Market Segmentation: Who’s your Target?

It’s time to take advantage of the available data to get to know your target audience! Segmenting your market will give you the information you need to reach them all with relevant messaging both on traditional and on social, local and mobile media.

In this post we see three new destination marketing campaigns targeting specific market segments. So, based on your tourism product mix and brand positioning, whom is your destination marketing activity targeting? Is it for example the perfect match for the fabulous 40+, the LGBT market or the hip people?

Philly for LGBT Travelers

In 2004, Philadelphia broke ground with an advertising campaign aimed at LGBT travelers.

That campaign — “Get your history straight and your nightlife gay” — won accolades in the travel industry and generated business.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. has now introduced a follow-up campaign. A 30-second commercial spot, “Miss Richfield’s Selfie Tour,” follows the exploits of the character Miss Richfield 1981 as she snaps pictures of herself and friends at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Rocky Steps and other sites. Miss Richfield is a flashy drag queen character created by Minnesota native Russ King.

Philly“Ten years ago, Philadelphia was proud to officially ‘come out’ as a gay-friendly destination when we invited LGBT travelers to visit,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of GPTMC. “With our new commercial, we’re going beyond our history roots and reiterating our invitation, celebrating both the city’s evolution into a premier destination and the LGBT community’s progress over the last decade.”

Starting next month, the commercial will air on the Bravo and Style networks in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and on Logo TV nationally. It will also run on, and GPTMC says it’s only the third major campaign of this kind, behind Philadelphia’s own 2004 effort and a 2011 campaign done by Key West, Fla.

Destination D.C. is Cool- or is it?

Destination D.C., the city’s official convention and tourism corporation—has announced the “D.C. Cool.” campaign, aimed at luring visitors away from only seeing traditional tourism spots, like the National Mall, monuments and Smithsonian museums, and getting them to visit various other cultural landmarks and neighborhoods outside of downtown D.C. .

The campaign will launch in February, in order to coincide with an installation the Portrait Gallery is doing that month called “American Cool,” which will feature mostly black-and-white photos of American icons that define, well, cool: Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Miles Davis, which is where the organization got the idea from, according to Destination D.C. .

D.C Cool

The D.C. Cool campaign will also use Destination D.C.’s partnerships with Cultural D.C., the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, in order to introduce visitors to the the city’s vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene.

“So many people think of D.C. as big government, and money men, and serious history, and that’s all good. But there’s such a bigger piece to the city,” Maciejewski said. “D.C. Cool is all about getting them off the National Mall to experience the nightlife, and the neighborhoods, and the restaurants. To get a feel for the cool side of the city.”

The key pillars of D.C. Cool are the words “bold, original, unique, dramatic and inspiring.” The vibe the city is trying to portray is highlighted in a short video that attempts to embody cool: There’s deep-voiced narration that sounds suspiciously like Morgan Freeman, there’s the oh-so-trendy fish-eye camera shots, there’s jazz in the background.

While the campaign’s title may attract haters, since after a recent presentation about D.C. Cool to stakeholders and press not everyone was impressed, Destination D.C. is relying on the people of the city to tell visitors what’s cool, which is actually pretty cool.

Thailand:  The Health & Wellness Destination for the 40+

As part of its international “Find Your Fabulous” wellness and medical tourism campaign, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is unveiling a friendly global competition intended to salute ladies who are still fit and fabulous after their 40th birthdays.

The Fabulous 40+ Photo Contest invites women from around the world to submit images showing off their fabulous form, and the contestant showing the most youthful, age-defying appearance will be rewarded with an exclusive 3-day Find Your Fabulous trip to Bangkok.

Candidates become fans of ThailandMedTourism and the Find Your Fabulous campaign; then, they submit their most fabulous photos. The winners of the Fabulous 40+ Photo Contest will be determined by the number of “votes”. The one with the most votes will be the winner, followed by the first and second runners-up respectively. The winner will receive a 3-day/2-night exclusive health and beauty package for herself and one friend.

The TAT hopes that the Fabulous 40+ Photo Contest will further illuminate Thailand’s thriving medical & wellness industry and the wealth of top-quality, convenient, and affordable aesthetic treatments on offer for international tourists of all shapes and sizes.

