tools, the section of Smart Citizen Engagement, will focus on how brands need to connect with the citizens for them to be successful. Citizen identification, engagement and activation are thus key for successful city brand building.

Understanding citizen characteristics, needs and aspirations are essential when defining the appropriate city brand strategy as well as involving and engaging citizens in city brand strategy and city brand building. This section will explain that today’s successful brands need to be ‘human brands’, with some examples from corporate and commercial world and its application to city brands. It will include a review of the cases of how brand Colombia and Colombian City Brands have been successfully built by engaging its citizens with the place transformation and branding process as well as the recent case of Athens on how to engage citizens in city branding and tourism promotion in difficult times.

The ‘Smart City Branding’ course is organized by by the CUIMPB (The Menéndez Pelayo International University Consortium of Barcelona – Centre Ernest Lluch), a University consortium composed of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), the Barcelona Provincial Council, and the Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture – CCCB), with the support of the Barcelona City Council.

More info and full


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Local Destination Marketing – Take a Look “Inside”

This is a selection of recent marketing initiatives from England, Scotland and France aimed at promoting domestic tourism and ‘staycations‘, local collaboration and product development as well as manage domestic issues affecting their reputation and tourism flows.

VisitEngland is “Growing Tourism Locally”

VisitEngland has announced the start of a new partnership project to deliver local destination marketing and thematic campaigns throughout the country.

‘Growing Tourism Locally’ is a three year programme delivered by VisitEngland and local partners funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, VisitEngland and the private sector.

The aim of the project is to inspire Britons to take more holidays at home, boosting local economies through growth in visitor spend, resulting in the creation of 9,100 indirect jobs.

Cumbria Tourism kick start the campaign with its, ‘Go Share Great Moments’ and ‘Go Take Your Breath Away’ options. The advertising will now be displayed around London’s key rail and underground stations aiming to generate late summer, autumn and winter bookings.

A number of areas were selected to participate in the Destination element of the project. However all destinations in England can participate in the programme through the thematic element of the project.

This activity will be focused around groups of destinations, which when joined together, will be promoted under a specific tourism theme.  Themes of all destination campaigns will focus on what England is most loved for including: Heritage, Coastal, Countryside, and Culture including Sport and Literature.

The project also aims to boost business tourism through promoting local goods and services to international conference and exhibitions buyers. VisitEngland will coordinate the project nationally, working with local partners to design and deliver specific activity.

More on

Scotland’s Invitation to  “GoRural”

Tapping into consumers’ growing rural tendencies is at the core of a new initiative launched this summer called GoRural. It aims to increase footfall for Scotland’s vibrant rural tourism sector as well as encouraging collaboration between the rural businesses that are its members.

Go Rural aims “to provide information, suggestions and offers to people living in or visiting Scotland’s cities to encourage them to enjoy day trips, short breaks and holidays in rural Scotland.”

The project started life during the 2011-12 Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme. Since then, GoRural has been awarded VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise grants totalling £48,000 – £10,000 of which is targeted at training the member businesses.

Nigel Miller, president of NFU Scotland, one of GoRural’s project partners, states: “Over the past few years, fantastic diversified farm and rural businesses have opened up to visitors. There is a genuine focus on providing a great experience and developing unique local features and skills. GoRural is the next stage; adding value by building a collaborative network of attractions and providing an instant information pathway for visitors.”

A number of partners have come together to help get the project off its feet, including NFU Scotland, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Land & Estates, Angus Council and the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers.

As Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, stated: “Scotland’s countryside has so much to offer…Next year is the Year of Natural Scotland, which will enhance our country’s reputation as a place of outstanding natural beauty. By working together and offering quality visitor experiences, it is clear that rural tourism will continue to play a major role in Scotland’s visitor economy.”


France Fights Back on Domestic Rudeness

Long criticised for their rudeness, the French are becoming more and more annoyed by bad manners according to recent polls and publicity campaigns. Bad manners and aggressive behavior top the list of causes of stress for the French, even higher than unemployment or the debt crisis, says pollster IPSOS. A total of 60 percent cited rudeness as their number one source of stress in a survey last year on social trends.

