Eight Marketing Tactics to Bring A Destination’s Story to Life

February 08, 2024
Web marketing specialist with mobile phone and laptop creating engaging social media content to tell a destination's story to life.

A destination story is so much more than pretty scenery and lovely locals. It’s the entire nuanced package of places, experiences, communities, and businesses that you are trying to share with potential visitors all the time.

Telling that story effectively, however, presents natural challenges. When time and resources are in crunch mode, opt for a few key marketing tactics to tell your destination’s story and bring it to life. These nine are sure bets to accomplish these goals.

1. Revamp Your Website

A new coat of paint speaks volumes about even the oldest house. It says someone cares. Your website is the same for visitors. Touch it up at least a little with fresh colors, new images, better site navigation, and updated content. Make it feel modern and welcoming so visitors can expect a warm welcome when they arrive in your destination. 

And if you are using some outdated URL that doesn’t match your brand anymore, it may be time to level up to a better domain name.

2. Invest in Visual and Video Assets

For your website but also for social media and press inquiries, what better way to tell your destination’s story than through incredible visual assets? Control the narrative and make sure the visuals and video are honest, true representations of your destination. 

Pay special attention to visual stories that may not be as commonplace and be sure to include those as well, whether it’s forgotten places or underrepresented people.

3. Build a Content Calendar

Telling the right story requires discipline. If an Olympic athlete stops training, they won’t win a medal. If you stop sharing good content, you won’t win visitors. So make a plan and stick to it in the form of a content calendar. Chart the blogs and social media posts and any other content you care to share as best you can. 

It will keep you focused and will leave you time and energy to panic about other things less in your control!

4. Generate a Consumer-Facing Digital Map

Online maps show concentrations of restaurants and attractions, but they don’t tell stories per se. Destinations can create their own maps, highlighting the important or little-known features of a destination graphically, scaling and illustrating in creative ways to draw focus where they want it.

Work with an illustrator or graphic designer to pull together something unique that screams your destination without letting algorithms dictate what visitors see on a map.

5. Pull Together a Media Kit

Any good marketer worth their weight in salt knows that a media kit is always a safe investment. Whether printed or, preferably, digital, a media kit is an effective way to tell your destination’s story to other storytellers who will transmit the message on to future travelers.

Include key messages, news items, and important developments that journalists are seeking. Leave them to look up the news themselves, and you lose some of your narrative control.

6. Printable Guides or Itineraries for Visitors

All this talk of digital is great, but sometimes something printed is the way to go, especially for visitors. Create a bespoke, branded pamphlet, guide, or itinerary that visitors can pick up at touchpoints around your destination. 

It gives them something to touch, feel, and follow, helping you put the storybook right into their hands.

7. Engage on Social Media

Social media can feel like a “choose your own adventure” novel where you never know what’s going to happen next. Say one thing, and you’ll go down this path. Do something else, you’ll end up in an entirely different scenario. As the DMO, however, you get to play the omniscient author, helping to curate and interact with all of the characters contributing to social media conversations. 

Engage them. Build on their reactions. Use it as an opportunity to steer the story where you want it to go.

8. Target Through Digital Advertising

Using hyper-targeted digital advertising is a way to help tell your story to those who are most receptive to it. It’s a powerful way to get your destination’s story in front of the right audiences — those who are mostly likely to visit and spend when they arrive. Paid ads on social media and search ads on Google are just a few options to consider.

It’s not traditional storytelling, but when did we ever settle for traditional tactics?

Your storytelling is only effective when it reaches the right eyes and ears. DCI has more than 60 years working with destinations to connect their stories to target audiences. Get in touch with Karyl Leigh Barnes at [email protected] to learn how our agency can help spread your destination’s story.

Written by

Karyl Leigh Barnes

President, Tourism Practice