Sources: Destination D.C.Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

Film Tourism & Destinations On Air

There is no doubt that film tourism can be a valuable vehicle for destination marketing and even better for new tourism product development as well. Film and TV productions can have very powerful effects on the full travel experience cycle– from inspiration to referral.

Visitors to film destinations are looking for this extra factor, an on location experience which will tell a story about their favorite films and their location, engaging their emotions. New product developments around the films such as location tours, film museums, exhibitions and the theming of existing tourist attractions can provide just that.

To create this experience and add to the direct promotional effects that a film production can bring to destinations, creating sustainable results, planning and a strategic approach to the development of this tourism areas is as important as for the rest. Let’s see how destinations around the world are attracting, promoting, developing and managing film tourism.

Bollywood around the world

With the number of Indians travelling abroad growing 20% year-on-year and ranking among the top five spenders globally, it is  not surprising that national Tourism Boards from around the world have been targeting Bollywood for a while now. As far as the attraction of the film industry is concerned, tourism boards of many countries, like Switzerland, have in the past used Bollywood to showcase the destinations to high-spending Indian travellers.

Bollywood director-producer Vipul Shah, who had shot movies in the UK, said in an economictimes article: “Foreign tourism boards in India are increasingly pitching for locations to producers and directors in India offering incentives ranging from tax rebate, free stays, visa facilitation, and in certain cases, they even bear the cost of production.” Many recent Bollywood blockbusters have been shot in foreign locales: Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milege Dobara showed Spain extensively. Aditya Chopra’s EK Tha Tiger, starring Salman Khan, has been filmed in five different countries, including Ireland and South Africa, while Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Don has been shot in Germany.

Early this year, Spain Tourism received 600,000 enquiries from India after the release of Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara. One of the film’s sequences was shot at the famous Tomatino festival, which prompted travellers from India to visit Spain. The Spain Tourism Board spent about half a million on marketing campaigns using Zindagi clips. According to the Board, the number of visas issued to Indians, after the movie, went up 50-60%. Till June 2011 (before the movie was released in July), 46,000 Indians had visited Spain. “That number has multiplied after ZNMD,” said Madhu Salyankar, marketing head of Spain Tourism Board. “We offer facilitation with visas, discounts for hotel stays and travel, VAT refund of about 18% as well as faster approvals and other such sops,” he added.

Typically, most countries offer tax sops in the form of VAT refund ranging from 10-20%, depending on the location and the amount of budget spent on the location.

On the other hand, the Indian government is actively considering tax reimbursement on film shooting expenditure in the country to woo prominent filmmakers. Streamlining of visa procedures, speedy customs clearance for import of filming equipment, ensuring easy accessibility to locations and eliminating obstacles and offering financial incentives to producers are some of the proposals being finalised by the ministry to attract filmmakers. The ministry also proposes to ensure a single window clearance for licences and no-objection certificates for film makers for shooting at locations including security arrangements.

New Zealand and Tolkien Tourism

New Zealand is certainly one of the most obvious examples of how big an impact the film industry can have on a  destination’s tourism. ‘Tolkien Tourism’ is undeniably a big business in New Zealand. The annual tourist influx rose from 1.7 million in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2006 – a 40% surge (huffingtonpost). The NZ government is certainly very much aware of the benefits and recognizes the opportunity to trigger the imagination of millions of film goers worldwide, establishing a valuable image of New Zealand through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the new Hobbit movies.

After the Lord of the Rings won an Oscar, Tourism NZ  launched a marketing campaign promoting NZ as “Best Supporting Country”.

Serious steps are taken to make sure that there are no missed opportunities. When,  in October 2010, the actor’s strike threatened to derail filming in New Zealand, the government made sure the Hobbit would remain in NZ by paying a large amount of money to the production company as well as agreeing to contribute to the marketing of the two films. But the officials knew they were up for a great deal. In exchange the film remains in New Zealand, and every DVD and download of The Hobbit will feature a Jackson-directed video promoting New Zealand as a tourist and filmmaking destination.

Apart from a long term marketing strategy and campaigns, additional initiatives towards product development include taking advantage of the film sets as photo ops for Tolkien tourists, a variety of specialized tours around the film’s locations and possibly a themed museum showcasing all the props used in the movies, amongst many others.

