The Saudade of Travel

by Jenn on March 10, 2014 { 0 Comments }

Last weekend I listened to an interesting radio piece on Saudade, also spelled Saldaje.  It’s a Portuguese word that has no real translation in any other language. It’s also one that’s a bit hard to define (though Wikipedia has attempted to do so).

It’s considered primarily to be a feeling of longing, though it can have both happy and melancholic connotations.  On the happy side, it can be the feeling that something good is going to happen.  Think the promise of the future or the longing for the near future.

When you think about travel – an upcoming vacation, or a trip you’ve spent time planning – the notion of saudade reflects some of the anticipation you feel beforehand.  So it would stand to reason that those destinations that tap into this feeling may provide a more compelling reason to visit than the standard price point or lists of activities messaging.

Some of the most successful tourism campaigns capture this sense of longing.  Think Visit California.  From its ‘Find Yourself Here’ campaign to the current ‘Dreamers’ campaign, it’s captured the allure of California by inviting visitors to dream big.  Similarly, Colorado Tourism’s recent “A Perfect Day” ad speaks to saudade with the promise of the future.

While not all destinations focus on saudade exclusively, it’s something that you can see in part of the messaging, often through imagery or video.  But allowing this to shine through on its own can be challenging, especially when there are other messages to impart.  On its own, saudade can be powerful, and resonate with your audience more than any slogan or price point.

 

Posted by Chris Ribaudo

In his post on 2014 hospitality trends, Robert Rauch suggests content marketing will replace advertising.

Whether this actually happens in 2014–or ever–remains to be seen. But what is certain is that content marketing has and will continue to have the lion’s share of destination promotion.

What does this mean for you? You need to produce relevant and compelling content for your visitors. There are two ways to do this.  You can outsource part or all of your content production or you can do it in-house.

If you choose the in-house approach, here are some basic elements you will need in place to consistently and efficiently produce valuable content for your destination and visitors.

1.    Publishing Schedule

Today, brands need to think like publishers. You need a clear, disciplined schedule for developing, producing and publishing content across your channel mix. Your publishing schedule brings the three elements necessary for creative project management into focus–timelines, people and costs. Your publishing schedule will also help you evaluate content production performance and ensure quality control.

2.    Creative Talent

Who will facilitate your content marketing ideas and concepting? Who will write the copy, shoot the video, capture the sound or design the visual elements? Identifying the in-house staff who will provide these elements, or managing the freelancers who will, is critical. If it’s a mist to you, it’s a fog to your content marketing production team. Decide who will be on your creative talent team and be clear on roles, responsibilities and expectations.

3.    Stock Image and Video Accounts

Most often, it’s best to use images or videos created locally by your staff, visitors or both. However, in terms of quality and timing, not all your production needs will be met this way. There will be times you need stock images or videos to perfectly visualize or enhance your message. There are quite a few of the providers around online. So, shop around for the deal you like and open an account with one that best meets your needs.  Some options include iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, and Aurora. Flickr can be a useful source of Creative Commons licensed images and video.

4.    Digital Asset Organizer

Whether it is just simple folders on a hard drive or a sophisticated database, centralize and organize all your digital assets into one place. Having your copy, images, video clips and sound clips in one place not only makes them easy to find in the future, but more importantly, it helps you discover ways to re-purpose your digital assets into new customer content. This saves you time and money.  Online file sharing services like Dropbox provide an easily accessed central location.

5. Editing and Proofreading System

As I mentioned before, brands today (including destinations) must think like publishers. All publishers have editorial and proofreading procedures–and you need them too. Be sure to establish your own editorial standards and proofreading systems to assure your work is flawless when released. Nothing can taint your hard work–or put a question in visitors’ minds–like typos or misspellings. So, set your editing and proofreading system up, stick to it and be sure to run all the content your produce through it. You’ll be glad you did.

If content production isn’t a major part of your destination’s content marketing now it most likely should be in the future.

Applying these five tips can help ensure you produce quality content with consistency.

5 Key Trends for DMO Competitiveness in 2014

by smg-admin on February 12, 2014 { 0 Comments }

Posted by Chris Ribaudo

What are you doing differently this year?  Below are 5 major trends destination marketing organizations (DMOs) will want to look out for in 2014.

Data Driven Marketing
If you haven’t already, this is the year to make the commitment to strategic marketing planning by customer data. Gathering, sorting, prioritizing and leveraging customer data for more effective tactics will be at the forefront of DMO’s work this year and beyond. The strategic role of the DMO is changing to that of customer knowledge creator. Align your destination’s marketing with this key trend to help ensure your stay on the cutting competitive edge.

Google Plus
In terms of social media, because of its impact on organic search results and publishing power, consider making Google Plus part of your digital mix in 2014. While Google Plus is still second to Facebook in total users, it’s growing fast. It took Facebook about six years to obtain 343 million active users. Google Plus achieved this same level of active users in just under 18 months! There is excellent content available on ways to harness the benefits of Google Plus.

