One of the most important tasks of a tourist board organisation or DMO is to research and analyse the main objectives of your country marketing plan in order to drive tourist traffic to your target region. There are a number of ways you can promote your country. In this article, you get insights into the best country marketing strategies that help attract more visitors.
- What is Country Marketing?
- Why is Country Marketing Important?
- Who is Responsible for Country Marketing?
- 14 Country Marketing Strategies to Attract More Tourists
- 1. Highlight the Main Attractions
- 2. Identify Your Target Visitors
- 3. Obtain and Utilise Data to Get to Know Your Visitors
- 4. Focus on Branding
- 5. Seek Partnerships
- 6. Create A Compelling Destination Website
- 7. Use SEO Principles
- 8. Engagement Marketing
- 9. Give Visitors an Immersive Experience
- 10. Use Social Media to Promote Your Country
- 11. Attract Influencers
- 12. Promote On Popular Travel Websites
- 13. Explore Various Online Advertising Methods
- 14. Create Offline Marketing Strategies
- Tourism Trends: Opportunities for The Tourism Industry
- Technology Trends Emerging in the Travel & Tourism Industry
Similar to destination marketing, country marketing is also about promoting a specific country in order to increase the number of travellers to that particular location. Destination marketing, however, can also be an area or city marketing, whereas country marketing focuses broadly on a region as a whole.
The main goal of country marketing is to make the region look more attractive than other places, thus increasing the number of visitors and bringing business to the local travel industry. It is ultimately about improving the target region’s image and making it more appealing to foreign visitors.
Why is Country Marketing Important?
To succeed in attracting visitors to the target country, it’s important that you highlight the most desirable aspects of the place. Think about the attraction sites that would draw people and tempt them to pay a visit. For example, you can pinpoint the must-see sites of Cyprus, the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, or entice visitors to see the Northern Lights in Finland.
The primary goal of country marketing is to make the target region stand out as the best alternative so that visitors choose that place over the others. This can be done by highlighting all the unique and attractive sites of the target region. Keep in mind that successful country marketing can be highly advantageous to the local tourism industry, including restaurants, entertainment venues, airlines, railways, car rental companies, tour operators, and other such sectors.
Who is Responsible for Country Marketing?
As a DMO (destination marketing organisation) you are responsible for marketing a target country. In fact, anyone working in the field of tourism management has the responsibility of representing the target country that’s to be promoted. Your role is to drive tourist traffic to the region by implementing various marketing strategies.
As a DMO, your task isn’t just to encourage visitors to come to the subject country, but you are also in charge of providing them with all the relevant information about that region’s top attractions. Most hotels, restaurants, and resort managers tend to appoint their own DMOs to help promote their business.
14 Country Marketing Strategies to Attract More Tourists
There are many effective marketing strategies that can be implemented for the purposes of driving visitor traffic to a target country. These strategies help enhance the image of the country and boost awareness. To accomplish your key objective as a DMO, i.e. attract visitors to a target region, here are 14 country marketing techniques that will put you on the road to success.
1. Highlight the Main Attractions
One of the most important steps for a DMO to take is to clearly highlight the main attraction points of the target country. Think of the unique selling features of the region, such as its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, mountain hiking trails, ski slopes, secluded beaches, or holy temples. As you can see, there is a huge number of attractions that can make a country seem more appealing to tourists.
If the country you are promoting has architectural landmarks, ancient ruins, or medieval castles, for example, these are bound to raise interest in tourists. Tap into the unique features of the location and highlight all the interesting local sites for the visitors. Try to come up with as many attractions as you can in order to entice travellers.
Knowing who your target audience is will help you create the best marketing strategies. You must also think about all the reasons why people would want to visit the region. Grab a pen and paper and place your target visitors into several categories. Here are some examples to give you a better idea:
Decide whether the country you’re promoting appeals to a younger generation, pensioners, families, business travellers, students, or couples looking for honeymoon destinations. It may even appeal to thrill seekers or those who are looking for a peaceful beach holiday. Once you’ve identified your target groups, you will be able to create a marketing strategy that will be most relevant to each group of visitors.
Lastly, consider ways on tapping into the nearby countries’ markets and encouraging their locals to visit your region. This can be done through highlighting the rail network that connects your region with its neighbouring countries, or the similarity in cultures and language. The idea is to achieve a good balance in terms of where your target visitors come from so you become less dependent on domestic tourists.
3. Obtain and Utilise Data to Get to Know Your Visitors
As a DMO, your role is to obtain and utilise all the necessary data about your target audiences. For example, if you have a website, you can use Google Analytics or similar online tools to get to know your visitors better by collecting data on their demographics, background, interests, and motivations.
It’s not just online that you can gather information about your visitors. It’s also possible to find out about the average age of the existing visitors as well as which destinations appeal to them the most, the types of accommodation they use, etc. by doing an offline research. Once you’ve collected this data, you can then use the results to utilise the best ways to reach out to your visitors by providing them with relevant information about the target country.
4. Focus on Branding
Almost all businesses use branding to make their services or products easily identifiable and distinct from those of other merchants. Branding can include your logo, overall image, colour scheme, or messaging. The main goal here is to highlight the most unique features of your target country so that it is easily recognisable and stands out from others.
By developing the right techniques that reflect the needs of your target market, you can easily apply them to a destination. For example, you can post an image of the country with a tagline that identifies the exact location and why it’s an amazing place to visit. By creating hashtags for your followers to use on Instagram, you can familiarise people about the region using your promotional message.
5. Seek Partnerships
This strategy is all about looking out for partnerships with organisations that have similar interests to yours in order to build trust and gain new resources. Such partnerships can include hotels, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, entertainment venues, or even local authorities from your country.