Virginia and the power of Disney

With Disney planning to spend $35 million to market Steven Spielberg’s movie, “Lincoln’” —filmed entirely in Virginia —  the state’s tourism agency is gearing up for opportunities to give Virginia worldwide exposure as a tourism destination.

Virginia, a state known for its Civil War history, already has a list of events planned this year commemorating the 150th anniversary of many of the war’s major battles and campaigns. The première of a legendary director’s movie on one of the era’s key figures is more than icing on the cake; it’s every tourism director’s dream.

Diane Béchamps, the agency’s vice president of marketing, told Virginia Business that Disney plans to spend $35 million to market “Lincoln.”  Virginia signed a contract with Dreamworks Studio, Spielberg’s film company, that includes several incentives for marketing, she added, including a premiere in Richmond, a trailer from the movie and footage from the filming that the agency will be able to use in its own marketing.  “The stars are lining up just right for us,” Bechamps said.

Among the initiatives shared during the luncheon will be marketing that invites tourists to follow in the footsteps of Lincoln in places he visited while in Virginia in 1864 and 1865.  There also will be campaigns to follow the footsteps of Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis — the actor who portrays Lincoln in the movie — while they filmed in Richmond. “We will have the power of Disney’s marketing behind us. We will be leveraging that,” said Rita McClenny, Virginia’s film commissioner.

Bangkok and a Hangover effect

Proper planning is necessary to avoid unfortunate situations as the one Tourism Authority of Thailand officials had to deal with, after negative destination images were projected through the Hangover 2 movie, losing initial enthusiasm.

Following the movie’s release, thousands of movie viewers were immediately left with a not so appealing image of Thailand and Bangkok, posting Twits like: “Hangover 2 was hilarious. Note to self: never go to Bangkok…” or “Staying away from Bangkok Thailand Lol for many reasons thanks Hangover 2”. Perhaps the worst hit was actually delivered by the actual actors in the movie, informing the whole world about their not so positive Thailand experience: “Severe food poisoning the first week…Let’s just say my body exploded.” (Ed Helms), or Justin Bartha admitting that  going there was one of his biggest regrets, and issuing a warning for anyone considering following in his footsteps.

While Tourism Authority of Thailand officials, were not certain about the effects, noting that the image painted was not inaccurate, but if they could have a say in it they would choose to portray different images of the country, the tourism industry can certainly take advantage of the publicity, as some tour groups have been offering “Hangover II tour” packages, including a boat trip along the Chao Phraya River as well as the temple and sky bar featured in the film, rounded off with a visit to a strip club.


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.


Destinations Tell the World They Are Open for Business!

This time of year, especially with the opportunity of large exhibitions such as the WTM in London last week, we see the launch of new marketing campaigns by destinations announcing to the world that they are “Open for Business”. Let’s see what’s new for several destinations around the world.

New Marketing Campaign for Egypt

At the World Travel Market 2011 (WTM) Egypt soft-launched its new touristic campaign “We’re Egypt” addressing to potential tourists the following message: “we are friendly, we are open-minded, we are proud of our country, we are Egypt, see you soon in Egypt”, a warm invitation to come and share the outstanding experiences Egypt has to offer.

In his opening allocution, the Egyptian Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour emphasized on the stability and security in Egypt and announced the upcoming efforts of his Ministry aiming to develop and diversify the touristic offer in Egypt for it to include more efficiently eco-tourism, desert safari along with cultural and seaside tourism. The aim of the campaign is to show Egyptians enjoying their own country, give a clear positioning of the experiences in different parts of the destination, and clearly target families, older people, couples, youths and honeymooners.

M. Abdel Nour also pointed out that tourism indicators show the beginning of a recovery in the tourism sector. He moreover welcomed the fact that the decrease in the number of tourists to Egypt during the year 2011 compared to 2010 is only 25% in spite of political turmoil.

Speaking at the opening of travel trade exhibition World Travel Market (WTM), WTM chairman Fiona Jeffery said the speed at which the marketing campaigns have been launched “demonstrates the importance the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia have put on inbound tourism for their long-term economic future”.

“Tourism can help build up these countries’ new democracies and has the potential to do so across all the Arab Spring countries.”


