Who’s your Target? Destination Marketing & the LGBT Market

Identifying and selecting those market segments that have the best potential for the goals of the destination is certainly not possible without thorough knowledge of the needs, wants, and perceptions of the target market.

The LGBT market is generally considered an important contributor to tourism worldwide with an estimated annual economic impact of LGBT travelers of over US$65 billion per year in the U.S. alone. A report recently published by the UN World Tourism Association (UNTWO) in partnership with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association found that destinations offering a tolerant culture were reaping the benefits of increased travel to – and spend by – gay travelers.

For destination marketing, the report also cautioned against making assumptions about this market, stating that the wedding market for this sector is a big driver, and that the LGBT sector appears to have bucked the recession trend, bringing higher-than-average spend to their holiday destinations. Generally savvy in digital media, LGBT travel is also influenced by social media and digital or actual word of mouth.

Destination marketing associations who were successfully attracting the LGBT market were working proactively at gay-targeted expos and fairs but were also aligned with equal rights organizations that promoted tolerance.

As June is pride month, it’s interesting to see how destinations and hotels have recently come out to attract gay tourism.

Win a Date with Stockholm

Stockholm has just launched a social media campaign targeting the LGBT Market called Win A Date With Stockholm.

The new social media campaign, Win A Date With Stockholm, is live online until June 30, 2012 at www.winadatewithstockholm.com and is organized by Stockholm Visitors Board, VisitSweden, SAS Scandinavian Airlines and the Stockholm Gay & Lesbian Network.

The campaign calls to ‘Discover the world’s ’Favourite LGBT-Friendly City’, fly with award-winning SAS Scandinavian Airlines and meet with a local Stockholm resident guide – to highlight some of the best of their own favourite things which the city has to offer.

Entrants choose between six guys or girls, depending on what most interests them, each being a Stockholm ambassador for a specific theme, such as Arts & Culture, Sports, Outdoor, Fashion & Design, Food & Flavours or Music & Nightlife.

Six men and six women represent their various favourite leisure themes in the city, and people can choose the person they want to meet based on the program they have tailored to their specific theme.

More info:  Win A Date With Stockholm

Marriott  “Be you, with Us”

Marriott International also announced this month a new marketing campaign aimed at LGBT travelers, friends and families – “Be You, With Us”.

The “Be You, With Us” campaign launches in celebration of Pride Season (often observed from June through September) in cities around the world that host gay pride parades and festivals to celebrate the LGBT community.

The campaign is filled with imagery and messages that welcome all guests to be themselves when staying with Marriott. The campaign comes to life through travel packages and amazing hotel experiences and culminates with a sweepstakes where one grand prize winner and guest will receive a trip valued at $5,000 to the 2013 New York, San Francisco or Berlin Gay Pride Festivals.

More infowww.marriott.com

“Stay Hilton. Go Out”

Stay Hilton. Go Out” was launched in early April, and offers special amenities and deals for LGBT travelers and friends of the community at more than 175 Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations properties worldwide.

Perks include: Reduced Room Rates, Double Hilton HHonors points, Late check-out (when available), Free High-Speed Internet, Free One-Year Digital Subscription to OUT ­ one of the world’s leading gay magazines.

More infowww.hilton.com/GoOut

Crowdsourcing for Destination Marketing- Make it Personal!

Tourism boards around the world, such as in Canada, Australia, Iceland amongst many others, have been embracing crowdsourcing for the last few years. Engaging the local community, giving them the power to showcase their knowledge of their own destination while at the same time enhancing the authenticity and ‘personal experience’ factor in the marketing messages is a path widely chosen in many campaigns.

Not to mention that crowdsourcing has also proved quite a popular solution for reputation management campaigns tapping the power of the people such as in the case of Iceland, Athens and many more.

We especially like it when the local community is also involved in even earlier stages, when the responsible tourism marketing organizations decide on the brand identity as the base of all future actions. Let’s see some recent examples!

New South Wales’ People Guide Bloggers

Destination NSW is sharing with the world NSW’s best sites and attractions via a new social networking campaign in which its residents can spread the word on the best kept secret in NSW.

Destination NSW  recently launched  the Global Youth Campaign, designed to get people talking online about all there is to experience in NSW. During a bloggers trip, at the beginning of March four bloggers from around the world embarked on a one-month nonstop content generating mission in NSW.

Travelling around NSW in a bus, these social media experts will be filming, posting, tweeting, blogging and experiencing NSW. The Facebook and Twitter community of NSW will determine where they go, what they do and who they meet.

Destination NSW made a great social move creating a open platform for tourism operators and NSW residents to communicate and collaborate, promoting their destination’s attractions by getting on Facebook and Twitter and sharing their secrets about where the bloggers should visit and what any visitor must do.

Source: www.destinationnsw.com.au

Louisiana Calls all Festival Fanatics

Louisiana Travel, part of the state’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, recently asked for its residents to become festival fanatics supporting their state in claiming the title of the Festival Capital of the World.

Ideal candidates for the position would include outgoing people who already love the festival life, have a strong presence in social media, are looking to earn extra money in their free time and have reliable transportation.

Festival Fanatics assignments would include using social media to talk about the festival the week leading up to it, pairing with another festival fanatic to shoot video and photos while at the festival, talking to people about why they are at the festival and blogging about the festival following the event.

By using the organic method of social media — blogging, tweeting, posting, sharing pictures and video – Louisiana Travel expects the wealth of culture Louisiana has to offer to be shared among people across the state and beyond, especially considering the effect that word of mouth plays in travel decision making.

Source: www.louisianatravel.comwww.theadvertiser.com

Visit Savannah Crowdsources Tourism Video

Visit Savannah last fall used a dancing statue to promote local tourism in a YouTube video.

The sequel could feature any of the following: A bicyclist, a runner, sock puppets, a collage of local celebrities or a New York City couple there on vacation. Those were the protagonists in the five finalists in the YouTube Tourism Video Contest.

Visit Savannah launched the competition in response to the criticism directed at its “General O” video, a 3-minute, 30-second clip released last October that highlighted Savannah’s top tourism sites but was panned as a “minstrel show” by critics.

Visit Savannah challenged the public to “create a tourism video that highlights Savannah’s sassy spirit and Southern charm.” The creator of the winning entry, to be named in early April, will receive a $7,500 cash prize, and the video will be featured as part of Savannah’s summer tourism campaign.

Source: savannahvisit.comsavannahnow.com

and of course let’s not forget the great initiative …

Sweden’s Twitter to the People

In a really social move, Sweden took the whole digital world by surprise when it decided to give total control of its Twitter account to it’s citizens with its Curators of Sweden campaign.

While nowadays -almost- all destination organizations are on social media with the ultimate goal of promoting the best they have to offer, staying within the secure limits of trying to show only the beautiful side of the place, by promoting the usual elements of weather, food and landscapes, minimizes the authenticity.

As the Campaign’s website nicely states: “The idea is that the curators, through their tweets, create interest and arouse curiosity for Sweden and the wide range the country has to offer. The expectation is that the curators will paint a picture of Sweden, different to that usually obtained through traditional media.”

Letting the local people, that actually make the destination, take over the official Twitter account and speak their mind, surely promotes the uniqueness and makes the social media channel truly representative of the destination.

Source: curatorsofsweden.com