Based in South Florida, integrated marketing agency Dreamweaver Brand Communications is located in the epicenter of where tourism and hospitality marketing, social media, and PR converge. Maintaining and positioning tourist destinations as literally “hot,” “hip” and “relevant” doesn’t happen overnight in a competitive city like Miami with many options. Typically, travel, tourism, and hospitality marketing, social media, and public relations accomplish three long-term strategic goals and objectives:
- Increase the profile of emerging destinations through hospitality marketing
- Enhance the desirability and prestige of established destinations through hospitality public relations
- Reestablish and rebrand a destination as the “it” location to be seen at through hospitality social media
These three marketing, social media, and public relations tips will increase brand awareness of your destination both with potential tourists, with a visitor who has already arrived at their destination and within the travel, hospitality, and tourism industry.
IDENTIFY TRAVELER INTENT AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
One of the benefits of the internet is the community like atmosphere within certain industries and travel, and tourism has enjoyed long-standing on-line communities. Travelers are known to be a “social bunch.” The conversation has moved from the bingo hall to online communities. Dreamweaver social media, taps into each since each community is different; some niche communities are for adventure tourism, some communities are for cruisers, while others are for medical tourism, and lastly there are communities for family orientated destinations. The community list could go on and on. Tapping into these online communities is critical because your audience is segmented already for you by which community they belong to. The use of traditional travel demographics and travel brochures and catalogs are long gone and are not applicable in the online space. Social media imagery and digital advertisements replaced them. Infiltrating these niche communities not only to listen to what the community is saying but also engage with them with high quality digital promotional images of your tourist destinations with authentic strategic messaging will aid you in identifying customer intent and increase brand awareness.
The large players in the travel space have learned how to identify traveler intent because it is vital to understand where they are coming from and why. Due to the current situation in the middle-east, tourism is down in Egypt, terrorist fears across Europe have decreased tourism across the EU, niche destinations can exploit these global events to attract North American and Asian travelers who historically visit Europe during the summer months. European’s are notorious for their travels, so determining their future travel intent and marketing to them is vital for your destinations success.
DEVELOP HOSPITALITY BRAND AWARENESS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
Luxury hotels, mid-market hotel chains, cruise lines, boutique hotels, nightclubs, and airlines have been leveraging social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to raise brand awareness. Social media is here to stay with a new mobile social media account being created every 12 seconds. Unlike many other industries, the tourism and hospitality industries can leverage the power of social media on both sides, both corporate and traveler generated. The following travel and hospitality social media facts might surprise you:
- 44% of consumers more likely to learn about a new travel or hospitality brand on Twitter than on other social media networks (Twitter, 2014)
- A recent study from Yesmail 30.8% of hotel brands is on Instagram
- 97% of millennials snap and share pictures while traveling, on social media sites that are visual in nature such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and even Twitter. (Frederic Gonzalo, 2016)
- 27% of Twitter users share positive travel experiences, creating positive buzz for hospitality brands and the destinations they mention (Twitter, 2014)
- 5 out of 6 millennials connect with hospitality companies on social media but want something in return (predominantly rewards, perks & discounts) (SDL, 2014)A free margarita does not cut it anymore, Dreamweaver Brand Communications can help you develop an integrated rewards programs that is both profitable for your destinationand attracts more visitors.
Travel and hospitality companies realized the potential to increase brand awareness, build or rebuild a brand to generate revenue via social media channels. Just because it is a potential revenue model, do not waste your time and resources on joining and then managing every social media channel. Find out where your current and target customers are active, and then join those social media communities. At DBC we tell clients all the time, just because there’s a new social network, it does not mean you need to join it – first research and determine if that is where your audience is. Social media is also used as a customer service channel, so be sure you have a plan in place to deal with an unhappy hospitality client and engage with positive hospitality clients. Leveraging social media and social media advertising to build and maintain brand awareness within the hospitality and tourism industry is a must.
MEDICAL TOURISM MARKETING
People from many countries are traveling for health reasons, what we call in the industry medical tourism. According to a recent study by Patients without Borders, the worldwide medical tourism market is growing at a rate of 15-25% per annum. Typically, traveling to western countries for medical reasons or procedures was only for the rich and famous in developing countries but times have changed.
Medical tourism brand awareness and public relations campaigns have made many destinations popular among medical tourists. Some of these locations include Miami, NYC, Vietnam, and South Korea. Lawmakers in the State of Florida even went so far to introduce legislation to draw medical tourists to Florida with $5 million dollars in funds for medical tourism marketing and PR.
LEVERAGE UNIQUE CELEBRITY INFLUENCER AND SOCIAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES
Nothing establishes, enhances, or improves brand awareness of a tourist destination like a visit from William and Kate. Let’s be realistic; it is hard to get on their social calendar, but a strategic hospitality marketing and public relations firm can leverage other celebrity opportunities to increase brand awareness and drive foot traffic. For example, you are a new luxury resort on South Beach in Miami, and you want to increase brand awareness and prestige of your resort. A strategic South Florida marketing, PR and social media celebrity influencer booking agency like Dreamweaver Brand Communications with connections to Miami, celebrities and celebrity photogs could arrange for a celebrity influencer like Kim K to stay at, enjoy dinner at, party at, or just make an appearance at your luxury resort. The celebrity photographers will be on-hand, and before you know it the images of Kim K are uploaded to the internet, and well the rest is history. This coverage will generate large pickups from sites like the DailyMail, Social Miami and Perez Hilton and create instant brand awareness and a new group of followers for your hospitality brand on social media. Even if it is not planned in advance with Kim K, leverage every opportunity to position your destination as the “it” place to be by creating unique opportunities and memorable moments. The State of Florida signed Miami Native Pitbull to be there celebrity influencer to drive tourism. A celebrity influencer like Pitbull and for a sustained tourism campaign can cost more than $1 million for a series of appearances, social media postings, and video shoots. An experienced celebrity PR and marketing influencer agency like Dreamweaver Brand Communications negotiates contracts like this.
INTEGRATED BRAND COMMUNICATIONS: BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS
Building brand awareness for your hospitality brand and destination needs an integrated approach. The hospitality marketing agency you select should use a variety of initiatives and have preexisting relationships in fashion, lifestyle media, and travel to get off to a strong start. In order to change the tastes and origins of visitors due to a recent rebranding or establishing your location as the “it” place, your strategy and branding initiatives should focus on storytelling with a theme and pitch that to media. Over time, the story and theme are weaved into your brand’s DNA. For example, Fashion & lifestyle media often include travel in their editorial sections so your integrated brand communications firm should be actively pitching your story across multiple channels. Hospitality brand awareness in the social media age is critical to your brand’s success. Visual storytelling through your digital PR and marketing firm will build brand awareness and merge with traditional PR a. Throw in a celebrity or social media influencer into the mix and you have a recipe for success. At the end of the day or night, (hospitality does keep different hours) the goal is to tell your story and manage public perceptions.
Understanding the traveler, understanding the purpose of their trip, and engaging with them in the communities that they are part of will drive increased travel and hospitality brand awareness. Just because you have a great destination; does not automatically mean increased foot traffic, increased room books, or large lines to enter your nightclub. Tourism and hospitality marketing, social media, and public relations can build and long-lasting brand awareness and make your destination, the destination to be seen at for years to come.