Thailand’s Offline Marketing Initiative

Thailand is stressing it is still open for tourism with a bus advertising campaign launched in London last week which will run for the next three months.

Two London buses will carry a fully-wrapped design with an iconic beach scene on one side and image of an elephant appearing to spray water over top deck passengers on the other. They will supported by buses with smaller panel ads. A similar campaign will start in Dublin in January.

Speaking at World Travel Market, Tourism Authority of Thailand UK consumer marketing and PR manager Jo Cooke says there had been no question of pushing the campaign back despite flooding in the country. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising against non-essential travel to Bangkok and other areas affected by flooding but passengers can still connect to other parts of Thailand through its international airport Suvarnabhumi.

The capital’s domestic airport is flooded but Cooke says this has had minimal impact with the two low-cost carriers that use it having moved to Suvarnabhumi. Beyond Bangkok the flooding has mainly affected rural areas. All the popular resorts are fully open.

Cooke says tour operators and agents are still reporting healthy bookings: “Premier Holidays tells us Thailand is still selling well and we are still in Trailfinders’ top three destinations.” She adds: “The floods have already cost Thailand about two billion Euros or more. Tourism accounts for 10% of GDP. We need tourists.”


Cape Town Tourism Launches New Global Marketing Campaign

Cape Town Tourism has unveiled its new global marketing campaign, with the tag line “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town”. The new campaign aims to encapsulate everything Cape Town has to offer, including tourism, design, business, studies, nature, and the rich diversity of its people, to capture a bigger share of the international and local travel market. The inclusive marketing campaign was launched internationally at the World Travel Market in London.

According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Hembold, Cape Town needs to retain its existing successful initiatives and overlay them with a “compelling global marketing and communications campaign…that takes Cape Town to the world in a bold and comprehensive manner”. “The marketing campaign is about more than just attracting tourists. It’s about incorporating business and investment, the creative and innovation sectors and academia into one vision and direction: economic growth, job creation and inclusion to the benefit of all citizens,” Du Toit-Hembold said.

“Whilst we acknowledge that Cape Town is still plagued with serious social issues, we must illustrate the determination to resolve these issues via tourism, education, service delivery, city planning and design,” she said. Tourism contributes an estimated R14 billion to the city’s economy every year, employing just under 300 000 people. She pointed out that the tourism market has become more difficult, especially due to the global financial crisis, and Cape Town must be differentiated from other cities, with the message incorporating not just natural beauty but personal stories that inspire and resonate with both locals and visitors.

“The marketing campaign offers inspirational Cape Town as the antidote to an uncertain and changing world – an urban elixir, if you will … take a good dose of the tonic and although we can’t promise what you will find, we can promise that you will find your better self. The tagline is ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town!'” Cape Town Tourism aims to generate demand locally and domestically (and try shed the image of an expensive destination); ensure optimal visitor dispersal and spend; and improve the tourism industry’s capability to convert prospective business into revenue. It will work with airlines and tourism operators to offer better travel packages, and will also launch a series of Discovery Channel and National Geographic television programmes in 2012.


Bulgaria Launches Enhanced Advertising Campaign 

As it prepares to position itself as one of the key international tourism destinations for UK tourists, Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Mr Ivo Marinov and Mrs Anelia Genova, Director of Marketing for Tourism were in London to announce Bulgaria’s tourism strategy for the next decade, including the launch of an enhanced advertising campaign titled ‘Bulgaria: Magic Lives Here’.

Known primarily as a beach and skiing destination, Bulgaria is keen to showcase its other attractions including a rich history and culture, a diverse nature and delicious food and wine. Bulgaria also wants to turn the spotlight on some of its fast-expanding tourism products including city breaks, spas and eco-tourism.

Having just  November 2011, the campaign will reveal little-known aspects of Bulgaria such as a heritage steeped in rich history and culture, a diverse and beautiful landscape and its natural mineral springs. The campaign’s underlying message is that Bulgaria is both ‘unexpected’ and value for money.

The media campaign consists of advertising in print and electronic media in the UK, the internet and outdoor advertising. Advertisements, advertorials and articles about Bulgaria will be published in specialised travel media as well as in more general media. The television campaign includes four new promotional videos of Bulgaria – “Image”, “Nature”, “Culture” and “Spa & Wellness”. The other components of the campaign are outdoor advertising with more than 200 locations in England and Scotland, as well as internet campaign encompassing 7 web-sites.