According to the most recent survey of Paris’s public transport network (RATP), not only the tourists are affected by the snooty and selfish behavior of the French people. Many people from other countries living in Paris are dissatisfied with the way the locals treat them and declared they would like to move to another city and country.

With a new campaign the RATP has decided to put an end to rudeness by launching a campaign that would show locals how to behave accordingly in order to create a positive impression on tourists. The campaign features large ads picturing animals behaving like… animals, before horrified human onlookers. Among the beasts is a sloth who hogs a bus seat while onlookers glare at him, a hen who yells into a mobile phone on a packed bus and a donkey who spits chewing gum onto a train platform.

The RATP also created a website on which frustrated commuters can write their own captions for photos of stressful situations caused by boors.

In France, one of the world’s most visited country, rudeness is also a concern for tourism. Atout France, the country’s tourism development agency, launched a summer campaign in regions where tourism is suffering to promote service quality.

“We’re very aware of the problem making tourists feel welcome,” says Fanny Moutel, communications director for Atout France. “We’ve noticed that there are fewer English visiting places like Brittany and Normandy and the Loire, so the campaign aims to improve the way tourists are treated.”

Where English-speaking tourists were once greeted with raised eyebrows and a Gallic shrug, more and more French in the service industry speak English.

Earlier this month on a high-speed train, there were puzzled smiles from passengers after a decidedly un-French loudspeaker address: “Hello, welcome, please greet your neighbor, and may you adopt a zen attitude.”

Sources: Associated

Greece: Online Reputation Management & Destination Marketing

For an online reputation management program to be successful at a destination level, it is clear that Tourism Boards and DMOs need to follow an organized and methodical approach. Setting clear objectives, communicating it to all stakeholders and coordinating their activity while having integrated the program with existing marketing and operational activities are the basic steps to success.

This post focuses on Greece as a tourism destination and on the most recent initiatives taken at a national, regional and local/city level towards the targeted promotion of tourism on key strategic themes and using online reputation management practices.

Meanwhile,  abouTourism is glad to have contributed to the development of three of these projects.

Online Reputation Management & Brand Monitoring Mechanism for Greece

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (G.N.T.O) has recently introduced “True Greecean Internet-based initiative which aims to further promote the positive publicity of Greece as a tourist destination online, especially utilizing social media.

True Greece is a dynamic web based platform which is fully integrated in the existing marketing plan of the organization. This tool is utilized to directly clarify through facts, any existing “inaccuracies or speculations” that concern the wider operational and service environment in the country as well as the safety and security levels at Greek tourism destinations.

The mechanism has been designed to allow the organization to track, register and manage accordingly all comments, reviews and observations that refer to Greece as a tourism destination on an ongoing basis. The Internet and social media applications are already being used very successfully by the G.N.T.O to post news and to communicate the tourism “brand added value” of Greece. “True Greece” aims to further promote the positive publicity of Greece as a tourist destination online, utilizing effectively social media platform network externalities.

The initiatives’ key priorities are a) the promotion and communication of key elements and competitive advantages of the Greek tourism product and b) the promotion and dissemination (through social media) of positive messages/opinions that visitors have about their experiences (via video spots, web testimonials, reviews, posts, tweets). Based on these priorities a content strategy was developed mapping the target media and providing the basis for customized content and activities to be constantly disseminated to  third party channels.

In line with the real time and social nature of the project, the following phase of the initiative calls for support from volunteers who tweet and share the truth about Greece by responding to inaccuracies or speculations they may come across online. «True Supporters», is a team of volunteers responsible for monitoring and responding to online comments and mentions regarding Greece as a tourist destination. The «True Supporters» idea is based on the concept that the most effective response to negative mentions and inaccuracies is provided by real people that feel passionate about the destination.

The third phase of the project saw the development of a Facebook campaign which invites users of the Visit Greece Facebook page to create their own “True Greece” photo album, by selecting their favorites from the existing picture gallery of Greek destinations and win their True Vacations in Greece. The prizes comprise of vacation packages with return air tickets and 4-day accommodation for 2 for 150 lucky winners and the deadline has already been extended to the 27th of August due to high levels of participation.

