“There are no strangers…just friends you haven’t met.”
The BFT team has been closely involved in every aspect of the tourism and destination marketing industry for 30 years. Although there have been countless changes over that period, one aspect remains paramount…a tourist is extremely privileged to be able to travel for pleasure, adventure or just curiosity. So, to entice those people is immensely competitive as these days they can easily visit pretty much anywhere. Often tourism marketers attempt to promote their area (town, state, region, or even country) as encompassing everything that anyone might desire. That does not create a distinct brand identity in the deciding tourist’s mind.
Nowhere can offer everything…it’s those locations that offer one prime benefit to the tourist, supported by a range of others, that identifies it as being different and, therefore, distinctly marketable. Just like positioning the benefits of any brand, a tourism destination is a brand that not only competes with many other similar ‘brands’, but is different because it is often a brand that is ‘bought’ only once and yet is remembered for a lifetime.
BFT makes destinations famous.
The world is so small, it’s all on one’s desktop
The Internet is the starting point for most people planning a trip…whether it be local or long distance, or for relaxation or sport based. As with any product or brand, understanding the subtle motivations of the likely prime visitor to one’s location is key to winning their hearts…and their hard-earned money. As with all our clients’ brand planning, BFT’s Account Planning process is the fundamental starting point (see the Account Planning page on this website).
Knowing what the potential visitor wants is only half the planning process…knowing what makes them tick and their key motivations completes the full picture. Only then can a destination position its marketing accurately and effectively.
Even though digital marketing in all its many and varied forms has become the cost of being in the tourism industry…for the largest and smallest destinations…there remains a vital role to play for traditional print. Interestingly, car manufacturers are moving away from costly, glamorous brochures because the web can largely answer pretty much any question and every vehicle is available in one’s town…but destination marketing has to encompass brochure work as, uniquely, one cannot know what the ‘product’ is really like until it is ‘bought’…and that makes tourism and destination marketing very different.
It is those tourism and destination marketing professionals who understand the need of the questioning, potential visitor to have their questions answered as quickly as possible that reap the benefits of bookings and increased visitation.
Like all the best brand marketing, promoters of tourism must create the ‘want’
Of course, the tourism brand’s budget is invariably the deciding factor in just how much pro-active marketing can be accomplished…but we find that even with a modest budget it is definitely possible to create a presence in the world of tourism. It might not be quite possible to “make a dent in the universe” (as Steve Jobs said), but it is possible to make inroads into prime competitors’ marketing.
The tourism experience starts at the airport (or the railroad station, or the seaport)…an important point often overlooked. Just as a successful organization instills in its employees to all keep to the brand message, so must a destination present the same brand stance of the location throughout its region…so much can be immediately undone so quickly by one person. It’s just like the theater…a less than perfect member of the chorus can be more memorable than the star belting out the hit song. BFT’s approach is to consider the big picture and the minute detail.
Understand the competition…no, really understand the competition
It is the wise and ultimately successful tourism marketer who understands that not every destination is competitive with every other destination…but how often is it seen that that seems to be the location’s mindset? Again, this is rooted in correct brand planning…an area that can be either overlooked or only briefly discussed prior to a tourism campaign. We won’t let that happen.
There is no ‘off season’
BFT will be with you…come rain or shine.