Tourism 101 and Traveling to Mars?!

Posted by Whitney Daly on Mar 3, 2016 12:37:09 PM

Earlier this year, we posted a blog about utilizing tourism marketing to drive economic growth. And while those strategies remain important for DMOs and CVBs, we wanted to talk about another aspect of the tourism industry - the creative work (and methodology behind it) for two unique destination marketing campaigns (one internal, one external). How these campaigns are developed - from the strategic brainstorming to the creative execution - depend largely on target audiences, the consumption of media, and the likelihood of someone taking action.

During a recent Tourism 101 training presented by the Atlas leadership team, we learned the average age of leisure travelers is 47.5 years old, and mature travelers comprise 36% of leisure travel volume (18% are 65+, 18% are 55-64)*. So while tourism marketing efforts, like those of economic development organizations, are sure to go the way of digital (and they by all means already have), we have to keep in mind that Baby Boomers account for a large portion of those "jet-setting." For the tourism industry, this means continuing to target its most "frequent flyers" (the right target audiences) with the right messages and via the right mediums. Is there a magic equation? It all depends on your place, the types of people you want to attract to your place, and the best ways to promote and highlight your destination's best assets (with consideration given to the ways in which people consume marketing).

Case Study
For Taos, NM, Baby Boomers continue to be their primary target audience, with Gen X'ers coming in second. Understanding the travel trends of Boomers - ecotourism, adventure, medical tourism, multigenerational travel, bucket list trips, passions, and spiritual related activities - their latest print ad (showing a standup paddleboarder on the Rio Grande River) hits the nail on the head and showcases Taos as a place where a Boomer can experience nearly all of it.

Another interesting fact we gleaned from training was that two years ago, the tourism industry saw 1.7 billion person-trips for leisure purposes. Visiting relatives, shopping, visiting friends, fine dining, and beaches were the top reasons people chose to travel. What does this tell us about tourism marketing now? That while yes, Navy Pier and Willis Tower will remain iconic tourist destinations in Chicago, people are really traveling to see an old friend and dine at a posh eatery.

Knowing the role tourism plays in a mars-small.jpglarger economy helps shape advocacy, awareness, consideration, and conversion for destinations. And destinations that outperform their peers in attracting visitors outperform in the overall economy as well.

So what about the future of tourism? Where is the industry going? If you want a literal answer to that question, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology has the answer. Space. Their cosmic posters depicting travel to 14 alien destinations implies that our future vacation destinations will truly be out of this world.

What other interesting things are happening in the tourism realm? We want to hear from you. Let's talk tourism. And while we're on the subject, check out our latest webinar, 5 Strategies to Leverage Tourism Marketing for Economic Development.

Click Here to Download the Recording


Topics: Tourism, tourism marketing, destination marketing

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