With all the travel destinations in the Midwest, why would someone choose yours? It’s a good question. And during a period of economic change, when travelers are reconsidering their travel habits and pondering new vacation and getaway options, it’s the crucial question for every destination.
Communities and tourism-related businesses should be able to quickly answer the question “Why here?” What do you have that no other destination can offer? Are you the perfect escape destination for a particular metro area? Does your community have an alluring personality that truly sets it apart? What recreational, cultural or scenic wonders do you offer? Are you folksy? Are you cool?
You have to have something. Whether you’re a remote backwater perfect for paddlers or an upscale shopping paradise, you’ve got something that makes you shine above all other destinations. The key is having the honesty, humility and experience to identify just what that is. When you find it, you’ve got a seed that can grow into one heck of a destination marketing strategy.
Too often, destinations choose to advertise the assets that they think people want, even when the destination doesn’t really have those particular assets. Any success that follows from such a plan is short-lived. Marketing and advertising can attract new travelers to an area, but it is the traveler’s experience that determines whether or not they come back. False or misleading marketing messages just create dissatisfied travelers.
So, figure out what makes you so special and then market the snot out of it. That’s destination marketing in a nutshell (although it’s maybe a touch more complicated than that).