To get started, you’ll need to come up with country marketing strategies that convince these parties to provide you with support and participate in your campaign. By discussing your goals and branding ideas with these parties, they will be able to implement your marketing campaigns alongside their own advertising methods and generate visitor interest in the target country.
6. Create A Compelling Destination Website
There is no denying the convenience of the Internet when it comes to researching a particular region before making travel plans. A website that’s specifically focused on the target country is the best way to showcase the biggest attraction sites to your audience. Such a website allows you to communicate directly with the curious reader through the use of compelling videos, images, and virtual reality tours.
The website can be used to provide visitors with detailed information about the destination before they plan a trip. Don’t forget to include the best hotel options, attraction sites, where to eat and drink, etc. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly with a blog section that provides engaging and interesting articles about the country you’re promoting.
7. Use SEO Principles
A compelling website about the country you’re promoting is only effective if it ranks high on popular search engines like Google. This is where a comprehensive SEO strategy comes in to ensure your website can easily be found by online visitors.
Search engine optimisation involves the use of powerful keywords, content creation based on those keywords, and using a variety of techniques, such as images and videos to improve your ranking. As mentioned before, an on-site blog is one of the best ways to optimise your website through up-to-date and informative content with the usage of relevant keywords. After all, content is king!
8. Engagement Marketing
Engagement marketing is the use of resources to engage people and encourage interactions. Rather than showing a particular attraction to your audience, you can use marketing materials that allow people to experience the destination. This can be done through user-generated content on social media or your website to allow people to share their experiences and thoughts.
This strategy will help increase the credibility of your target country as it gets promoted through word of mouth, without any effort on your part. After all, people tend to trust word of mouth much more than the promotional words of an organisation. To go one step further, you can include 360 virtual reality tours of the region to allow users to enjoy a personal experience of the country with a call to action at the end of the video that directs them to your website.
9. Give Visitors an Immersive Experience
Video marketing is an effective technique that helps boost your country marketing campaign. Since videos are easily sharable on social media platforms, they can promote the region’s top points of interest, or include other travellers’ personal experiences of the country during their visits there.
To go even further, virtual reality marketing is another powerful technique that will give your target visitors a more personal experience of the country from their own homes. You can include virtual experiences of a hotel or resort, a local restaurant, or virtual tours of the main landmarks of the region – the possibilities are endless!
10. Use Social Media to Promote Your Country
Using Social media to reach online users and promoting your country is one of the best ways to get your message across. On platforms like Facebook and Instagram, for example, you can use promotional posts, videos, and even contests to raise interest. For example, you can create a hashtag for your country, market it on Instagram and share images that sell the region. All this can be done at no cost to you.
There are also paid marketing opportunities offered by these platforms, such as sponsored ads to help increase visibility. The biggest advantage of social media is that it lets you target people based on their location, age, or demographics to promote your country.
11. Attract Influencers
Another effective and indirect marketing strategy is using influencers to promote your country. These influencers can be celebrities, vloggers, bloggers, or anyone who has lots of followers on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or their own blog. The idea is to build trust through influencers who already have an engaged audience.
Keep in mind that the number of followers shouldn’t be the most important factor in choosing influencers to promote your country. In most cases, you’ll gain better results if you partner with niche influencers. While it may sound easier said than done, finding an influencer will take a little effort on your part. You can, for example, offer them free accommodation in exchange for a promotional blog post or video about your country.
12. Promote On Popular Travel Websites
You can, for example, include images, stories or videos on those websites and monitor visitor reviews of the country. Just make sure you respond to any visitor comments, regardless of whether they are positive or negative about your target country.
13. Explore Various Online Advertising Methods
By now, you should have gathered all the relevant data about your target audience. With this information in hand, you can use the right platforms and display advertising to promote the region to your target audience through your own website and third-party websites.
Most DMOs find PPC advertising an effective method to use. There is also Google Adwords, with which you can place your ads within your target users’ searches, such as “Book a trip to Finland”. Paid search caters to a specific market that results in higher conversion leads than many other types of advertising methods. Remarketing is another great technique to reach out to those who are already shown interest in your website.
14. Create Offline Marketing Strategies
Now that you know your target market, you will need to find out when they’re likely to travel to your country. For example, a country like Finland may be best visited in winter months for a chance to see the Northern Lights while Cyprus is more attractive in the summer months.
With this information in mind, you can create an offline marketing strategy that’s most suitable for the target country. Newspaper, radio, TV ads or national or local travel exhibitions are paid offline advertising methods that you can use to feature your country in areas where your target visitors are based in.
Tourism Trends: Opportunities for The Tourism Industry
The tourism industry is constantly evolving. From trends that are driven by customers and their desire for unique experiences to ones that are driven by the tourism industry itself through adopting new technologies. Those who are involved in the tourism sector need to keep their finger on the pulse and embrace the modern elements that capture more customers. From new technologies and destinations to new marketing methods, it’s vital to adopt the latest trends early on.
The article, “Tourism Trends: Opportunities for the Tourism Industry” provides an insight into the top emerging tourism trends to watch right now and in the future.
Technology Trends Emerging in the Travel & Tourism Industry
Technology is growing rapidly with the help of virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Businesses in the travel and tourism industry have recognised the value of AI for maximising functionality. From online bookings to customer communication, there is no denying the importance of technology in the travel and tourism industry. As customer behaviour and expectations change over time, different types of technologies help businesses offer a more immersive experience and enhance their customer service.
The following article, “Key Technology Trends Emerging in the Travel & Tourism Industry” you will learn the most important tech trends in the travel and tourism sector.
You can use the above strategies to adopt multiple approaches in driving tourist traffic to your target region. As a DMO, it’s a good practice to focus on one strategy at a time and embrace the recommended marketing trends to ensure success.