Tourism campaigns should include long-term strategies, say feds

FOR TOURISM CAMPAIGNS to succeed, companies need to rely on more than just marketing efforts to attract visitors, according to a presentation from the U.S. Department of Commerce and Brand USA.
Posted 10/24/12

PAWTUCKET – Destination management companies and tourism-related businesses shouldn’t be relying on marketing efforts alone to attract visitors and should instead be incorporating long-term strategic planning into their efforts, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“You can’t just go out and advertise yourself into success. Ultimately, you’ll market yourself into failure,” said Isabel Hill, team lead for policy and planning with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and co-author of the U.S. Tourism Strategy.

Hill, along with Keri Hanson, social media and marketing manager for Brand USA, the country’s first-ever national marketing campaign born out of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, spoke to local travel and tourism industry professionals at a seminar sponsored by the Sustainable Tourism Lab Tuesday at Blackstone Valley Visitor Center.

The seminar focused on explaining the national tourism strategy and marketing campaign.

“A national strategy isn’t going to be effective unless there are regional strategies,” Hill said. “The government and Brand USA can’t provide customer [services and experiences] that you can.”

President Barack Obama in early 2012 ordered a group of government departments to create a national tourism strategy. The U.S. Tourism Strategy was released last May with a goal of attracting 100 million international travelers to the United States by 2021.

Hill said that in order to be successful, tourism bureaus and business at local, state and regional levels must be on board.

Marketing efforts, she said, must be carried out with sustainability in mind. “You have to make sure you’re delivering a terrific experience and why you want to do that,” Hill said.

Hanson addressed how companies and bureaus can take advantage of the Brand USA campaign including through partnerships on its social media websites and buy-ins to international advertising.

The Corporation for Travel Promotion was founded by the Travel Promotion Act of 2010. It is funded in matching program by the ESTA account for non-Visa visitors and private cash and in-kind contributions.

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