Tourism is all about discovering new experiences. So it’s only natural the tourism industry employs experiential to bolster its marketing efforts. From state and municipal tourism boards to transportation companies, many are finding creative ways to leverage live experiences to boost awareness and strengthen local economies. Following are four inspirational experiential marketing tourism strategies that may help your next campaign take flight.
I LOVE NY
The New York State Division of Tourism’s brand entity, I LOVE NY, hosts a broad array of events to attract tourists to the state. Every summer, the brand exhibits at the Great New York State Fair in a central location of the event’s expo center. “All Year. All Here.” campaign comes to life through detailed vignettes illustrating fun, New York-based activities travelers can enjoy all year round. A tree at the center of the experience guides attendees to four season-specific activations. At each interactive stop, consumers snap photos at GIF and selfie stations making the experience shareable and memorable; at the same time consuming historical facts and little-known details about New York State’s top attractions.
Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
JetBlue promotes the launch of direct flights from New York to Palm Springs. Instead of an airline tickets raffle, the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau activates a “break out of the chill” challenge. On the sidewalks of Manhattan, New Yorkers are invited to literally crack open 6 x 6 ft. blocks of ice to claim free prizes frozen inside: sandals, pool attire, golf clubs and a grand prize free vacation to Palm Springs including airfare and accommodations. Participants are free to use any item on their person to hack into the frozen bricks, requiring a bit of creativity to claim that free vacation. Creative experiential marketing tourism strategies like the “chill” grab attention inside and outside the industry. This innovative experience continues to get kudos by event marketers and tourism professionals alike.
Sometimes a country’s natural resources are its greatest marketing fuel (when executed properly, of course). Such is the case for VisitNorway. The brand leverages an unlikely group of brand ambassadors to draw more tourists: sheep. The organization’s #SheepWithAView campaign activates around Norway’s annual tradition of releasing millions of sheep to explore the country and exercise their “right to roam.” #SheepWithAView cameras strapped to four sheep from different regions of the country take online audiences along on their individual journeys. Film crews also capture and produce a short video of each sheep’s cross-country adventures weaving together a story about each Norwegian region. Each sheep has a unique personality and is given a name which lends an intimate touch to the campaign. Clever experiential marketing tourism strategies that ring authentic grab a lot of buzz—the campaign’s Instagram account, @SheepWithAView, gains 9,000 followers in 10 days.
Alabama Tourism Department
The second iteration of the Alabama Tourism Department’s “Sweet Home Alabama” campaign focuses on two subjects not typically associated with the state: Mardi Gras and mountains. And like the topics themselves, the organization goes big to grab the attention of potential visitors. The Department activates a full-fledged Mardi Gras pop-up parade in New York City complete with a custom float, tunes from the Jambalaya Brass Band and MoonPies as well as bead-tossing. The point: to educate consumers on the real origins of Mardi Gras—Mobile, AL. The stunt also exposes other hidden treasures of the state. Mardi Gras is still celebrated in Mobile every year.
The activation design is a 20 ft. wide replica of Alabama’s Little River Canyon. Visitors don a VR headset and “scale the cliffs” with breathtaking 360° views of the actual canyon. Social media channels get a boost as climbers share their digital souvenir photo of their ascension. Smart, powerful digital interactives fuel successful experiential marketing tourism strategies.
Like many brands, travel organizations lean heavily on inherently shareable experiences to boost their experiential marketing tourism strategies and campaigns—social amplifies education and offers. Build an authentic live activation coupled with smart digital interactives and shareable moments, and, they will come!
Check out brand activations and sponsorships designed and produced by Sparks.