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Creative moves in destination marketing

BY DERRICK VIKIRU

By using cunning marketing and advertising campaigns, countries all over the world have successfully tried to convince visitors that travel and tourism in their country is the best.

Has it ever occurred to you that you don’t choose your holiday destination all by yourself? Oh no! You don’t. Think again! By using cunning marketing and advertising campaigns, countries all over the world have successfully tried to convince you that travel and tourism in their country is the best. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report features many factors that are taken to account when analysing a country’s overall competitiveness. The research encompasses one key variable; effectiveness of the marketing, advertising and branding campaigns countries use to attract tourists. WEF conducts surveys and engages leaders in travel and tourism each year to carry out an in-depth analysis of the Travel and Tourism (T&T) competitiveness of 136 economies across the world. 

Vigorous campaigns

Global tourism and travel is a multibillion-dollar industry. In the past decades, travel and tourism and its enabling ecosystem have proven to be significant drivers of economic growth, contributing over 10 per cent to global GDP and accounting for 1 in 10 jobs on the planet, according to WEF. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report of 2017 focused on ensuring the industry’s sustained growth in an uncertain security environment, while preserving the natural environment and local communities.

The report which featured top tourist destinations in the world, comes in the wake of countries launching vigorous tourism marketing campaigns to promote tourism back home, with keen focus on the quality and quantity of their marketing output. The outcome of the competitiveness report isn’t astonishing. The report ranked Spain at first place globally in the global T&T competitiveness index for the second time. The report attributed Spain’s success to its unique offer on cultural and natural resources, and sound tourism service infrastructure, air transport connectivity and strong policy support. 

Value offerings and experiences

Notable countries that have improved in ranking over the years include the United Arab Emirates. From airlines to attractions to shopping, the country received high scoring in all marketing departments. For example, the Visit Dubai and #BeMyGuest summer awareness campaigns launched by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing highlights diversity of Dubai’s value offerings and experiences. According to Gulf News, a record-breaking number of international travellers (15.8 million people – up by 6.2 per cent in 2016) flew into Dubai in 2017, positioning the city as one of the leading tourist capitals globally.

In the report, Rwanda featured prominently for some apparent reason. It is believed that its ranking might be due to the big apes that inhabit the country – gorillas – which have been attracting tourists for long. But think again! The country has made deliberate efforts to promote tourism, the most notable being the Rwandan-Arsenal sponsorship deal worth KSh4 billion (USD39 million). This deal saw the phrase Visit Rwanda printed on the sleeves of Arsenal jerseys. Kagame’s supporters and marketing industry experts lauded the move as a canny one – with one expert estimating that the investment could rake in KSh34 billion (USD340 million) in new revenue.

Tourism marketing through Film

Film promotion of a country as a tourism destination has also been on the rise. The year 2017 saw creatives from around the world descend to southern France for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a highly coveted creative awards in the industry. This festival saw films that featured countries as extraordinary tourism destination in the world feted. The shooting of Game on Thrones, a popular HBO series, in some parts of Ireland opened doors for its tourism, the series being a major tourism driver for its filming locations in Northern Ireland. A short film about the project on YouTube was viewed 17 million times in 2017, and the campaign reached an estimated 126 million people. The campaign won a Gold “Special Build,” a Silver “Use of Ambient Outdoor” and a Bronze Lion in the Media category for “Use of Social Platforms” for Publicis London and Tourism Ireland.

New Zealand also adopted the same method of film tourism marketing as Ireland, using its gorgeous film-location landscapes to attract visitors through The Lord of the Rings series. The series was largely shot in the country making ‘Tolkien Tourism’ (a phenomenon of fans of The Lord of the Rings fictional universe travelling to sites of film- and book-related significance) go over the roof.

The experience of authentic Britain

London is the most popular international tourist destination. However, most tourists never leave the city to explore the rest of Britain. As such Visit Britain and Expedia teamed up to shoot five identical films about different parts of Britain to showcase the experience of authentic Britain. The campaign showed strong business results as bookings, overall sales, and revenue increased; with 128,000 more bookings, a 6 per cent sales increase and USD1.6 million in revenue from bookings to Great Britain. The campaign won a Gold Lion in the Cyber category, Silver Lion in the Digital Craft category and a Bronze in the Mobile Category for Websites.

Derrick Vikiru is the Sub-Editor Management Magazine. Email: dvikiru@kim.ac.ke

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