Putting a City on the Map as a Tourist Destination: Welcome to Citymarketing
What do we understand as tourist marketing? What are we promising when we sell tourist experiences? How can we put a city on the map among the collective imaginary? These, and other aspects, need to be revised every time, as a kind of mantra, whenever we start any project involving citymarketing.
This is not about improvising, nor preconceived ideas or prejudices. It is not based on conformism or self-satisfaction. Careful, we say this because it is not surprising to see yourself tempted by the commodity of a self-centered perspective and certain strategic myopia. These vices use to go hand in hand with a lack of aspiration and ambition, and we see them very often in real cases, with names and demonyms. However, what is actually a good tool to induce a reality that we want to represent and project towards the target public, is intuition. That is when we are creating a brand with highly potential success.
We understand citymarketing as the definition, development, diffusion and maintenance of the promise of a vital experience, which has to be fulfilled through a series of products and services, which answers to those desires, needs, expectations or dreams for which a specific public is willing to invest certain resources.
Walking, through actions, contents and specific campaigns, makes Destination Marketing'.
From the tourist with a camera to the consumer of trip experiences
Nowadays, tourism is experiencing the second biggest revolution of its history. Precisely, it was another one, the Industrial Revolution, and its consequent apparition of the railway, which triggered tourism as a mass phenomenon. As if it was a fifty-year campaign, the Romantic epoque and the Colonial period generated a new need to travel, a magical and aspirational world that industrialization made come true for a great part of the population (still the privileged one). This sparked definitely during the roaring 20’s.
Going back to the present, the digital revolution has triggered an extraordinary change in the uses, habits and profiles of the tourism consumer. Visual communication, web contents and the activity in social networks are shaping the values and promises that the public associate to a determined city brand. These expectations over the image of a tourist destination created by digital media, with its interactions and snowball effects, with its truth and its lies, will become engines of the consumerism experience. The tourist will expect to experience the promised trip (that’s obvious), and, when in the destination, he/she will even try to experience it under the constructed aura of what they were told about the city (which isn’t so obvious).
Walking makes destination marketing. The identity has to be created through actions, contents and specific campaigns. Citymarketing is not subject for contemplative practices, and the day-to-day will be the judge who sentences our discourse. To create an alive identity, it will need to gather four basic aspects:
- Aspirational. Without mistaking it with fake glamour.
- Real. It has to be true, but it can be a demonstrated truth, a beautiful truth or an upcoming truth.
- Purposeful. And if it does not have one...it needs to be created.
- Unforgettable. We want to construct a unique and different identity in the eyes of the consumer.
These principles will be always taken into account during the life of our brand, so it is always good to take a few minutes to design a Destination Brand Benefit Pyramid, which we can put in a very visible place in the office (next to the calendar and our family picture, for example).
From Storytelling to Inbound Marketing: Seville and Costa del Sol
As aforementioned, walking and day-to-day traveling through the city’s digital networks is what makes destination marketing. Here at INNN, we have personally experienced two gratifying experiences of destination communication. These two fascinating projects are two of our most recent ones: Seville and Costa del Sol.
For the modulation of Seville’s storytelling in digital environments, we found out that apart from visual characteristics, we needed to propose experiences and differentiation, that is, provide experiences and relevance.
Within the ecosystem of the brand’s media, the new website of Turismo de Sevilla, has acquired a prominent value in the storytelling. It is a webguide which provides services to the visitant but also presents a story, an ensemble of stories linked to one another, creating a motivational sequence the user can internalize. Thanks to this functioning, the digital media of Turismo de Sevilla act as an inspiration for the pre-trip, the trip itself and the post-trip experiences.
Great part of the results obtained through citymarketing strategies depend on the relationship they establish with their public: from potential to real ones. To make this dialogue successful, it is necessary to speak their language, to speak about things which may seem interesting to them, provide them with interesting and motivating content and feasible value proposals. This is what we did for the digital communication of Turismo de la Costa del Sol.
The Inbound Marketing strategy that INNN implemented for this leader of world’s tourism, based content creation on the identification of trends adapted to different publics, users that move forward naturally through the conversion funnel, who experience on our part a progressive affinity and polishing of the provided and planned contents: fulfilled expectations of our consumers which generate new wishes.