Peer-to-Peer Movement
More and more people will continue to create their own travel ecosystems through available online and mobile tourism service sites. With the emergence of the new peer-driven “collaborative economy,” some have noted the need for DMOs to change and adapt to the changing digital landscape. DMOs would do well to align their content and social media marketing to compliment the growth of travel-related, peer-to-peer platforms in such areas as restaurants (Yelp, Forkly, Foodspotting) and transportation (Zimride, Get Around). Another fast growing segment within the travel and tourism industries are rental property concierges, like HomeAway, AirBnB and others. Look for ways for your DMO to link its offerings with the best of growing travel-services platforms in the mobile and online spaces in 2014.

Responsive Website Design
Smart DMOs in 2014 will make sure that their website and content looks consistently great and is easy to use no matter whether travelers use a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer screen to access their content. The way to do this is to design all your platforms with a responsive website design approach. Responsive design eliminates the need to have one design for phone, another for tablets or another for laptops. Instead, responsive design enables your site to flawlessly re-configure itself no matter what screen your visitor decides to use.

Creativity Challenge
As technological parity is increasingly reached by competing DMOs, the critical importance of creative content production will continue to emerge. To achieve optimal engagement response and conversion rates, personalize your content as much as possible. Enriching your content to make it highly relevant and personalized will not only enhance your visitors’ experiences, but is a sure way to keep your content market competitive and productive.

While these aren’t the only major trends to watch out for in 2014, adopting one or all of these can help optimize your DMO’s competitive performance in the year ahead.

SMG understands the challenges facing destination marketing organizations, and as such we’ve developed a series of white papers that address some of these issues.  We’re pleased to announce the first in this series, How Destinations Can Boost Their Content Marketing in 2014.

In this day and age where destinations seek to engage and inspire visitors to take action, content plays an increasingly important role.  Implementing a successful content marketing strategy requires planning, and we hope that this white paper provides some of the tools to do just that.

The free white paper is available for download, along with a podcast and presentation.

As always we welcome your comments.  How are you using content marketing in your destination?

2014 SMG Tourism Outlook now available

by Jenn on January 7, 2014 { 0 Comments }

While many look to the New Year as a time for resolutions and celebration, the Strategic Marketing Group (SMG) views it as the time to research and publish its annual Tourism Outlook. It has just released its 7th annual edition, which provides a comprehensive review of relevant economic and travel industry data as it relates to the California tourism industry. Carl Ribaudo, President of SMG, also includes insights and personal observations from his extensive work with DMOs throughout California.

“The Tourism Outlook is our take on the industry as we move into the new year, including both the good news and the potential issues to keep tabs on,” he notes. “This is our gift to the tourism industry, and we hope it is useful as DMOs plan for 2014.”

The Tourism Outlook is a must-read for any destination marketing executive. It includes useful information including federal and state level economic data, airline, lodging and gaming data, along with SMG’s robust analysis and forecasts.  New for 2014 is a complementary podcast by Carl Ribaudo, which is also free to download.

Get your free copy of the SMG Tourism Outlook and the accompanying podcast today.  And here’s wishing you and your destination a successful 2014.

When Art and Tourism Converge

by Carl on December 29, 2013 { 0 Comments }

art exhibit at Reno AirportIn this over marketed, one-to-one, reach-the-customer world, it is always interesting to see a different, and perhaps more effective approach emerge. I have always been fascinated how art is used and integrated into advertising and messaging. From a tourism destination perspective photographers have been around to capture the authenticity of a destination, that sense of place.  One only needs to look at the beauty of Ansel Adams or Georgia O’Keefe to understand how they viewed and interpreted places that inspired you, perhaps even to visit.

My fascination with travel photography probably goes back to reading my parents’ National Geographic magazines as a kid.  My career in tourism marketing has provided me with the opportunity to see and use some incredible photography in destination advertising.

But what happens when you can feature travel photography as it is – without advertising?  We recently worked with some of our clients to do just this. The Reno Tahoe International Airport recently finished a renovation that features new restaurants, shops and security, and in the process the Airport Authority also created a gallery to exhibit local art. Combine that space and the fact that Lake Tahoe plays host to a number of world class photographers including Cory Rich, Hank de Vre, Keoki Flagg, Ian Ruhter, Scott Sady and Court Leve, and the result is a unique convergence of photography that captures the authenticity and sense of place of Lake Tahoe, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in person and through social media.  It tells a story from the perspective of the photographers, and resonates because it is authentic.  A commercial message simply cannot reach and resonate with people in the same way.

Classic marketing and advertising tells us we should reach out to find out what message a specific segment is inclined to hear and listen to. At SMG we believe that message starts with the local community, understanding what they love to do, their passions and what is authentic to them. What better way to find that than through the eyes and images of a local artist?

Happy Holidays

by Jenn on December 17, 2013 { 0 Comments }

Wishing you winding trails, amazing views, and much success in 2014.

