Tourism marketing: time to take a detour?

As the Singapore Tourism Board had embarked on a debatably controversial execution in targeting the Australian audience, I like to share with you some of the thoughts I have on tourism advertising.

When you are everywhere, you are nowhere.

When you are somewhere, you are everywhere.

– Rumi

One of the main challenges in promoting a place as tourist destination is that it is almost impossible to agreed on a single proposition, simply because of the number of stakeholders involved – from politicians, businesses, industry bodies to ordinary citizen – each hold on to their own agenda; as are the complex segmentation of target audiences categorised by region and at the same time cutting through different sectors.

The outcome often turns out to be somewhat of a compromise and most often than not, the ‘agreed’ execution is watered down to the lowest common denominator.

Is it time for tourism marketing to take a detour?

With a much richer media landscape to build your brand story these days, would a well-orchestrated multi-touchpoint strategy, each reaching a very specific target be more effective? Apart from the mass appeal ‘poster image attraction’ approach are we missing out the niche interests? Are we underestimating the power of the people? Will campaigns like ‘Community of Sweden’ making the most of sharing and user generated content work in your culture?

Here I have randomly clipped some of the recent campaigns by various tourism boards from Portugal, Turkey, India, Norway and Austria. These are by no means comprehensive nor representative (and you will see what I meant). What I like to provoke are discussions on what makes a tourism campaign successful. And more important, how a watered-down message simply won’t help.

I also like to hear any good examples of tourism marketing tactics that work specifically for your market, and what we can learn from it. (Tweet @louiechow)