5 Reasons to Use Local Media as Ambassadors In Destination Marketing

May 26, 2022

So much of destination marketing is about describing the experience of an outsider in a destination – but there is untapped value in using local media as ambassadors in destination marketing as well.

Working with big-name influencers and writers for travel publications will always be a winning approach, but DMOs often forget about the home-grown local advocates and media representatives in their own backyards. Invite them to press events. Let them experience hotels. Provide them with the same perks you roll out for a FAM trip for other writers. DMOs are the hub of everything, but local media are one of the strongest spokes in the destination marketing wheel.

It may seem counterintuitive. Their audiences may not seem like the audiences you want to reach – but think again. Travelers are always looking for local insight and happily follow local blogs and social media accounts to see what the people in your destination think is cool and trending. Harness this power and leverage local media as ambassadors in destination marketing for your destination. Let them share the messages you want disseminated and you’ll have an entirely new set of marketing allies in your corner.

These five reasons will get you thinking more strategically about why local media and influencers should be on your radar.

1. They Are Born Insiders

OK, maybe they aren’t all born insiders, but local writers and influencers know your destination better than anyone who will parachute in for the weekend. They spend their lives here, exploring every nook and cranny, living and breathing the restaurant and culture scene. They know where to go, where to avoid, what the big-ticket items are, and what hidden experiences are waiting to be unveiled.

Tap into this knowledge! Let them take over your DMO’s social networks for a day or invite them to contribute a blog post. Reach out to them however you can and make locals part of your travel marketing strategy going forward.

2. They Know the People

People talk, and local media know exactly who to talk to. It’s their entire job. While outside influencers and journalists may struggle to connect with the right people on the ground who will be able to tell the best stories, locals can do so easily. They themselves may even be the very people whose stories you want shared!

Hand the microphone to them, so to speak, and let them share the stories of the entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, hospitality workers, trailblazers, and anyone else who will help shine some positive light onto your destination. A local writer or influencer can act as a gateway into your community – the very community that you are uplifting through destination marketing efforts. 

3. They Care About Elevating Local Community

On that note, DMOs aren’t the only ones who care what happens in the community. The community itself is, of course, very invested in its own well-being. Giving local media a platform to help tell their stories and share their favorite places is an impactful and uplifting way to work in tandem.

In addition, letting local media be a part of the travel marketing process will also grant DMOs better insight as to what is important on the ground. Create a space for them either on your DMO website or through social media to allow the community to share and contribute to its own well-being while giving travelers the local viewpoints they crave.

4. They Know What Travelers Want

While we’re on the subject of local viewpoints, local media are, unsurprisingly, the best people to provide them. They are not only living in your destination each day, but they have likely played tour guide at some point with families and friends, understanding which experiences will resonate most, while simultaneously knowing how far off the beaten path travelers will want to go.

Encourage local media to share their insider knowledge and speak to travelers directly. Work with them in your campaigns to highlight the favorite places of some prominent locals, and let influencers and local writers in on the press events and FAM trips you’re already hosting.

5. They Are What Travelers Want

If you’re still scratching your head, remember that local media members know what travelers want as well because they are what travelers want. Local tips, local tours, insider information, and quirky one-off experiences are what travelers seek. It’s why things like Airbnb Experiences are so successful – travelers want to play local for a day. Travelers are more conscious than ever, and supporting locals is a part of that, as well.

To that end, it only makes sense to find ways to integrate local media voices into your campaigns and messaging as ambassadors, to show travelers that yes, your destination has world-class attractions but also a vibrant and caring local scene that they can be part of for a day or two. 

And the best part of working with local media as ambassadors in destination marketing? You won’t have to pay for pricey flights to get them to your destination in the first place!

Leverage your local media as ambassadors to help show travelers a more complete version of your destination – and to keep the entire community engaged and interested. At DCI, we have more than 60 years of helping to uplift communities through destination marketing. Get in touch with Karyl Leigh Barnes at [email protected] to learn more about what we can do for you.