It is observed that most people think of tourism as simply as a leisure activity, the tourism industry in India is actually an important sector for our economy. It generated $120 billion, or 8.31 lakh crore and contributed approx 6.3% of nation’s GDP in 2015.
Hotels operate in a very competitive market, and employ various strategies to build their digital brand presence and recognition. And one of the successful tactic to implement such strategies is utilising multiple platforms like Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, and travel blogs which are imperative to achieve continuous growth in customer portfolio.
However, to attract the digital age travellers hoteliers should deploy and master the growing trends, and Destination Branding is one such notable trend.
What is Destination Branding?
Destination Branding is relatively a new concept and refers to promotion and marketing of places. It combines all the things associated with the place (It’s products and services, sports, arts and cultural heritage and more) that collaborate under one brand.
The aim is to capture the essence of the destination, that can be consumed at a symbolic and experiential level.
Take a look at how Madhya Pradesh tourism board is utilising destination branding to attract the new age travellers, with their latest ad campaign “Dil Ho Bacche Sa”,
The ad beautifully captures the essence of MP, supported by vibrant website, promoting and giving all the information about famous tourists destination of MP, you can watch it here.
Why is destination branding important?
Now that we know what is destination branding, let’s take a look at few travel trends worth knowing about, redefining the dynamics of industry.
1) Travellers want to Unplug
There has been a shift from ‘Always On’ traveller to Unplugged traveller, and more and more people want to spend their holidays in peace. However for travellers WiFi remains the key ingredient.
Some hotels are even boosting their lack of internet connectivity so that travellers can digitally detox themselves.
2) Removing Barriers to Travel
With each passing day, the world is getting more connected and technology is playing a pivotal role. Cheap flights have made weekend getaways a cake walk, and translation apps are breaking the communication barrier.
Business travel is also on rise because of rise in multinational organisations.
3) Discovering Unique and Untouched Places
Travellers throughout the world, and not just India, want to discover and travel to a lesser known, untouched places. Discovering untouched places is not just restricted to adventure travellers now, but even the families and corporates prefer to go to somewhere peaceful.
4) Staycation or Travelling Closer to Home
The very first point talks about how travellers want to unplug, but sometimes the tight schedule only leaves time for weekend getaways. Google search for staycation has increased 10% over 2011-2014, and will only grow.
The above trends invoke the need for destination branding. The more you publish about the lesser known places around your hotel, the more is the probability of adventure hungry travellers are going to choose you for their next vacation.
Tips for Hotels to Use Destination Branding Effectively
In order to effectively harness the benefits of destination branding, hoteliers can use these tips –
1) Do Your Research
The first thing, which is a must for success, is to do a lot of research about your hotel’s surrounding, and the best place to start is to talk to locals. Try to explore and document the exciting lesser known places, art and cultural activities, or some local delicacies.
2) Power of Social Media
Utilise your social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to share the photos and carefully curated content that you have documented earlier. Try to engage with your potential guests and educate them as much as possible about the destinations. This will ensure that when they are planning their next holiday or staycation, they will choose the destination you publicised, and in turn will prefer your property for their accommodation needs.
3) Use Your Website
For a hotel, their website is one of the biggest asset to attract and convert potential guests. Add a section or a page to your website and publish all the destinations worth exploring along with all the necessary details:
– Best time to visit
– Local delicacies
– Places to visit
– Activities to do/ take part of
Apart from using the above, you should also publish these destination data onon your hotel travel blogs., This will help your hotel to specifically target the travellers searching for such destinations and convert them into loyal guests.