Do you want to attract 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 social media tools and other promotional materials can help you promote tourism in your town or city.
Part 1 of 3: Create a Marketing Plan
Step 1. Consider what makes your town or city unique
One way to do this is to make a list of all the activities and attractions that are currently available in the city. Tourists are often interested in the things they can do and see in the town or city, rather than the location itself. They will first search for an online activity and then a location. For example: rock climbing in Bend, Oregon or fly fishing in Missoula, Montana.
- Focus on activities or attractions that are specific to your city. Even a small or strange attraction could draw visitors in and draw attention to the city, from the largest paper clip in the world to a man riding a wave in a river. Ask yourself the following: "What makes the city deserve that someone take a special trip to that place?" or "What does your city have that a tourist cannot get or do elsewhere?"
- Work with a tourism planning committee and narrow your focus on the top three things your city has to offer. The more specific you can be, rather than generic, the more likely your city will be of interest to tourists.
Step 2. Survey community members
A survey is a valuable tool during tourism planning as it helps you gather information about the city and ensures that the community can agree on the city's branding and marketing. Do face-to-face interviews or phone surveys. Ask questions like the following:
- What do you think attracts a visitor to the community?
- What type of visitor do you see visiting our community?
- How can we improve the visitor experience?
Step 3. Make a survey of visitors to the city
You can do face-to-face interviews at a local mall. You can also ask visitors to sign up for a mailing list and send them a survey by email. Ask questions like:
- 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?
- Having the endorsement of past visitors to the city or current visitors is a good way to determine how to best serve future tourists.
Step 4. Create a marketing plan
A good way to do this is to determine your target marketing segments. Define the market areas that will attract the most visitors, for example a well-known hiking trail, an important historical site, or a museum. You then divide these areas into trip duration categories and define the clientele that will be drawn to the community. Make a chart divided into categories such as the following:
- geographic market areas (with a section for day trips, night trips and extended visits)
- outdoor recreation activities (if applicable, for example camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking)
- entertainment (such as historic sites, fairs or festivals, shops, and restaurants)
- other travel purposes (such as business trips and family visits)
Step 5. Create a unique slogan
If you invent a slogan, but by removing the name of your city it is possible to connect it with the name of another, then it is not a unique slogan. Avoid common buzzwords like "explore," "discover," "center of everything," "something for everyone," "best kept secret," and so on.
Think of successful slogans such as "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas," "New York, the city that never sleeps," or "Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the New West." These slogans work because they are unique and avoid generic terms or phrases
Step 6. Make an action plan
This will be a to-do list to make the market plan come true. Must include:
- the general recommendation of the tourism planning committee (including the brand and proposed slogan)
- the marketing plan budget (including the costs of all promotional materials)
- the source of funds to implement the marketing plan
- the parties responsible for putting the marketing plan into action
- a timeline for completing and launching the marketing plan
Part 2 of 3: Use local media and promotional materials
Step 1. Create promotional materials
It can be promotional t-shirts, hats, labels and flags with the slogan and the brand of the city. Tour your city and hire a local designer or illustrator to create the promotional materials.
Sell these promotional materials at local gift shops near popular attractions
Step 2. Organize public radio commercials and television commercials
One of the best ways to promote the city is to create television and radio spots that focus on the city's slogan and the points that are mentioned in the marketing plan.
Step 3. Make a tourist map
Another great way to promote the city is to create a detailed map for tourists and post it in local shopping malls, restaurants, and bars.
The map can include a brief description of the main attractions and sites, as well as the activities that tourists can do in those places
Step 4. Run a promotional contest or giveaway
Get tourists' attention by offering them a free incentive to explore the city. Create a treasure hunt around the city and offer a prize to the winners. Offer a complimentary stay at a popular attraction for visitors participating in a raffle or survey about the city.
Part 3 of 3: Use Social Media and Other Online Tools
Step 1. Make a website and blog
If your town or city doesn't have a website yet, make one with a simple and easy-to-use template. Make sure to use high-quality graphics and images on the page so that it looks professional and inviting.
A good way to get more traffic to your website is to create a blog section there and make sure it is updated regularly. Do interviews with the locals and post them on the blog or make a post about the best activities one can do in the city depending on the season
Step 2. Create a Facebook page and post something every day
Creating a Facebook page is easier than making a web page and allows you to make friends quickly. Posting a new image of the city or a few words about an upcoming event will also ensure that your friends notice the page on their walls.
Step 3. Create a Twitter and Instagram account
Promote the city on other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Post regularly and follow users who have a strong following or a good profile.
You can also create a hashtag that uses the city's slogan and use it frequently at the end of each tweet or Instagram post. This will help you track if the city is a trend among users and thus improve your publications to get more attention on these platforms
Step 4. Start a YouTube page
YouTube is another great way to promote your city and attract more tourists. Keep the page professional and use easy-to-search terms in video titles, such as the name of the city and the name of the activity or event seen in the video.
Step 5. Use an application to promote events and attractions
Partner with a developer to create a smartphone app and promote local events through it. The application can be programmed to display hotels, restaurants, shops and events, as well as other important tourist information such as directions, location of information centers and public restrooms, and suggested itineraries.