As far as cooperation and coordination goes, the initiative is already being supported by a series of government agencies including the Greek Radio Television S.A., the Athens News Agency and the Hellenic Foreign Ministry. The agencies will be assisting the effort by tracking and gathering news and other related material as well as working with local, national and international media outlets.

abouTourism is glad to have been assigned to develop the concept as well the content planning & creation strategy for this initiative in partnership with Mindworks digital marketing agency (Business Unit of ATCOM).

More info

New Promotional Video for Athens Business Tourism

The Athens Convention Bureau has just released its first ever promotional video for the business tourism product of the City of Athens as part of its action plan and strategic direction towards the further development and promotion of business tourism.

Through the eyes of a business traveller visiting Athens for 3 days, viewers can get a glimpse of all the city has to offer in terms of conference, accommodation, and public transport facilities, as well as cultural, gastronomic, and other leisure activities.

Through the video we are invited to follow the delegate during the conference participation, site inspection, and sightseeing in the historic and cultural center of the city, the gastronomical journey and the Athens coastline. The video features over 20 locations and facilities in the Athens center and the greater surrounding area.

The video spot showcases the business tourism product of Athens under five key strategic themes; the Olympics heritage and specialization in congress and events organization, the business product at the city center and the surrounding areas, cultural heritage, conference facilities and additional activities at the coastal zone of the city as well as regenerated industrial multi-purpose venues.

Event planners are informed of the wide selection of modern infrastructure, and can choose from 40 conference and exhibition venues, more than 379 meeting rooms as well as satisfy any accommodation requirement from 695 hotels around Athens. Furthermore, they are invited to take a tour around unique sites and museums of world cultural heritage, sample refined and modern Mediterranean cuisine and explore activities for every taste and of the highest standards.


This is MY Athens Program Celebrates 1 Year

This is MY Athens, the visitor greeters program for the City of Athens celebrated 1 year of successful operation in July.

This is My Athens is free program available to visitors to Athens and staffed by volunteer Athenians who are excited to show visitors “their city” and all it has to offer.

Launched during a challenging period at a national and local level, during which tourism- an industry the destination is relying heavily upon- was also affected, the This is MY Athens program, a concept and developed by abouTourism, was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm from Athenians and has received strong interest from the city’s prospective visitors during this time.

During this year we have organized numerous exciting events to keep the Athens Locals’ engagement and excitement high about the cause of the program. One of the activities was a special flash mob-like- event which was organized at a central city square. The event came alive with the participation of Athens Locals as well as the delegates of the EuroXpro 2012 Conference,  organized by AIESEC in Athens, who first experienced a walk with  Athens Locals.

A few days ago celebrating the program’s ‘birthday’, all Athens Locals were also invited to celebrate along with visitors, joining us all to a special birthday event which included a lot of music and special happenings!

We are glad to see that Athens Locals are as excited as ever to show even more parts of their favorite city to the world. At the same time the dedicated surveys show that Athens visitors are appreciating more than anything the opportunity to discover parts and secrets of the city that they would not have been able to discover without the help of a local.

More info:

‘Incredible Crete’ Promotional Video for Reputation Management

The Region of Crete has just released a series of promotional videos showcasing that life in Crete is as beautiful as ever.

The videos attempt to directly tackle some key perceptions which have been formed and reproduced by mass media, inviting visitors to visit and “See for yourself, feel for yourself”.

The videos featuring the island have been uploaded on YouTube and Vimeo, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. They are also currently being aired on the Travel Channel, the leading international travel broadcaster, with which the GNTO (Greek National Tourism Organization) is already collaborating.


Relevant Posts:

New Reputation Management and Targeted Marketing Campaigns

New Inclusive, Targeted & Reputation Management Marketing Campaigns

New Marketing Campaigns- Listen, Engage & Inspire!

Online/Offline Marketing Integration Case Study: This is Athens

New Reputation Management and Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Japan Going Social to Revive Image

Engaging influencers to suppress negative sentiment and creating brand ambassadors to promote a positive image of the destination, is certainly one of the crucial steps of online reputation management.