What’s New? Fresh Destination Promotional Initiatives

Visit Britain’s “You re invited” Campaign goes 3D

VisitBritain has unveiled the second phase of its global ‘You’re Invited’ campaign, as ten unique 3D artworks left London for a worldwide tour that will promote Britain overseas. The iconic artworks build on the high profile celebrity launch of the organisation’s marketing programme in June.

World famous 3D street artists Joe and Max were commissioned to create the interactive artworks for VisitBritain. This will allow members of the public to insert themselves virtually into some of Britain’s most iconic landmarks. The artworks will be displayed in ten key locations around the world, with those who have their photo taken on the canvas entering into a competition that will include a pair of British Airways Club World return flights to the UK.

As Britain moves towards 2012, the eyes of the world will be firmly focused on the country and what overseas visitors can experience when they are here. The 3D canvases provide an ideal snapshot of just some of the things on offer, highlighting Britain’s history and heritage, its countryside and natural beauty, culture, fashion, sports and a world-class welcome.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive, VisitBritain said: “Great Britain 3D is the first ever global tour of 3D art with the sole purpose of promoting a destination to an overseas audience. This is a fun, engaging and effective way of taking some of Britain’s most famous icons right into the heart of cities around the world.

“This marks an important new phase of our ‘You’re Invited’ campaign that is an open invitation to the world to come and join us before, during and after 2012. “Working in partnership with the industry, our aim over the next four years is to secure £2 billion of extra spending by overseas visitors across Britain. That will see a whole range of great deals and new products launched to encourage those considering a visit to Britain that now is the time to do so and turn their plans into actions.”

Tourism Minister John Penrose said: “The tourism industry is leading the way in growing our economy, but the best is yet to come.  VisitBritain’s ‘You’re Invited’ campaign is a brilliant way of promoting our country to overseas visitors, and I’m really pleased that the Abbey Road zebra crossing – which I recently gave ‘listed building’ status to – is one of the iconic images chosen.  The Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will put us centre stage next year, but it’s good to remind visitors of all the other amazing things that Britain has to offer.”

The works have already toured Singapore, Sydney and Shanghai and next destinations are Delhi, Utrecht, Stockholm, Milan, Los Angeles and São Paulo.


Thailand through Google Maps with Street View

On September 1st the Tourism Authority of Thailand jointly announced with partner, Google Thailand, the launch of a new tourism promotion initiative featuring Google Maps with Street View and plans to invite Thais to nominate their favourite tourist destinations to be captured in images as Google Maps with Street View cars begin driving across the country.

Following the successful launch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) latest campaign promoting sustainable tourism and a record first half of the year for tourism in Thailand with almost 10 million visitors, TAT is partnering with Google Thailand to introduce an innovation that will change the way Thais and tourists around the world can experience Thailand with a little help from technology and some specially designed, very cute cars.

Starting this month, a fleet of Google cars specially fitted with cameras will begin driving and taking street level photographs of public locations across the country including greater Bangkok and other major regional cities around the country. This activity represents a long term investment with the long term objective of capturing imagery across Thailand over the next 2 -3 years. These images will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.

Khun Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, explained, “We’re very excited to be working with Google to bring Google Maps with Street View to Thailand. The internet is a powerful platform for raising awareness and increasing travel to and around Thailand and with Google cars ready to start capturing images today, we see the long term output of Street View as a real opportunity for Thailand to showcase its tourist destinations and unique culture to the world while strengthening our economy. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has always embraced technology and through this partnership we hope to engage more people in sustainable tourism for a better tomorrow.”

In addition to announcing the tourism promotion program featuring Google Maps with Street View, with Google cars ready to hit the roads across the country, TAT and Google are pleased to announce preparations for launching a campaign in Thailand to photograph tourist sites and special locations. This campaign will give Thais the opportunity to nominate their favourite places across a variety of categories which will be captured in panoramic images, incorporated into Google Maps with Street View and shared with the world.

Google has partnered with a number of public and private sector organization to capture imagery from dozens of special locations and famed places around the world, including Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, Pompei in Italy, Legoland in California, and Versailles in France.


