5 Tips to Leverage Streaming Services for Tourism and Placemaking

April 28, 2022

With traditional television losing ground to streaming services, it may seem like the marketing potential of cable networks is drying up. For destinations, however, streaming services offer arguably better opportunities for establishing their brands in ways that traditional commercials never could.

Film tourism isn’t a brand new thing, but the options for tapping into it are larger than ever. From big-name franchises like Mission Impossible to more niche series like Emily in Paris, destinations are able to play roles in the seemingly endless casting opportunities offered by streaming services for tourism. From Netflix and Hulu to Apple TV and HBOMax, there is no end to what shows can be produced.

It’s in this flood of streaming series and movies that destinations can unlock huge placemaking potential.

So to start thinking about branding your destination as a place to film, consider a few strategies and tips before diving into the fray.

1. Incentives for Producing

One way to get streaming platforms to your destination is to offer incentives. Vienna realized it early and organized its new Vienna Film Incentive. The city offers money to production companies that meet certain requirements when filming in Vienna, guaranteeing the destination airtime in upcoming series and films.  

The concept is simple. Provide funds for streaming services and production teams to shoot in your destination. The result could be the next new big hit – like Bridgerton or Lupin – that puts your destination in the spotlight. This scheme requires its own marketing and publicizing to attract production companies, but it’s quality advertising. And unlike a traditional TV commercial or magazine spread, a streaming series will live on forever.

2. Engage Local Businesses

Another way to make things easier for production teams to want to work in your destination is to engage local businesses. Journalists can easily ask for media rates, but do you have specific properties that will work with production teams at “streaming rates”? It’s just an example, but one that underscores the importance of working with your partners. Creating offers specific for streaming platforms will further incentivize them to come.

Make sure you have catering companies, hotels, and cultural institutions on board with your push to attract more productions to your destination. A production team – like any visitor – needs to have a good experience or else they’ll spread the word that it’s not worth filming in your city or region.

3. Develop Experiences

Celebrating the TV or movie moments that already took place in your destination is another way to show streaming platforms that you’re serious about producing with them. Consider pulling together a walking tour of famous movie sites, or a tour of the homes of locals who worked in the entertainment business. 

Perhaps local museums can create temporary exhibits that speak to some facet of the destination’s cinematic past. The creative possibilities are endless. Above all, creating those links helps build confidence that your destination has something special about it.

4. Create a Reel

In line with the previous tactic, make sure you have a video reel of scenes already shot in your destination. That intern who is begging to do something with TikTok for your tourism board can finally be put to use! 

Old films, new films, popular films, obscure films – it doesn’t matter. Any sort of sizzle reel that showcases how other directors have used your destination will be helpful. Don’t leave production teams guessing. Make it obvious what they can do and what sorts of landscapes and backgrounds you can offer them for their new series of films. Share it online and on social media to make it clear that your city or region is a backlot waiting to be filmed.

5. Have Local Talent On Hand

Leveraging streaming services for tourism also means making sure you have the talent on hand to assist them. Production teams often look for local talent when they are filming, so create a database of the camera crew, assistants, and other individuals who would be eager to work on a production.

Put out a call. Start a social media group. Tap into the local entertainment talent networks however you can. The easier you can make it for a team to come to your destination and have everything they need, the more likely it is we’ll all be seeing your destination on the little screen sometime soon.

Hoping to see your destination as the backdrop of the next big streaming series? It’s not impossible! At DCI, we have more than 60 years of experience working with destinations, integrating pop culture into the mix. Get in touch with Kayla Leska at [email protected] to find out how we can help you take a step towards leveraging streaming services for tourism.