Japan National Tourism Organization is inviting international bloggers and twitterers to visit areas devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The goal is to write about the progress made in rebuilding disaster-ravaged communities and let the world know that the area still remains an appealing holiday destination.

Deciding to mobilize the immense communicative -better yet influential- power of blogs and Twitter, the Foreign Ministry earmarked some 21.5 million yen for the project for the current fiscal year through March, while it aims to invite a total of over 10 influencers by the end of March.

According to a recently announced draft tourism plan, Japan sets a goal of increasing the annual number of foreign visitors to 18 million by 2016. The number of foreign visitors to Japan, which hit a record high 8.61 million in 2010, is estimated to have dropped to 6.22 million in 2011 following the serial disasters while the previous plan aimed to increase the annual number of foreign visitors to 10 million by 2010.

The new plan’s implementation is set to start in March, which shows that the bloggers initiative, expected to be completed by then, is put forward to prepare the grounds. So, planning, an indispensable part of reputation management, is on the making, which it reportedly also calls for the launch of a public-private sector partnership to swiftly disseminate accurate information on natural and other disasters.

As for the initiative announced by JNTO a few months earlier, offering  10,000 Free Round-Trip Tickets to Japan, the plans are yet to be officially confirmed. The concept and aim however was quite similar as the selection of international travellers to get the tickets would be based on their online influence and their ability to share their experiences through social media.

More information:

Aruba Making the Most of Super Bowl

Even though they lost Super Bowl, New England players can still find something to smile about this week on one happy island.

As part of their marketing campaign, and in a clever attempt to draw some of the enormous Super Bowl attention towards their side, the Aruba Tourism Authority has extended a complimentary vacations offer to every member of the New England Patriots team.

The Aruba Tourism Authority is offering them the chance to touch down and score some happiness with all-expense paid trips to the tropical island known for its cheerful vibe.  At the same time, Aruba is poking fun at the fact that Disney World only offers a vacation to the winning team’s MVP by extending the offer to everyone on the Patriots team.

“While only the MVP of the winning club has the opportunity to jet set off to another well-known destination, Aruba is making the offer to the entire New England squad”, the ATA said in a press release


Jump into Ireland

Tourism Ireland has unveiled a new integrated campaign, ‘Jump into Ireland, in a bid to raise the profile of the island internationally over the next three years.

Created to reflect the island’s sense of playfulness and its natural beauty, the ‘Jump into Ireland’ campaign is being rolled out online first in Australia and New Zealand.  Targeting experienced travellers, the campaign will also celebrate key cultural events taking place in Northern Ireland this year, including the Titanic Belfast Festival, Peace One Day concert and the 50th Belfast Festival at Queen’s University.

The new initiative had been designed to build on the increase in visitor arrival numbers achieved last year, and to regain market share over rival destinations. The campaign spans TV, radio, press, cinema and online advertising and will include ramped up social media activity as the tourism body looks to make the channel a more integral part of its marketing.


Guam targets Japanese Families

The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) recently launched the “Omoide Guam” campaign in Japan, Guam’s largest visitor market.

Omoide is the Japanese word for memory and “the idea behind this campaign is to invite our Japanese visitors to come to Guam with family and friends to make memories that will last a lifetime,” said GVB General Manager Joann Camacho. “After the triple disasters, we wanted to continue offering our Japanese visitors a way to recuperate, but at the same time to be sensitive to the issue and show support for their efforts to rebuild.”

The campaign kicked-off with a new interactive website which has several features that allow potential travelers to discover more about Guam, and is highly integrated with social media. Visitors can create custom postcards and albums with photos uploaded direct from Facebook, and then share what they create on Facebook, Twitter and Japan’s most popular social media site, Mixie.


Relevant Posts:

New Inclusive, Targeted & Reputation Management Marketing Campaigns

New Marketing Campaigns- Listen, Engage & Inspire!

Online/Offline Marketing Integration Case Study: This is Athens

abouTourism on Territorial Reputation Management in Davos

Manolis Psarros will be in Davos this week for the 3rd World Communication Forum “Communication on Top” which takes place on 9-10 February, sharing his expertise on destination marketing and reputation management.

