How to Promote Tourism

Three Parts:Creating a Marketing PlanUsing Promotional Materials and Local MediaUsing Social Media and Other Online Tools

Looking to attract some new visitors to your town or city? In our current digital age, getting tourists to pay attention to a specific place is more possible than ever. Developing a marketing plan and using tools social media and other promotional materials, can all help to promote tourism in your town or city.

Part 1
Creating a Marketing Plan

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    Consider what makes your town or city unique. One way to do this is to make a list of all the activities and attractions currently available in the town. Often, tourist are interested in the things they can do and see in your town or city, more than the location of the town or city itself. They will search online for an activity first and then a location. For example: rock climbing Bend, Oregon, or fly fishing Missoula, Montana.[1]
    • Focus on activities or attractions that are specific to your town. Even a small or strange attraction could attract visitors and bring attention to the town, from the world’s largest paper clip to a man made wave in a river. Ask yourself: What makes the town worth a special trip? What do you have that a tourist can’t get or do somewhere else?
    • Work with a tourism planning committee and narrow your focus on the top three things your town has to offer. The more specific, rather than generic, you can be, the more likely your town will be of interest to tourists.
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    Conduct a survey of the members of the community. A survey is a valuable tool during tourism planning as it helps you collect information on the town and ensures the community can agree on the branding and marketing for the town. Do face to face interviews or phone surveys. Ask questions such as:[2]
    • What do you think attracts a visitor to the community?
    • What type of visitor do you see coming to our community?
    • How can we do to improve the visitor’s experience?
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    Do a survey of visitors to the town. You can conduct face to face interviews at the local shopping mall. You can also ask visitors to sign up to a mailing list and email them a survey. Ask questions such as:[3]
    • Where does the visitor live?
    • What attracted the visitor to the community?
    • How did the visitor find out about the tourist attractions?
    • What type of businesses or facilities did the visitor use?
    • What kinds of accommodations or services are needed?
    • A third party endorsement from previous visitors to the town or current visitors is a good way to determine how to better serve future tourists.
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    Create a marketing plan. A good way to do this is to determine target marketing segments. Define market areas that will draw the most visitors, like a well known hiking trail, an important historical site, or a museum. Then, divide these areas into trip length categories, and define the clientele that will be attracted to the community. Create a chart broken into categories such as:[4]
    • Geographic market areas, with a section for day trips, overnight trips, and extended visits.
    • Outdoor recreation activities, if any, such as camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
    • Entertainment, such as historic sites, fairs or festivals, shopping, and dining.
    • Other travel purposes, such as business trips and family visits.
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    Create a unique slogan. If you come up with a slogan, but its possible to remove your town’s name and plug in another town’s name, it is not a unique slogan. Avoid common buzzwords like “explore” “discover” “center of it all” “something for everyone” “best kept secret”, etc.
    • Think about successful slogans, like Las Vegas’ “What happens here, stays here”, New York’s “The City That Never Sleeps” or Calgary, Alberta’s “Heart of the New West”. They work because they are unique and avoid generic terms or phrases.
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    Make an action plan. This will be a to do list to make the market plan a reality. It should include:[5]
    • The overall recommendation from the tourism planning committee, including the proposed slogan and branding.
    • The budget of the marketing plan, including the costs of all promotional materials.
    • The source of the funds to put the marketing plan into action.
    • The responsible parties of putting the marketing plan into action.
    • A timeline for the completion and launch of the marketing plan.

Part 2
Using Promotional Materials and Local Media

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    Create promotional materials. These can be promotional t-shirts, hats, stickers, and flags with the town slogan and branding. Go local and hire a local illustrator or designer to create the promotional materials.[6]
    • Sell these promotional materials at local gift shops located close to popular attractions.
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    Organize public radio spots and television ads. One of the best ways to promote the town is to create radio and television ads, focusing on the slogan for the town and the points discussed in the marketing plan.[7]
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    Make a tourist map. Another great way to promote the town is to create a detailed map for tourists and place them in local malls, restaurants, and bars.[8]
    • The map can include a brief description of key attractions and sites, as well as activities tourists can do at these locations.
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    Do a promotional draw or contest. Get the attention of tourists by offering them a free incentive to explore the town. Create a scavenger hunt around the town and offer a prize to the winners. Offer a complimentary stay at a popular attraction to visitors who enter a draw or a survey about the town.[9]

Part 3
Using Social Media and Other Online Tools

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    Make a website and keep a blog. If your town or city doesn’t already have a website, make a website with a simple, easy to use template. Be sure to use high quality images and graphics on the site so it looks professional and inviting.[10]
    • A good way to get more traffic to the website is to create a blog section on the site and make sure it is updated regularly. Conduct interviews with locals and post the interviews on the blog, or do a post on the best activities to do in the town based on the season.
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    Create a Facebook page and post something every day. Creating a Facebook page is easier to do than building a website and allows you to make friends quickly. Posting a new image of the town or a few words about an upcoming event will also ensure your friends notice the page on their Newsfeeds.[11]
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    Make a Twitter and Instagram account. Promote the town on other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Post regularly and follow users with lots of followers or a high profile.[12]
    • You can also create a hashtag that uses the slogan for the town and use it often at the end of every tweet or Instagram post. This will help you track if the town is trending among users and improve your posts to get more attention on these platforms.
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    Start a Youtube page. Youtube is another great way to promote your town and attract more tourists. Keep the page professional and use easy to search terms in the titles of the videos, such as the name of the town and the activity or event in the video.[13]
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    Use an app to promote events and attractions. Partner with a developer to create a smartphone app and promote local events through the app. The app can be programmed to showcase hotels, restaurants, shopping, and events, as well as other important tourism information like directions, the location of information centers and public restrooms, and suggested itineraries.[14]

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Categories: Travel