Ask Destinate - Compelling Campaigns

Katie asks: "Would love to hear your suggestions for creating a successful advertising campaign for my tourism business. I’m just not sure the money I am spending is leading to additional visitors."



Great question there Katie, and I have to admit this is something I have really tuned into over the summer holidays. There has been a lot of competition for eyeballs and ears over the summer so far, and I was listening to the radio last week and heard an ad for a rather large attraction that I have visited and also really enjoyed. The ad was just a bullet point list of everything they do.


Now I’m not going to mention where it was, but it’s somewhere that would have a pretty big emotional pull on most people who go and none of that came through in the radio ad. It was simply a ‘see this, do this list’ and quite honestly pretty uninspiring. If we had’ve changed the name of the business for any other business in NZ, I reckon it would still be accurate.


So back to the question! When I think back to the most successful campaigns I have run over the years, they tend to be the ones where you really connect with the customer. You need to hook into their emotions. Simon Sinek talks about starting with your why as people will make emotional decisions and connect with your why. Only when you really understand and can articulate your why should you then go to your what (what you offer, what you do) and How (why are you different)


In my business planning sessions, I always ask my clients what problem are they solving for their customers. Now in tourism, this always seems a little more challenging on the surface because nearly every single business says ‘we’re here to provide fun’ or 'we provide memorable experiences'. Are you shifting in your chair right now? Don't worry, I'm sure you're not the only one. But imagine if every ad said that? Would you stand out? No, you definitely wouldn’t. So dig deeper. People will happily spend money if they know you’re going to do something for them – as in fix a problem, meet a need etc.


I think back to the 2016 Life Pass campaign I did at Mt Ruapehu – I was given a sales target (in the millions of dollars) and a relatively small budget for the campaign. Now it would have been really easy to go out and say, ski for life, equivalent to about 8yrs of season passes, additional discounts etc. But we focused on why people would want to make a lifetime investment. We spoke to real customers about their lifetime on the mountain, the fact it was a place they had introduced the next generation to, the family time spent together on the mountain, their sense of achievement in growing to competent skiers, the fact their kids were having active holidays, the friends they’ve made and the time they spend together on mountain. It must have really resonated, as we blitzed the sales target we’d been set.


But the messaging is just one part of the campaign. what’s your brand’s tone of voice? What words do you want to incorporate in your messaging, and which ones do you avoid? What imagery do you use and what ones do you avoid? And do you use emojis? Which ones? Make it easy for your social media team to stick to your brand.



Who is your audience? Who is your ideal client? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? Where do they consume media? What brands do they like? Know as much about them as you can – this helps you narrow down an audience, and trust me, you’ll be way more successful when you are able to do this.


And finally, what are you objectives? What do you want to achieve from this campaign? Awareness, conversion, video views etc. What’s your budget?


So they aren’t necessarily in order, but I think when you can determine your objectives, your messaging and content and your audience, you should see some great results in your campaigns.


And of course at the end of each campaign it’s important to reflect, what worked well, what didn’t and determine what are your learnings and opportunities for the next campaign you do.


You can tune into the Ask Destinate podcast episode here

Ask us your burning tourism marketing question here

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