Manolis has been invited to join three top experts on a panel titled: Territorial Reputation Management.

Focusing on city/district positioning and communications strategies in promoting territorial reputation showcased through case studies analysis the Territorial Reputation Management panel presentations and discussion will be taking place on Friday 10 February, 09.30 a.m. at the Davos Congress Center.

Forum Davos

This year’s “Communication on Top” Forum will discuss different aspects of: privacy vs. publicity, new challenges to the PR consultancies – global vs. local , territorial reputation – the synergy between global brands, producers and country/region image, communicating scientific breakthroughinteractions in virtual economics – social media games and online trading (Second Life, Online IPO), virtual vs face-to-face communication in PR and marketing, internal communications, communications associations’ mission today…. and more.

During the “Communication on Top” Forum, Manolis will join dedicated professionals and skilled trend-makers for sharing best practices, new strategies, insights and creative ideas that will help improve the world of communications. The core of the summit is an open dialogue uniting CEOs of leading companies and communication experts from high-rank world organizations, political and state-run institutions, NGOs, research centres, media units, and Internet communities.

Global communications no longer distinguish a sharp difference amongst public, corporate, marketing, financial or political. Today’s new generation of “digital natives” have a different perception of reality, genuineness and borders and are the current and future citizens, employees, consumers, electors.

The goal is to have a global network for distributing best practices in crisis, change or reputation management, as well as useful strategies in investor relations, employee motivation, government lobbying, etc. Equally necessary is to foresee the upcoming communication trends and secure a successful method for analyzing problems, finding solutions and offering best tools to serve top managers in their decision-making or daily professional tasks and, through the exchange of ideas and opinions, help them improve their own corporate and social efficiency.

Follow abouTourism and Manolis on Twitter for latest updates from the 2012 World Communication Forum.

New Inclusive, Targeted & Reputation Management Marketing Campaigns

New Zealand ‘Stories Beat Stuff’ for youth market

Tourism New Zealand has just launched its latest marketing initiative ‘Stories Beat Stuff’

Asking the question, ‘what would you trade for the story of a lifetime?’, the initiative is based on the idea that life experiences surpass material possessions for young people. “Using interactive media the initiative will encourage youth to find out more about the New Zealand experience and to tell us what they would give up to acquire the story of a lifetime.

“Stories are the things that mean most to you later in life, and New Zealand provides a life changing experience,” said Tourism New Zealand general manager marketing communications, Justin Watson.

“A strategic focus of all our marketing activity is the prioritization of key markets and sectors for growth. “We are targeting the key youth market because of the substantial growth opportunities they present. They have the potential to stay longer, spend more and are more likely to return to New Zealand later in life. “What we offer as a Country is ideally suited to the youth traveller,” he added. The campaign is being rolled out globally over the next year and will use youth-friendly digital and social media via, Facebook and YouTube.

“The stories shared essentially become the content of the campaign and build on the experiences that we show on the site and use to advertise the initiative to get youth travellers to sign-up and enter the competition.“This enables us to engage with the youth market in a way that really resonates with them,” added Watson.

Key to the development of both this initiative, and the overall youth strategy, has been establishing relationships with key partners in each market such as STA in the UK. “We have also partnered with Air New Zealand and a number of New Zealand operators to provide the experiences of a lifetime, and are also working with in-market sellers to provide related products so people can also buy the experiences we are showcasing to them,” continued Watson.


Tourism Authority of Thailand rolls out “Beautiful Thailand”

As the flooding situation in Thailand has stabilized and flood waters are receding, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is accelerating its efforts to ensure travellers and tour operators worldwide to understand that Thailand’s tourism sector is open for business and welcoming visitors through a recovery campaign called “Beautiful Thailand”.

Although the flood mainly affected provinces in the Central Region, it had minor impact on tourist attractions throughout Thailand. “For the past several months, the TAT has been reaching out to media worldwide and tour operators to give them an accurate picture of the situation in Thailand. We made it very clear that most of Thailand’s tourist destinations were welcoming visitors, the airport was operating and inner Bangkok was dry. We also emphasized that there was really no need to avoid coming to Thailand during the high season,” said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni.

