Role of events in destination branding: Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director, Dome Entertainment
Including events in the marketing plan is essential to reach out to the potential travellers directly and break the clutter to give them a glimpse of the experiences writes Mazhar Nadiadwala.
Destinations across the world today are vying for the attention of discerning travellers who love a good deal. The explorers are looking for novelty while the families are looking for amazing experiences. Clearly, the competition with destinations is fierce with tour operators and tourism boards contending for popularity. Four of the ways of marketing this is through promotions, sales, advertising and publicity.
The first three ideas are fairly simple and obvious for destination branding. However, when it comes to publicity, a lot of destination brands stop at media relations. This needs to change and include ‘events’ as part of their BTL activities. The reason for including events in the marketing plan is to reach out to the potential travellers directly and break the clutter to give them a glimpse of the experiences.
Creation of Experiences
A destination travel experience is all about pleasing the senses and what better way to entice the customers than giving them a sneak peak at these experiences. We can recreate parts of these experiences for the customers on ground through the event where they can get a glimpse of the sights, a taste of the culinary delights as well as a look at the special occasions which can be celebrated at the destinations. The events can even give the people a sample experience of the weather there or the sights through Virtual Reality experience.
Choosing the right TG
Every brand has a different set of target audience for different products. Depending on the brand offering or the product line, the TG varies basis their age, sex, city of residence, income group among other factors. Similarly, like brands, different destinations are also same as brands and aim to target various set of audiences for different offerings. For a vacation package of Disneyland or Universal Studios, people ideally prefer to go with their families hence the TG is aimed at that target group. Millennial or young travelers opt for adventurous/ leisure trips to destinations like New Zealand, Bali or similar locations. Hence, the first step for marketing destinations is to find your target group.
A Bouquet of Experiences
It is not necessary for every destination to create an exclusive experience as this would mean investment in procuring the audience as well. Instead, a host of destinations can come together
at one platform to give a whole bevy of experiences under one roof for the audiences to have a choice of exploration. This means that there would be something for everyone basis their choices, budgets, occasions and preferences. These events are a perfect way to reach out to a larger audience base, some of whom might see your destination as aspirational.
Cutting through the clutter in the current travel and tourism market is through creation of personalized experiences for your customers. The idea is to make them feel like their travel needs are understood and there is one brand/ company which have all the solutions for them. This form of experiences can best be promoted through actual personal interactions with potential clients. Apart from this, this is also a great platform for the destination brands to understand what exactly the requirements of their potential clients are. By this form of personalization option, destinations are also able to reduce the cost of acquiring per customer as they would be able to present the facet that is required by each individual client.
Give the destination a face
Everyone remembers our Bollywood actors as faces of brands and the reason it works beautifully is that it creates a whole new level of trust in the customers. Similarly, using hosts or actual tour managers as faces for your destination can work beautifully as well. It is like a tasting of the culture and experience along with the detailing of the individualized experience.
Brand creation is a long term and tedious process. This is the same for destination brands as well. Above the line and below the line marketing need to go hand in hand for effective communication pattern of the destination brands. This would mean an effective usage of budget while making a deep impact on the market
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