Why do tourism destinations invest in branding?
Branding in Tourism was the main topic of the UNWTO seminar held in Moscow within the framework of the 11th International Travel Fair Intourmarket 2016.
Organized by the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation and the World Tourism Organization, the “Modern trends of branding in tourism: Russian and international practices” seminar counted on the presence of renowned speakers from the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and Russia.
The president and founder of THR, Eulogio Bordas, participated as a key topic expert and moderator of the session titled “Destination Branding: key trends, challenges and opportunities”. The panel was also composed on Nicholas Hall, Founder and CEO of Digital Tourism Think Tank UK; and Jonathan Howlett, Vice President of Global Destination Marketing at TripAdvisor UK.
The panel raised the issue Why do destinations invest in branding? What are the main benefits of a powerful brand?
As Eulogio Bordas pointed out, the 3 main reasons tourism organizations invest in their brands are to boost sales, increase reputation/motivation and improve competitiveness.
He also explained some of the trends international destinations are following in terms of branding:
1. From Brand Prism to Big Ideas
Identifying the six aspects of brand identity, like physique, personality, culture, relationship, reflection and self – image; to the big idea that captures the essence of the country or region.
2. Brand visuals & identity more scientifical
Visuals of Switzerland, New Zealand, Mexico and Spain are some great examples.
3. Tourist Styles & Lifestyles
Tourist segmentation nowadays gives more relevance to behavioural and motivational profiles than demographic characteristics.
4. Branded Experiences
Develop experiences that create local flavour by delivering an inspired experience and helping visitors feel truly connected to the heart and soul of the destination.
5. Sub-Brands, Endorsements & Rankings
New Zealand uses a label system to endorse all the different industry tourism services. Qualmark, as they call it, means “the experience is worth experiencing”.
6. Brand architecture
Tourism in Spain has an explosion of more than 300 official brands and sub-brands. The destination brand architecture would vary depending on the flexibility vs. efficiency needed.
7. Branded Content
Provide consumers with content that adds value to their lives and in return adds value to the country.
8. New Apps & Big Data
Travelers are online. 68% of them research before travel, 78% use travel-related smartphone apps and 42% use mobile devices for travel-related information while traveling.
Industry partners have the same interest in promoting the destination as the Official Tourism Organization, so this opportunity for cooperation must be facilitated.
10. Integrated Management
The brand becomes one of the most important assets for the organization that intends to build and manage significant relationships with all tourism industry players.