Six months ago we took a look at VisitNH’s Facebook page and found it heavily focused on outdoors. Since then, at the annual NH Travel Council Governors Conference, the talk switched to focusing more on arts, culture, urban and the arts, so we decided to go back and see what had changed. Things had indeed changed, as there were posts now for urban festivals, the arts, and even a museum. Still, for every 4 arts/culture/urban posts we found more than 20 outdoors post. And lupines had the most postings.
Over on VisitMaine, the ratio was about the same, with a lot of lupine images, too. But here there was more on cuisine, which did not come up much on Visit NH.
So, what does this mean? Does it always have to be culture versus trees (or Lupines)? Well NH and Maine are two beautiful states with mountains lakes, and seacoasts.
Maine, of course has a huge brand with more established brand values.
So is it working?
What they got right:
Everyone wants sustainable forms of travel – and enjoying the outdoors is part of the motivation. Our guests are interested in the environmental impact they make on where they travel to.
According to Virtuoso,active and adventure travel is a top motivator. There is a big interest in a customized experience that includes luxury.So showing the amazing outdoors will feed into this market and attract new travel.
What is missing?
But it is also important to connect the dot between adventure and food and lodging.
Food is part of the culture of a destination, Maine gets this... Many see it as one of the best ways to get to aplace – and like an army, we tend it travel on our stomachs.
Millennials are the largest generation in history, beating out the Baby Boomers. As the youngest generation with disposable income, they have cemented their status as the future of travel and tourism.
So, focusing more on the opportunities of cultural tourism, cultural offerings should combine specific visitor services (boutique hotels, locally-sourced eateries) and to include venues (performing and visual arts) as a way to attract key groups. Creating an image or perception of activities, culture and food make a destination.
So, the point here is in marketing you need three simple things – a direct dialog with markets on the level that will motivate them, a base with lots to do and explore from, and a brand. And, while big general ads have a broad appeal and serve to remind us – targeted digital advertising and direct targeting yield results – as does blogging.
Today’s challenge is to find out what people like, and then reach out to them with information that will get them to plan a trip. So, research shows that outdoor adventure is a good one-size-fits all – and a good bridge to most audiences. But culture builds the brand.
So, as they say – we are on the path heading forward.