Holiday 2013 quote

Guest post by Emily Ribaudo

Picture this, you’re 18 again and you’re longing to finally do something that symbolizes your independence. What’s the first thing that pops into your mind? If you asked me this question the first thing I would say is travel. As a young adult I find the urge to flee from my parents grasp and to finally stay, eat and see things on my own terms. Don’t get me wrong, Disneyland will always hold a place in my heart, but I’m ready for a new scene.

Chances are if you’re a young adult you’re not going on vacation alone. You’re probably doing just the opposite and getting as many people to throw down on a hotel room as you can. Remember, we’re on a budget! I think it’s important to have options. I already know I won’t be staying at the Hilton anytime soon. Yet I still want to feel safe where I lay my head at night. Having a variety of lodging options – including budget ones – makes it easier to find something suitable for the trip you’re taking.

Growing up whenever my family took a vacation you could always find us eating at a typical steak house. It was always the same. My mom has a salad, my dad has some sort of meat and I always end up with a pasta dish. It made sense at the time. There was a family to feed and everyone wanted something different, but at the end of the night we were all satisfied. I’ve noticed over the years that my family always played it safe when it came to meal time.  Let me tell you when I’m on vacations with friends the last thing I want to do is eat the same as I do when I’m at home.   Our dining recommendations usually come from our own experiences in the area, and are usually very budget friendly. For example, I know a to-die for Mexican restaurant in the Woodland Hills area so if friends and I are around that location chances are you’ll find us at Mission Burrito during meal time.

There is always so much to do when you’re on a vacation, but it’s hard to fit it all in.  In my opinion you have two options. You can either take a really long vacation, or you can fill your days with things you wouldn’t normally do. I think all destinations have more to them than what meets the eye and it’s up to me to figure out what that might be. One thing I like to do when I’m in another area is to check out the local spots where I can meet locals. This opens you up to a whole new experience.

As you reach adulthood you are begin to understand that your experiences are really starting to mold you as an individual. I believe that I travel differently now because I look at the time spent in unfamiliar places as motivation and inspiration instead of just time off with my family.

So what does this mean to you, the DMO?  Budget friendly options are a start.  Not everyone can afford four star quality, especially us young adults.  Embracing what makes your destination unique and showing us why that’s interesting is also very important.  Why would we visit someplace that has the same things as we have at home?  Finally, realize that we can be a loyal bunch, and show interest in us now.  It may pay off dividends later.

Emily Ribaudo is a student at Western Nevada Community College.  She loves to travel.

Social Media and the New Era

by Carol Wheeler on April 24, 2013 { 0 Comments }

During recent years, we have seen the technological era unfold in front of our eyes. The current generations and many more to come will increasingly spend their time connected, linked to the web. News reading, hotel bookings, shopping, communicating, bill paying, and almost anything else imaginable is available by a simple click of a button.

I stumbled upon the below video and thought it was interesting to look at how social media has already made an impact on your business, even if you have not notice it yet. It is essential to get the word out there and to build a solid online community, take advantage of the many ways available to promote your business.

Do not be afraid to try something new, “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Becoming a Yelp user

by Carol Wheeler on { 0 Comments }

During my most recent getaway to San Francisco, I found myself looking for an amazing place to get breakfast on a Wednesday morning. I quickly jumped on my phone and typed “best breakfast place in San Francisco”. It was no surprise when the first link took me to Yelp. I never really gave much thought to Yelp. Part of me though that people that wrote those reviews had a lot of time on their hands and the other part of me thought that people that usually write those reviews are most likely complaining about something. However, I suddenly found myself in the Yelp world, the place in question had 4.5 stars and people had posted the most succulent food pictures I’ve seen on my phone. I must add that the majority of pictures were taken by Yelpers, which means that the food actually look like that once it got to the table. The decision was made, we were going to M***, although some of the reviews did mention a possible line, given how wonderful the food was. As soon as we turned the corner, there it was, indeed a line with an hour wait line, but as I looked through the window I could not help no notice how delicious other people’s food looked, and my desire to go in and experience the food kept growing. An hour and fifteen minutes and a growling stomach later, we received our food and it was undeniably the best breakfast I have ever had.

When we left around 1:30 pm and the line was still as long as the eyes could see. Now, coming from a person that never, I repeat never, waits in line to eat, you ask me how that was possible? My answer is, that’s the power of Yelp. It almost give you an assurance that the place is going to be so good (since people had so much to say about it), that you start trusting it and put yourself on an hour long line just to prove to yourself the validity of those reviews. I think I learned how to trust Yelp reviews. Think about it, San Francisco has thousands of breakfast places that sit empty, but one of the five top breakfast places on Yelp has a huge line until 1:30 in the afternoon. Yelp is, indeed, one of the most amazing marketing tools, if you know how to use it. Being able to see where your business stands compared to the other ones in the market is a great way to figure out where the flaws are and what can use some improvement. By comparing other business ratings to your own, you get a clear picture about what the next move could be. The next time you think that Yelp is useless, think again, it can really help your business understand how it is perceived against your competition.

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