No matter what market we serve, we belong to a community that is near and dear to our hearts. Sure, we create our online communities and connect with people the world over, but the truth is we all have a local network that has supported and driven our business (and ourselves) to where we are today.
That’s why it feels natural for us to want to showcase our hometown and all it has to offer to draw in new business for the whole community to enjoy. It’s not just event professionals that benefit from this; your favorite coffee shops, boutique stores, hotels, and other local haunts will also reap the advantages of destination clients and tourists.
The question is: How do you make your city appeal to those seeking an adventure? What can make it stand out from the likes of Manhattan or Sunset Boulevard? While certainly spectacular, those mainstream cities don't carry the charm and comfort that your hometown may have—and, here’s the best part, you are in a unique position to share it.
In the past, destination marketing has been challenging as it often required print marketing and onsite visits to capture the essence of a place. However, technology has made it easier than ever to tout a city's hidden gems from a distance—all from the comfort of your smartphone or laptop. It just requires you to look at your city from a different perspective.
Here's what you need to know about virtual destination marketing to promote your hometown for all that it has to offer.
Become a tourist…at home.
When you live in a place long enough, everything starts to blur together. You hardly notice the scenic view in your commute's hustle, you tend to stick to the same restaurants you know and love, and you start planning weekends to get away from your hometown. Simply changing your perspective and seeing your city through the eyes of a tourist can reveal all of those lovely places you often take for granted as a local. Spend some time visiting museums, walking through parks, touring the historic district, or window-shopping downtown. You'll soon start to remember all of the wonderful angles you have to showcase to the world.
Start creating video content.
We live in a world dominated by video content, from Times Square's oversized screens to the pocket-sized smartphones we're glued to most of the day. Video is compelling and attractive, and it's a better format for telling a story than a static image. Start recording some of your touristy endeavors, like your next venue tour or winery visit. Headed out for a hike or to browse your local farmer’s market? Go live and show off all the fun activities in your area! Destination clients are looking for more than just a great venue; they want to know that their destination will be a fun and entertaining place for all to enjoy.
Develop easy-to-share long-form content.
You’ve undoubtedly seen your fair share of 'listicles' or roundup articles that gather the best a region has to offer. Start writing your blog posts to contribute to your hometown's reputation— showcase the top breweries, restaurants, nature hikes, or scenic photo-ops. These resources will make you known as an expert in your area, with the top recommendations at your disposal. Additionally, you can include top keywords for an added SEO boost for your website. The beauty of long-form content is that it will live on your website as long as you'd like to be a valuable resource for old and new clients.
Designing a content strategy around destination marketing is a worthwhile endeavor, but it does take some time to see a return. Don’t stress if you don’t see an uptick right away, as you need to commit to the process for some time to secure your place as a reliable and knowledgeable asset. In the meantime, continue immersing yourself in the mind of a tourist and expressing all that you love about your hometown.