To ensure the rapid recovery of the Thai tourism sector, the TAT is conducting a comprehensive communications and marketing campaign called “Beautiful Thailand”. It involves engaging media from key markets worldwide. The TAT is also planning a mega fam-trip during December that will bring over 300 travel media from overseas to see for themselves that most of Thailand’s tourism attractions and infrastructure remain intact.

The TAT’s 25 overseas offices are working directly with tour operators in their local markets to develop campaigns and promotions to restore confidence and support tourist arrivals. These initiatives include special promotions with airlines and tour operators, TV and movie production, and celebrity marketing.

According to Governor Suraphon, the most effective strategy to restore tourist confidence and build lasting momentum for the Thai tourism sector is to focus on value-added services and warm Thai hospitality, not engage in price cutting.

“Recovering from a significant event such as this year’s flood requires the full co-ordination and co-operation of the public and private sectors. The TAT has been serving the tourism community as a bridge between the public and private sector. All of us in the tourism industry must work together to provide unified, clear messages about the real situation in Thailand to help to build confidence and show that we are open for business and visitors can enjoy their holiday here”.


New Kentucky Marketing Campaign Focuses on Attractions

You can travel to the far reaches of the globe and not see and experience what you can discover in Kentucky. There’s only one Mammoth Cave, one Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, one National Corvette Museum, one Kentucky Horse Park.

There's Only One

Kentucky’s wealth of unique attractions forms the basis of the state’s 2012 travel and tourism marketing campaign. The new campaign, called “There’s Only One”, will differentiate Kentucky from other destinations by emphasizing places and things travelers to and within the Commonwealth can experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Thirty-one places and events have been designated “There’s Only One.”  More will be added after undergoing a certification process.

The concept of “There’s Only One” will be used to draw visitors to Kentucky and then encourage them to explore all Kentucky has to offer. In the spring, when most vacation decisions are being made, TV, radio and print ads will combine with on-going social media and on-line campaigns to raise awareness of Kentucky’s unique attractions.

Source: ,

“Puerto Rico Does It Better”

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company unveiled its U.S. marketing campaign for the upcoming winter and 2012 tourism season. The “Puerto Rico Does It Better” campaign is focused on providing a strong boost to the local economy. Puerto Rico’s tourism industry had a banner fiscal year 2011 (July 2010 to June 2011), as measured in hotel registrations, due in large part to the previous U.S. marketing campaign.

The U.S. tourism campaign, budgeted at $20 million and running through June 2012, uses both traditional and new, innovative media and marketing tactics to reach its audiences. This year’s program places an increased emphasis on social media to reach American tourists. This includes search engine marketing and optimization, the launch of official Twitter feeds, YouTube videos and Flicker images, new smartphone applications and a re-vamped website — — where would-be travelers can learn about the island through written and video content, find promotional packages and even book travel directly.

Puerto Rico used nine of Times Square’s electronic marquees simultaneously lit with the campaign’s new ads. These ads — which feature images of tourists enjoying activities such as golf, snorkeling and gaming — will also be displayed on billboards, airport and bus shelter dioramas, and in newspapers and magazines in major U.S. markets.


New Marketing Campaigns- Listen, Engage & Inspire!

Mexico Tourism Board has just launched a new marketing initiative as part of a reputation management framework, incorporating user generated content to build trust and change perceptions in its main market. Tourism Toronto has also released a new marketing campaign this month, which manages to promote the city’s holiday season variety of events and attractions through integrated marketing activities beautifully combined with the holiday charity spirit and delivered through effective industry partnerships. And finally, Tourism Vancouver attempts through its latest marketing initiative, to position the destination as a good place to visit utilizing the opportunity of a sports event, to capture a very interested audience through an other innovative use of social media.

Mexico Tourism Board’s ‘The Taxicab Project’

The Mexico Tourism Board has launched a new advertising campaign designed to change perceptions of and drive tourism to Mexico. Simply entitled, “The Taxicab Project”, the campaign features unsuspecting tourists returning from vacation in Mexico giving unscripted and unadulterated testimonials as they are driven home from the airport.