New York is “Open for Business”

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that he has launched “New York Open for Business”, a coordinated communications and marketing effort that will demonstrate to business leaders all across the world the benefits of doing business in New York State. This campaign is a component in the efforts to redesign the way state government works in order to drive economic growth and create jobs. New York needs to communicate that it is the place where businesses want to come and stay.

“The ‘New York Open for Business’ campaign will get the message out to companies throughout the world that New York is a premier place for businesses to invest and grow,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to transform Albany’s approach to economic development, we must emphasize the many advantages New York has to offer, including our central location, our wealth of resources, our unequalled network of colleges and universities, and our diverse, innovative, educated and hard-working residents. With this campaign, we will help build a stronger economy and foster greater private investment throughout New York State.”

In recent years, businesses have left the state in record numbers and job losses have devastated local communities, giving New York the image of having one of the worst business climates in the nation. The goal of the “New York Open for Business” initiative is to promote the many assets of investing in New York so the state can regain its reputation as a business-friendly location. Some recent efforts include balancing the state budget with no new taxes, a local property tax cap, important ethics reforms, and the introduction of Regional Economic Development Councils that will focus State economic development efforts on the local level where they can have the most impact.

The campaign will be led by a committee of prominent business leaders from all across the state who have a wide range of business and strategic communications expertise.

Visit Wales kicks off digital outdoor campaign

Welsh tourism body Visit Wales has launched digital out-of-home ads which feature Piers Bramhall and Emma Foley, his competition-winning girlfriend, holidaying in Wales.

In August Bramhall was doorstopped by a Welsh choir and ‘Gavin & Stacey’ star Joanna Page who invited him to take a free holiday with his girlfriend to Wales as part of an ad campaign by Wieden+Kennedy.

Foley was chosen from 300 women who entered a Facebook competition. The winning couple will visit destinations that were suggested by Welsh tweeters who replied to @wewantpiers.

Production company Bigballs filmed Bramhall and Foley’s trip around Wales. Edited highlights will run across CBS Outdoor’s sites on the London Underground and JCDecaux sites at major rail stations across the UK.

The Visit Wales Facebook page (which has 194,620 likes) and Twitter account are being regularly updated with news from Bramhall and Foley’s trip.

Hannah James, marketing manager at Visit Wales, said: “We had the brief to communicate Wales in autumn as a really vibrant place with lots happening and an exciting option for a break this season. The ability to live broadcast an action-packed trip that a real couple are experiencing is a great way to do this”.


Destination BrandWatch: SOCIALIZE THIS!

VisitDenmark Launches New Social Media Tourism Campaign

VisitDenmark’s new social media tourism campaign makes consumers part of the story as they follow the interactive adventures of Ann and Bill, a virtual couple on a “city break” trip to Copenhagen. The campaign launched a couple of weeks ago with the first of four Ann and Bill viral movies released on YouTube. It continues with Twitter tweets and Facebook status updates from Ann and Bill, and will end with a sweepstakes drawing for a trip for two to Copenhagen in the “Happiest Country in the World” conducted on Ann and Bill’s very own Facebook page.

Tourism Queensland’s Passport to Shine

One lucky vacationer from the US and up to nine friends have the chance to win the Queensland vacation of a lifetime worth up to AUD$100,000 by entering their favorite Queensland experiences into a virtual passport, Shana Pereira, Regional Director for Tourism Queensland, said today.

Facebook’s 500 million users the world over have the chance to win Tourism Queensland’s biggest ever vacation prize by entering the Passport to Shine competition.

“Running from 12 October to 22 November, Passport to Shine celebrates the launch of Tourism Queensland’s landmark new global brand platform, Queensland, Where Australia Shines,” Ms Pereira said.

JTB Using Social Media To Promote Destination Jamaica

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has been effectively utilising social media and technology as part of its continued marketing thrust to promote and showcase destination Jamaica.

Its latest venture is the ‘Pon Di Road Jamaica’ webseries, aired on the popular video sharing website, You and captures the adventures of a local, newly-wed couple, Stephen and Calee, as they visit Jamaica’s ritzy to roadside local attractions, restaurants, shops, hotels and other places of interest.

