Illustration of a cell phone and a coffee mug

Destination Marketing 101: How to Showcase Your Destination Online

Woman standing in front of a billboard with an advertisement that says "where do you want to travel today?" Photo credit: lechatnoir

In 2023, travel is more accessible than it’s ever been before. With the whole world opening back up after a global pandemic, travelers are more eager than ever to pack their bags and head somewhere fresh. This is great news for the travel and hospitality industry, but as any tourism professional knows, increased interest can be a double-edged sword. With a hot market, there comes more competition and more efforts to attract eager travelers ready to organize what could be their first vacation in several years. What does this mean if you’re trying to market your destination in 2023? Simply put, the time to elevate your campaigns is now! This guide will tell you how to make the most of your tourism marketing and quickly grow your brand online.

What is Destination Marketing? 

Destination marketing is marketing that promotes a location and its unique qualities. Just about anything your brand is doing to draw attention to your destination can fall under this category. Some travelers still favor traditional methods like printed brochures, flyers, magazine ads, billboards, and TV commercials. Others are just as likely to book their trip after seeing a compelling video by influencers on social media as they are to pour months of research into their travel plans. 

What is the Importance of Destination Marketing?

Even if the destination you’re promoting is popular worldwide, marketing is still essential. Coca-Cola’s marketing efforts provide an excellent example of this. There are ads and product placements for their famous soft drinks everywhere, even though this is one of the most popular brands globally. 

In 2022, Coca-Cola’s reported revenue was more than $42 billion. Yet, there are still plenty of TV commercials, transportation ads, social media posts, and more in just about every region of the world. This is because Coke knows that even if you’re selling something that would be popular worldwide, there’s always going to be somebody who hasn’t heard of it, didn’t think about it this time, or saw a compelling ad campaign from a competitor. Your marketing efforts get people thinking about your specific offer and influence sales.

Destination Marketing Strategies 

While it may not be too challenging to sell a tourism package for a place like Mykonos in the summer, the sale is less likely to happen if the potential customer doesn’t know about the offer. You could be offering the trip of a lifetime to a bucket list destination and still struggle due to things like seasonality or more assertive competition. Here’s where an effective strategy comes in. 

There are some unchanging facts about your destination, and you provide the best value when those are clearly communicated. With the right tools and structures in place, your content marketing can maintain an evergreen message while adapting to ever-changing consumer interests. Let's take a look at some strategies and resources you can implement. 

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most important tactics in your toolbelt as a tourism professional. While we receive so many marketing emails daily, email is still a proven and effective way to reach our goals. This includes connecting with your audience, increasing customer loyalty, and keeping your brand name top of mind when travelers are beginning their search.

  • Special Offer Emails: While your audience may be eager to head to your destination, an incentive is always helpful. As we see with the success of websites like Hotels, Expedia, and Trivago, travelers are looking for the best deal and are savvy enough to search for it. Save your customers’ time and energy by delivering special offers on your packages and promotions right to their inboxes.

  • Newsletters: A newsletter should be a guiding star for your email marketing. While not the only type of marketing email you should be sending to potential customers and past customers, it is one of the most important. Your emails do not have to be super long, but they should speak to your audience where they are. Check out this engaging example from Marriott Bonvoy

Example of an email from Marriott Bonvoy.
Video Marketing

Tourism marketing is, first and foremost, about sharing an experience. Thanks to platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and more, you can share the most incredible glimpses of your destination – and do in less than 60 seconds what could take an entire website to describe. Take full advantage of your beautiful surroundings, and shoot plenty of videos of the things that make your destination stand out. Is it the scenery, the staff, or unique amenities travelers can’t find anywhere else?

While quality video footage can be pricey without an in-house videographer on your team, it is worth the time and effort to create dazzling videos of your destination to showcase your brand's offerings. You can also create beautiful footage with a smartphone or rent equipment to capture footage periodically throughout the year. Video content can captivate an audience and drive action when paired with your other marketing materials. Issuu empowers you to add videos directly to the pages of your brochures, destination guides, accommodation booklets, and more with our video embed feature. This means that each material you create to market your destination can be as descriptive and immersive as possible. 

Take Advantage of Images

Like video, high-quality images can do all the talking for you when pitching your destination as the top spot on everyone’s travel list this year. Whether you have a creative team in-house to curate a beautiful selection of images or need to hire external help, the better the quality of the images, the better results you’ll have with marketing your content.

Accommodation Listings

When it comes to accommodation listings, images are just as important as the copy you write to describe the location. Few things make a weary traveler more uncomfortable than spending a day traveling to a destination only to arrive at accommodations that look nothing like what they were expecting. A selection of high-resolution images helps paint a clear picture of what everything feels like and goes a long way toward managing expectations and providing a positive experience. 

Local Dining and Events 

Part of the reason people travel to new locations is to experience a different culture or experience something that takes them out of their everyday lives. Others want an experience that feels familiar and provides them a slice of home. Food and entertainment go a long way towards achieving the ideal experience in your location, so make sure to highlight what’s being offered in the way of culinary delights. 

When designing your content, work with local restaurants, cafés, eateries, and bars to create an excellent list of all the best dining, drinking, and going out locations nearby. Businesses will be happy about the promotion, which can help foster a more robust small business community in your destination. It’s a win-win for everybody. 

Landmarks and Hotspots 

Landmarks and local hotspots are the cornerstones of effective destination marketing, especially in the age of Instagram and TikTok. People will travel countless miles to see something they’ve heard about for years or seen shared by their favorite influencers. To market local landmarks, a brochure or travel guide can go a long way toward inviting bookings. InDesign helps you create beautiful image-focused materials, and with our InDesign plug-in, you can seamlessly design and publish a page-turning guide to your destination’s hotspots. 

Multichannel Marketing with Social Posts

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to share about your location is to go where the travelers are. If there’s one thing we know about travelers, it’s that you can find them everywhere on social media. This is why major brands partner with travel influencers worldwide to help show off their destinations.

Using Issuu, you can market your destination across every channel and have content ready to go from your brochures in an instant with our Social Posts feature. Create colorful, engaging graphics in no time at all with our quick-converting Social Posts workspace (learn how here). With TikTok and Instagram Reels taking over the social media experience for many young travelers, it’s helpful to create content that captures attention on each of these platforms.

Examples of Destination Marketing

Everywhere you look, you can find inspiration for your marketing campaign. Here are some of our favorite Issuu customers who make showcasing the full range of benefits in their destination seamless, engaging, and intuitive for their customers and staff alike. 

Destination Brochure: Visit Bath’s Official Visitor Guide 2022 

Accommodation Guidebook: Kempinski’s Your Haven Guide

Food and Dining Guide: Lake District’s Cumbria Food & Drink Guide

All-Inclusive Expeditions:  National Geographic’s Expeditions Travel Catalog 2023-2024

Activity Guide: Megève’s Summer 2022 Guidebook for Hiking and Walks

Now that you know all about destination marketing and have some examples from successful brands in the tourism space, you can still create your most successful marketing campaigns. 

Whether you’re looking for ways to generate interest during the off-season, showing value through changing travel trends, or sharing your brochures on any device, Issuu is an all-in-one platform here to help you showcase your destination online like never before.