The unscripted and unedited testimonials that form ‘The Taxicab Project’ have been designed to change the way Americans look at Mexico in the hope of driving further tourism growth from the United States.

According to Mexico Tourism Board chief marketing officer, Gerardo Llanes, the North American campaign “features the very people American consumers trust most … American consumers”.

“The people we interviewed were selected at random and provide refreshingly candid accounts of their recent trips to Mexico,” Mr Llanes said. “From the sea to their safety, these videos answer all of the questions Americans want to know.”

The campaign will commence with the distribution of promotional ‘Mexico Taxicab Project’ postcards, that when held up to a smartphone, reveal the initial ads.


Tourism Toronto’s New Holiday Season Campaign

To showcase the city’s holiday season events and happenings, Tourism Toronto has launched a marketing campaign that includes Facebook, partnerships with hotels and retailers, a charitable component and the installation of seven-foot snowmen in the city’s downtown.

Launched under the banner “Torontoland”, the campaign began earlier this month when 20 fibreglass snowmen were introduced to downtown streets. The snowmen serve as a connection to Torontoland’s online elements, including a microsite – – and a Facebook page.


Consumers planning to visit Toronto can book a hotel package on the microsite and “like” Torontoland on Facebook in order to receive a Torontoland wristband by mail. When they go to the city, these visitors can use the wristband to receive 15% discounts at more than 50 attractions, retail outlets and restaurants.

Visitors are also encouraged to share their Toronto experiences with their Facebook friends and upload photos or videos of themselves with the Torontoland snowmen to the campaign’s Facebook page. Tourism Toronto will donate $2 to Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada for each photo and video upload.

In addition to the wristband, the mail package for consumers who engage with Torontoland online also features a map and information about events such as the Scotiabank-presented Cavalcade of Lights and the Santa Claus Parade. Andrew Weir, vice-president of communications for Tourism Toronto, said the objective of the campaign is to promote the city’s holiday season roster of events and attractions.

“December is actually the least busy month for hotels, and yet, when you look at what’s happening in the city, it’s one of the best times to be here,” said Weir. “We had to find a way to communicate this idea of the magic of the holidays in the city. “This also helps turn Toronto residents and visitors into ambassadors that are sharing their stories [online].”


Vancouver Gets Social Media Fans on the Streets

Tourism Vancouver and Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Region have been inspired by one of America’s biggest marketing events in giving away a prize package that includes tickets to Sunday’s Grey Cup game for fans willing to do some legwork.

The contest is running in both Vancouver and Winnipeg. It’s part of a social media campaign called the Grey Cup Chase devised by Vancouver-based Think! Social Media. The concept is a reworking of an idea first used for the Super Bowl in Dallas earlier this year.

Grey Cup Chase

Fans must track down one of two “mystery men” wandering the streets of Winnipeg and Vancouver and give them a secret phrase that can only be found by clicking “like” on Tourism Vancouver’s Facebook page. Clues to their whereabouts are fed through a Twitter account at #GreyCupChase and via selected bloggers until somebody wins.

“An event like the Grey Cup is like a small version of the Olympics,” said Rodney Payne, co-founder and executive director at Think! “You’ve got a lot of passionate fans who are willing to do quite a lot for some tickets. We want to position the destination as a great place to come and travel to afterwards.”

It’s a bit of an experiment, said Candace Gibson, manager of consumer marketing for Tourism Vancouver. “We know that people are following events like the Grey Cup online and through social media more and more all the time, so this is just another way to reach a very interested audience.”

Gibson said the target group is 25-45 with a 60/40 male split. The objective is to create buzz through new Facebook fans, “likes,” adding Twitter followers and garnering a bit of traditional media attention.


Online/Offline Marketing Integration Case Study: This is Athens

User Generated Content & Reputation Management through Integrated Online & Offline Marketing efforts

Back in 2010,, the official visitors’ website of Athens, Greece launched an online initiative titled This is Athens, a concept developed by the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCo) in partnership with abouTourism destination consultants and MindWorks/ website design & development by ATCOM . The campaign’s objective was to create the largest photostream ever made for Athens, inviting the city’s residents and visitors to upload their own photos online and show the whole world what Athens was all about.