Thailand launches medical tourism campaign

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will launch its “E-Marketing Campaign for Medical Tourism in Thailand” and website The event will kick off three marketing campaigns that will run through to April 2011 to enhance Thailand’s reputation as the “Global Centre of Excellence For Medical Tourism”.

Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network Launches “Livin’ in the ‘Cin” Travel Blog

Livin’ in the ‘Cin, a new blog joining the Cincinnati.Com Blog Network. Published by the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN), this blog aims to educate leisure travelers about the events, attractions and people that make Cincinnati USA a great destination from the point of view of the people who live, work, play and enjoy the area.

“Livin’ in the Cin” offers insights into great trip bargains, tips on the best way to see the area, and little-known events and attractions that not every visitor may find, but almost everyone will enjoy. Even long-time residents will see Cincinnati USA in a different light, as they discover some of the best things about “Livin’ in the Cin” from the region’s foremost experts on travel and tourism.

Destination Crisis & Disaster Management on the Web: Lessons from Iceland, Greece, Thailand & the Gulf Coast.

The tourism industry is arguably one of the most important sources of income and foreign exchange for the global economy. However, national and international crises have huge negative economic consequences since tourism is especially vulnerable to crises & disasters and, being fragmented, often its response is difficult to initiate and coordinate. Tourism is also information intensive and when in crisis its information needs are increased. Destinations are extremely vulnerable to public perceptions of health and safety and need knowledge for responding successfully though effective response, recovery, and resilience strategies.

To this direction, social media have already proven their value to many destinations, not only to promote some of the world’s most popular tourism campaigns, but also as a powerful tool in their toolbox when dealing with a crisis.

Surprisingly few destinations, however, have included social media into their strategic communication frameworks – even those that have sophisticated crisis management protocols in place.

With the scale and abundance of recent crises, effective response through social media has become a highly topical issue within the tourism industry. However, while leading DMOs, industry bodies and destination marketing professionals advocate the introduction of digital media into risk/crisis management strategies as a means to better respond against adversity – the operational capacity and efficient reaction of any destination is only truly determined in conditions of pressure.

The experience of recently crisis badly affected destinations such as Thailand, Greece, Iceland and the Gulf Coast provide an opportunity to examine destinations’ social media response strategies and the common objective of destination brand recovery.

Thailand and Greece are two significant tourism destinations, which have had the misfortune of experiencing their reputations as tourism destinations suffer as a result of heavily-publicized episodes of politically-motivated violence.

In Thailand, nearly three weeks after the army crackdown on anti-government protests, many continue to use the Web as a convenient place to unload their emotions and thoughts about one of the most painful moments yet in modern Thai history. A political analyst and blogger who goes by the handle ‘Bangkok Pundit’ says that an “information deficit” had pushed people into cyberspace.

The Thai Tourism Authority (TAT) was understandably anxious to restore tourism to Thailand, and its web site has done an excellent job in addressing the protest issue. However, TAT made the error of launching a mass-marketing campaign too early while protests and the military response were at their height. While it is true that most of the Red Shirt-related violence was confined to central Bangkok, the global perception built by media coverage and heavily cautionary travel advisories was that the entire country was dangerous. TAT needed to engage a recovery alliance, which includes media, key tourism stakeholders from source markets, airlines which service Thailand, and the national carrier Thai Air.

As David Beirman (senior lecturer at the University of Technology-Sydney) successfully points out “Regrettably, TAT lost a lot of credibility from its overzealous mid-crisis destination marketing campaign so its will need to rely heavily on its stakeholders to be its messengers. TAT should certainly make a major effort to host travel-related media and opinion leaders among the tourism industry of its source markets to deliver a positive message to the tourism business and to consumers.

On the other hand, the Greek unrest was relatively short-lived and almost entirely confined to the parliamentary district of Athens. The City of Athens Official Tourist Board ( has managed to utilize its social networks immediately and provide real-time information about the incidents that were taking place at the time. On the contrary, the Greek National Tourist Board preferred to stay inactive throughout the demonstrations period without trying to inform travelers neither to promote Greece as a safe destination.

