Category Archives: Tourism Marketing

Brands are more than logos…

Is this a good brand ? An important question but almost always asked in the wrong context.  “Is this a good brand” almost always asks for a judgement on a logo or a tagline or a creative execution.  Brand is far more than a logo or a tagline.

Destinations need to focus on what creates their brand image…what makes them special…what people talk about when they come home from the visit. This is a lot tougher than making a random call on whether the ad looks “good”.

How much is the the logo worth in this process ? I like Seth Godin’s recent blog Logo Vs Brand. It captures the place of the logo in the branding process nicley…

Blind Spots 1: World Heritage

We all have blind spots. Things that just aren’t on our radar… but probably should be. Sometimes we just need a friend to bring them to our attention.

Here in the U.S., one of our collective blind spots is the importance of the United Nations World Heritage list. Perhaps it’s because we are so aware – and proud – of our excellent, world’s-first National Park System, and our many heritage and cultural attractions, that the World Heritage list doesn’t get our attention.

It’s not because the US doesn’t have sites that have been recognized as World Heritage. There are currently 22 locations, from Jefferson’s Monticello to Hawaii’s Volcano National Park.

Whatever the reason – its a blindspot.

As the US works to increase its international visitors it is important to recognize that for folks from many of America’s visitor source markets – World Heritage is important.

In some countries, there is broad community engagement in getting sites listed – and great pride when sites achieve the recognition that their heritage is important to all of humanity. And those same people are interested in seeing the World Heritage locations in other places.

America’s World Heritage listed sites represent a great way to promote what is unique and important in the United States to people from around the world.

Take them out of the blind spot and put them in the spotlight.



Seth Godin nailed it (again) with this short post. In a couple of words he describes the reason for massive changes in destination marketing and management. Marketing used to be …

Getting Out and Experiencing Nature

I love getting out into nature. It refreshes and invigorates me. Many of my favorite memories include visits to national parks – in both Australia and the US.  My love of nature also inspires my concern for sustainability.

So – I worry that fewer people are visiting national parks and natural places. It isn’t surprising – most camping experiences are really only appealing to a relatively small group of people. Most camp grounds I’ve been to have basic facilities at best ( and filthy disgusting facilities at worst), require campers to have their own equipment and expect visitors to be “in the know” about camping. Those can be pretty big barriers to entry.

The time has come for new ways of thinking about the facilities and services we provide to allow people to experience the nature. There are large groups of people who want to experience the outdoors but don’t want to be uncomfortable doing it. Let’s find ways to satisfy their needs and get them outdoors.

Some folks will say it is good that visitation is dropping off – it means less people are out “wrecking”  natural places. I worry about the sustainability of that position. If people don’t experience these places they won’t value them with the same intensity. It is one thing to know “academically” that National Parks are a good thing, it is another to have lived it.

Perhaps purists will say that I am wrong in suggesting that “one size never fits all” and that if people want to experience outdoors they must get dirty. My response – why ? Sure – I love getting dirty and away from the crowds – but that doesn’t mean everyone has to do it the way my way. Expecting that everyone will be happy with the same product offering is the problem.

Of course – wherever there is a problem, there is opportunity. And already some entrepreneurs are starting to offer new products. Indeed,  as is often the case, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. USA Today recently included an article on “glamping”, the “new” trend of glamour camping complete with butlers and chefs.   While this isn’t exactly my cup of tea I do applaud these entrepreneurs who are seeking ways to get new groups of people to experience (and develop a love of) nature.  Between glamping and the average campground there must be many new ways of providing visitors more satisfying experiences of nature…. and its important we get it right for nature’s sake. 

Tourism Ready

To many, tourism is an economic savior that can bring jobs and opportunity. Indeed there are tourism opportunities everywhere and markets for most any type of experience. But not all markets are the same and not all destinations have the ability to service the markets they want to attract.

I have been thinking a lot about the  “human traffic jam” on Everest this week and the tourists who undertake this type of travel. The market for this type of experience is somewhat limited by all sorts of factors – money, health, access, time involved etc to name a few. This type of tourism is also limited by facilities – and it seems that we are fast approaching capacity on the world’s largest mountain.

Visitors need services and, although the opportunity to see the unique and special trumps many hardships, there is definitely a minimum threshold of services for most people. Tourism is built on a foundation of basic infrastructure . In general, as the infrastructure and services increase, the potential market increases.

Which brings me to a great article in USA Today about Afghanistan Tourism. I am sure that there is a market for Afghanistan tourism today. But it is surely limited to a brave few. So Afghan tourism has two tasks:

1. They need to identify the tourists who are prepared to visit the country today and build from this (small) foundation.

2. They need to build the infrastructure for their own communities. As that infrastructure increases so too will opportunities for tourism offers to larger markets.

It is a balancing act with great “upside” and I wish them every success !

Preparing for Global Tourism

How do profit from international tourism ?

This is a great story about how preparing for the needs of international visitors can create profits for even the smallest tourism organizations. It’s a flat world – be ready to compete !

India’s Rickshaw Driver on Marketplace

Brand USA

Brand USA, the new national tourism office of the United States, launched the new campaign Land of Dreams this week. The feedback in the industry so far seems to have been pretty positive – view the first ad for yourself at Land of Dreams