Destination Marketing with Video to Boost Tourism and Promote Your Hotel

A lot of hotel marketing focuses on competing with other hotels for the tourists that are already planning to travel to a destination, promising the most value or the best location compared to the competition. However, destination marketing with video focuses on boosting tourism, and attracting more potential guests to the area. Through destination marketing, hotels are able to reach out to potential guests while they are still considering destination options or researching things to do in a place they’ve decided on. It’s an opportunity to become known to that guest and provide them with something valuable well before they’ve even heard of your competition.

One of the best and most vast resources you can tap into for your destination marketing videos are the secrets in your town or city. We don’t mean affairs and skeleton-in-the-closet type secrets (although there might be those too), we mean secrets like the unassuming cafe that’s been open for 50 years and serves the best cappuccino in town, or the friendly grandma who sells the creamiest, freshest butter you’ve ever tasted. Secrets like the outgoing local character named Hector who’s always up for a chat and knows the best spots in town, or the second-hand bookshop that looks tiny from the street but inside is a creaky, musty, brilliant labyrinth of paperbacks. Secrets like the trail that leads to an incredible swimming hole not mentioned in any guidebook, or the quiet little park tucked away in a residential area that offers the best views of the city.

Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton, Australia
Campertown Cemetery, Newtown, New South Wales

The best part of traveling to a new place is discovering all of these small secrets; looking past the trinkets in the tourist shops and the neon signs that advertise “authentic local cuisine”. Wandering off the main thoroughfare and stumbling across places and people that simply exist; not for the benefit of tourists but the same way they have existed for years. These are the best parts of travel, but they’re also the things that take the longest to find.

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Hotel Baur au Lac Christmas Tree Lighting Video, Zurich

Increasingly, people are seeking these kinds of authentic local experiences when they travel, and moving away from tours and experiences designed for mass appeal. Finding and sharing the range of authentic experiences that exist in your area – not in a way that exploits those experiences or changes their character, but in a way that says, “this is what our town really is, behind the facade, and this is how to experience it” – can be an incredibly powerful element of your marketing strategy. For guests considering your hotel, telling stories that promote and celebrate the local people and culture will bring a sense of authenticity to your brand. Guests who discover your content while researching destinations will already have built a positive relationship with your brand before they even consider other hotels in your area. And, great content that showcases your local area can also connect on a deep level with the people that live in your town, and encourage them to share your content through their own social media channels, promoting awareness of your brand.

Harpers Topiary Gardens - San Diego, California

The clients we work with are located in some of the most incredible destinations around the world, and our experience working with these brands has shown us first hand how powerful it can be to market a hotel by promoting its location. For example, we created a series of destination videos for hotel brand Staypineapple that focused on quirky and offbeat attractions in their eight locations in five cities across America. The videos were exceptionally successful in raising brand awareness and increasing social engagement.

These videos captured aspects of Bentonville and Eureka Springs that aren’t owned by any business or company, so they had been overlooked as material for marketing.

Successful destination videos don’t require a huge production value or the backdrop of a world-class destination. A few years ago, we created a series of short and simple videos in Bentonville and Eureka Springs, two cities in Arkansas, in order to showcase the power of destination marketing with video. The videos focused on hyper local events that weren’t being marketed by any other organizations, such as a Christmas tree lighting; the array of local spring flowers, a nice walk that’s popular with locals; a Zombie parade; and a local park. Despite being short, simple, and requiring very few resources, all of these videos have been viewed thousands of times and shared by hundreds of people across social media. The most successful, a video that showcased the Christmas Lights in Bentonville, received more than 1700 shares and 66000 views on Facebook alone at the time of this article. These videos captured aspects of Bentonville, Arkansas and Eureka Springs, Arkansas that aren’t owned by any business or company, so they had been overlooked as material for marketing. These videos gave local residents media about their own town that they could share, and received huge amounts of organic traffic through Youtube and Facebook from tourists searching for information on things to do and local cultural events.

The 2019 Eureka Springs Zombie Crawl
Eureka Springs, Arkansas Christmas Parade Video
Spring Flowers Bloom in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas

We are not the only place to have recognized the power of destination marketing. Airlines have long utilized destination marketing to advertise locations that they fly to, primarily through in-flight magazines but also now via their websites and social media. Royal Caribbean International produces an original video series called “The Local” which celebrates the people and culture in their destinations. They currently have a series for Cuba and a series for Alaska.

There are a huge variety of options when it comes to producing locally focused content. You could write about it on your brand blog, or share small snippets of information on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You could produce a video series, a podcast, an online magazine, a microsite, or even combine a few options. However you choose to showcase your community, if you do it with respect and authenticity, you’ll quickly begin to see the benefits for yourself.

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