The City’s tourism authority moved even further by actively promoting a Twitter hashtag – #ATHsafety – for followers to use and share information on the ground. In addition to that the interaction with followers was also carried over to the Breathtaking Athens Facebook page, where – once again – the organization posted links to news stories about the protests and also offered advice to visitors. Moreover, a new on-line campaign will be in place within the next two weeks to further promote the City’s USPs and its brand as a safe city break destination and an ideal base for island-hopping to the Greek archipelagos.

On the same course, most of the US destinations which were affected from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill approximately seven weeks ago, are now starting to acknowledge the event after their initial hesitation. While the Florida Tourist board had a vivid reaction through the web by informing the travelers and placing pressure to both BP & the US government for helping them to recover, all the other affected states such as Louisiana, Alabama & Mississippi preferred to stay silent on the facts.

The local tourist boards have now placed messages and links to further information on their homepages, while Florida went even further and began a $2.5 million emergency response campaign in 15 of Florida’s summer drive markets on May 15. The emergency response campaign directed consumers to Florida Live on to watch live webcams, read Twitter feeds and view up-to-the-minute photos posted by real people in real time from beach destinations throughout Florida. The existing ad buys in those 15 markets will now shift to the new messaging featuring Northwest Florida. In addition to that, Florida announced an aggressive 90-day marketing campaign, pumping $7 million into the first three weeks of new advertising. The campaign is in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its mission is to encourage vacationers in other parts of the country to continue their plans to travel to Florida. Finally, Visit Florida has launched a blog site to respond to the travel industry’s request for information on the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill— the site can be found at

Last but not least, the example of the European ash crisis and the airlines social media response has been probably has probably been the most important one. As Kevin May/Tnooz nicely states:  “If the US presidential election of 2008 was the first occasion that social media played a major role in politics, then perhaps the ash drama of 2010 will be the most significant so far in travel.”

Most of the major European airlines turned to Twitter to get their message out, perhaps not due to having hundreds of thousands of followers but because it became apparent very quickly that any official status from an airline was quickly retweeted by countless Twitter users

(read the full article at:

Unfortunately for Iceland, after the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted earlier this year, the number of visitors to the country dropped significantly. This dip in tourism has been the driving force for the “Inspired By Iceland” campaign which aims to boost the image of the country and its tourism industry. The campaign hopes to show the rest of the world that Iceland is still a safe place to visit and since the volcano eruption began only a small percentage of the country has been affected by the ash.

Further to this initiative, At around 1400 GMT last Thursday (June 3), the residents of Iceland, Trade Council of Iceland, Tourist Board of Iceland and various other travel companies, such as Icelandair, logged on for an hour in support of the new “Inspired By Iceland” online campaign. Iceland’s 320,000 inhabitants have been using the Internet to send personal messages describing what they love most about their homeland and now they invite the rest of world to do the same. Yoko Ono, a long time fan of Iceland, also helped to urge people to back the “Inspired By Iceland” campaign via her Twitter and blog, as well as numerous other musicians and entertainers from Iceland and across the world. The campaign had a massive coverage from both web & traditional media and managed to draw back the attention to the country, but this time for a good reason.

It can be perceived from the above that Digital crisis communications is a new aspect that needs added to a Crisis Management plan. Social media, blogging, and tweeting have proven to be viable, usable communications tools with far reaching uses- some of which are still being defined or refined. Having examined the aforementioned cases, it derives that in the digital world a) everything happens in a lightning speed b) people demand hyper-transparency c) dialogue is as important as message delivery and d) silence won’t handle a crisis. DMOs will need to carefully incorporate social media into their crisis management plans and make sure that they have appropriate and sufficient resources for this purpose.


Storytelling for Destination Marketing goes mainstream!

More and more Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) tend to adopt 1st person storytelling marketing campaigns instead of traditional one way communication with uninspiring slogans & boring promotional texts. Peer 2 Peer Web applications seems to create viral effect much faster & more efficient than conventional media applications. Aussies show us the way with the Best Job in the World Campaign & now more and more destinations are following the trend. See examples below.

Only VegasWhat’s Your Excuse!

Bharat Nalluri Introduces The Bahamas 14 Islands Film Challenge

Stories of HawaiiThe People of Hawaii Would Like to Share their Islands with You

Thailand – Ultimate Thailand Explorers Video