The campaign rolled out at a time when the city’s and the entire country’s image was put to test due to intense but short lived public unrest incidents. The blow on the city’s image due to intense and one-sided media coverage was fierce and at the same time local residents needed an opportunity to revamp their pride for the city. The most effective way to achieve both and fight back was to show the world what was really happening in the city.

At a crisis time, when no tourism marketing campaign seems to be convincing enough, the challenge lies in depicting the actual and multi faced situation, leveraging the negative connotations which stay with the audience for much longer than those few days that the actual incidents lasted. This is when the actual people that form and represent the destination come into the equation and can play a crucial role.

The goal of the ThisisAthens campaign was to engage local people, showcase the everyday life in Athens, promote a flavour of true experiences and an alternative image of the city through user generated content. The campaign created the first-ever real-time photostream documenting daily life in Athens through more than 5,000 pictures. Every day, Athenian locals posted hundreds of photographs taken by them of  “their own” city.

The campaign received thousands of tweets and shares on Facebook and Twitter and contributed greatly to the image of this contemporary urban, historic and culturally-rich city we know as Athens. Furthermore there was the possibility to add tags, comments and descriptions in every uploaded picture thus making it easier to share and spread via social media channels.

In continuation of the online marketing campaign, in July 2011 the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Co. (ATEDCo) launched the This is MY Athens initiative, a visitor greeter program designed to give visitors the insider’s edge of the city through a walk with an Athens local.

According to the abouTourism perspective on strategic tourism marketing and integration, the second part of the ThisisAthens campaign was a transportation of the strategic drivers and objectives of the digital campaign initiative into an offline environment, while still utilizing online and offline media to promote it.

This is My Athens is free program available to visitors to Athens and staffed by volunteer Athenians who are excited to show visitors “their city” and all it has to offer.

Launched during a challenging period at a national and local level, during which tourism- an industry the destination is relying heavily upon- was also affected, the This is MY Athens program was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm from Athenians. They were constantly expressing their desire to show the entire world what Athens was all about, in contrary to the city image they knew was circulating globally. Hundreds of volunteers registered their availability to meet and greet potential visitors to the city and many walks have already been organized while the list keeps growing.

Following a full destination tourism product audit, the program’s goal is to showcase the variety of the city’s tourist offerings through the program’s promotion and processes, offering visitors the opportunity to select from a variety of experiences.  In order to ensure the best possible visitor satisfaction levels, we ensured quality control standards and measurement were in place through documented visitors’ feedback and explanatory introductory sessions for all selected volunteers, informing them about the tourism product as well as the program’s ideals and objectives. The volunteering Athens Locals are then left with the freedom to create their own itineraries and the choice to show what they enjoy most about their city.

To facilitate the program’s processes, support the volunteers and achieve the best possible results in terms of service, we also incorporated the city’s Visitor Information network, by offering further information and registration possibility through the city’s Info Points positioned in high visitor flow locations. With the use of high end technology equipment (LCD screens and iPads) visitors are able to explore all the city has to offer digitally as well as register for a walk with an Athens Local.

The initiative was promoted through online and offline media and received extensive coverage mainly due to its voluntary nature and the fact that there was already a public desire building up for corrective actions. The campaign cleverly employed the public’s motivation to help promote their city and show a positive and alternative side of Athens by actually giving them the opportunity to become the city’s brand ambassadors. More than 300 Athens Locals have registered as volunteers making this one of the most successful visitor greeters programs available, while more than 100 visitor applications have already been received in less than 2 months of the program’s operation.

The two parts of the ThisisAthens campaign are an example of integrated marketing where online and offline marketing initiatives complement each other, driven by an accurate situational analysis and set marketing objectives to ensure consistency of the promoted message and efficient brand management. It is an ongoing reputation management campaign which involves the local population.

The next stages of the campaign’s development will include its expansion to the local audience, organization of street events, flash mobs, walks with celebrities and …well that’s enough for now…..Stay tuned for more!

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