“If it were easy, anyone could do it.” This statement has been applied to many endeavors, mostly athletic achievements. It's true that it’s not easy to dunk a basketball over a hulking 6’5” defender. It’s not easy to complete an Ironman Triathlon.
Today, I’m going to apply this statement to excellence in tourism advertising. When I look through a travel publication, I can separate the destination ads into three categories:
a. Those created by someone with little or no design, writing and probably tourism experience. These are the ads that have terrible photos, bad typography (and usually a minimum of five fonts in one small ad) and text running right up to the edge. They are probably created in Corel Draw.
b. Those created by a freelance designer or ad agency that has design talent but perhaps little experience in the travel and tourism industry. These ads look nice, may feature decent photos and actually stand out on a page. However, they lack powerful, emotional hooks that travelers need. They sometimes focus on amenities rather than experiences and frequently include terms like “something for everyone.”
c. The top-level advertising that is obviously created by a firm that knows their client’s tourism product, target audience and best practices for reaching the decision makers. These ads are not always for major cities or state tourism offices. Small and medium-sized communities have access to talent. They just need to choose to invest in it.
Try this exercise some time and you’ll see what I mean. Opinions will definitely vary. It’s quite likely that a highly effective ad will get snubbed by some. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The truth is that great advertising isn’t always about appealing to the maximum number of people. It’s about appealing to the right people more intensely.
Now, we get to the part of the blog where I brag a little bit about my co-workers. They have a knack for producing powerful tourism marketing time after time. The work that our firm produces features lots of active verbs to tell the consumer what they can do and how they will feel when they visit our client’s destination. Sometimes, we appeal to emotions or set a scene with words and images into which the visitor can easily project himself. We stay up to date on the latest research about how and why people make their travel choices, which comes through in subtle but important ways. See some of the active, emotional and effective tourism marketing that my colleagues have created in our gallery of work.