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

Targeted Destination Marketing: Engaging the Foodies

More and more destinations and DMOs are turning to diversified campaign initiatives in order to reach target audiences. Food is certainly an element very closely connected to the destination and definitely part of the whole on location experience for visitors but for the local community as well.

Niche social networks such as Foodspotting are embraced by DMOs realizing the importance of regaining that focus that is currently lost in the mainstream networks, engaging target audience on a deeper level,  while other destinations focus their marketing efforts on food through dedicated campaign initiatives. Are you hungry yet?

ELDHÚS – Iceland’s Little House of Food

Imagine having the chance to sample real Icelandic food in the country’s most remote and stunning locations? Inspired by Iceland recently took  the dining experience to a whole new level by introducing a new initiative called Eldhús, a pop-up food experience on wheels which travelled across the most remote and extreme areas of Iceland seeking out the best of Icelandic cuisine. Eldhús is an Icelandic word meaning kitchen. Literary, it means house of fire, referring to the part of an house where the open fire would be kept alive for cooking, before the days of metal stoves.

This tasty 12-day expedition through Icelandic gastronomy ran in March and saw Eldhús braving frozen glaciers and volcanic terrain, teetering along mountain paths and stopping off at Iceland’s most extreme beauty spots for tips and native delicacies from local farmers and fisherman.

Through the Inspired by Iceland communities on Facebook and Twitter people of Iceland were invited to nominate themselves or the people they know to take on the role of chef for one night and visitors to Iceland eating at Eldhús were lucky enough to be dined by these winning chefs.

Source: inspiredbyiceland

Foodspotting in Philly

There are likely at least a half dozen specialized communities where your target audience is spending time and interacting online. In these communities, you will find a high percentage of users are interested in your destination and in specific categories.  As larger social networks have become mainstream, niche social networks find their way in many DMOs social campaigns for a chance to connect with target markets on a deeper level, focus their efforts to groups that are already interested and join the discussion that is already going on about their brand.

Recognizing the importance and interest of the foodies community to the destination, Philadelphia became the first destination, through the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), to launch a major Foodspotting program with multiple guides, a contest at launch and Foodspotting’s marketing support, becoming a featured destination on their web and mobile platform.

Philadelphia’s branded page enables GPTMC to bring the With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® tourism initiative to Foodspotting, encouraging people to visit several area restaurants and link Foodspotting friends to Visit Philly’s other web and social media properties, including Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor site.

Source: www.foodspotting.com

Market Knowledge: Different Destination Information Sources per Age Group

According to the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of American Travelers, different generations trust different sources for information about destinations and travel suppliers.

Younger members of society consume media differently than their older counterparts. Message credibility also varies by medium across each of the major generational clusters. This is particularly true when it comes to the use of online information sources. When considering vacation destinations, input from family and friends still holds the most weight among all consumer groups, regardless of age. Approximately four out of five American travelers have the highest degree of confidence in personal recommendations.

Millennials (18 to 32 years of age), however, are more likely than their older counterparts to have confidence in the information they obtain from online sources such as blogs (54 percent), destination websites (53 percent) or things they have seen on YouTube or other online video sharing communities (35 percent).

Interestingly, Xers (33 to 46 years of age) are more likely than Millennials or Boomers (47 to 65 years of age) to trust information on the website of an online travel agency (63 percent) such as Expedia or Travelocity. They are also more likely than Boomers and/or Matures (66 years of age and older) to have confidence in destination and lodging reviews on a blog (46 percent); information found on a company’s or destination’s website (53 percent); information in travel brochures (47 percent); articles in newspapers, magazines, programs on TV and radio (48 percent); or things they have seen on YouTube or other online video sharing community sites (29 percent).

Boomers are more likely than Matures to have confidence in reviews on blogs (32 percent) or information found in travel advertising (26 percent). They are less likely than their younger counterparts to have confidence in reviews on online advisory sites such as TripAdvisor (51 percent), however, or things they have read or seen on a social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter (18 percent).

Not surprisingly, Matures are less likely than their younger counterparts to have confidence in online sources such as reviews or information appearing on an online travel agency website (43 percent) or online advisory site (35 percent). They are also less likely to have confidence in information found in travel brochures (34 percent) or travel advertising (19 percent). Compared to leisure travelers in the other generational cohorts, Matures are more likely to have confidence in the recommendations of a travel agent (51 percent).

Sourceswww.ypartnership.com, travelpulse.com