Many destinations are vying for the title of a world class destination and for the travel bureau’s, DMC’s, government agencies and travel agents I will seek to demystify some of the items that make some destinations stand out more than others. In this article we’ll only explore a few locals, mainly Miami, New York, Bahamas and Jamaica which will make it easier for comparisons and drawing distinctions.
Room rates and comfortable stay:
Many destinations offer high quality accommodations, but value is only equal when it is compared to the economic value of the jurisdiction. Let’s explore this some more: a $300 a night stay in Miami will be different that a $300-night stay in the New York.
The Miami market is overly saturated with hotels, hostels, motels, Airbnb’s and many other convenient room rental/ sharing options which makes a memorable and comfortable hotel experience a hit and miss. Not only do you have to spend hours poring through reviews on a travel site, but you will have to develop a sixth sense of how to interpret photo and review bias to figure out if you’re getting your money’s worth.
The New York market is quite different than Miami, as most of New York’s tourist draws are located in Manhattan and the city is spread out over a sprawling area and is densely populated. You will find that its hotel prices are much steeper and what you get is much lower in quality for the same price. But with New York not being a driver friendly city the location of your hotel becomes even more important.
So, for this comparison we see that not only having available high-quality rooms is important, but where those rooms are located and what the transportation infrastructure in that city looks like also affects the decision of where a potential tourist will visit.
An Island Experience:
When we think of an island experience different things come to mind when one hears of Jamaica or the Bahamas. When you visualize Jamaica, your mind instantly visualizes breathtaking waterfalls, lush mountains, mouth-watering food and the unmistakable twang of reggae music playing in the background while enjoying a libation by the pool.
But when you envision the Bahamas, for an island experience people dream about relaxing on the beach, enjoying the crystal clear water, dipping their toes in the pink sand and enjoying a delicious Bahama mama while they let all the cares of life fall away.
Thus, it’s important when both locales are marketed these considerations are chosen and specific appeals are made that pull at the right desires of each potential person.
Traveling for business:
For this particular aspect we get the joy of comparing 3 locations namely Miami, New York and The Bahamas.
Miami becomes the perfect draw for a business trip or conference as it allows easy access from Latin America, UK, Brazil, Spain, Paris and Germany and visitors get to enjoy all that Miami has to offer with popular nightlife options and a mecca of dining choices.
New York in comparison becomes the perfect draw for a conference as well, but with this city having an expanded gateway to cities ranging from Milan, Tokyo, Beijing, Geneva and Taiwan it has become the go to for travelers from those destinations trying to manage flights with shorter travel time and less connections. Not to mention visitors get the chance to take in a play on Broadway, visit the MOMA or see Shakespeare in the park
For the Bahamas the draw is quite different with Nassau being in close proximity to the tip of Florida, this makes it an attractive jump from Miami and New York airports, but it also allows for conferences and business travel to have a softer more relaxing backdrop and gives attendees some added incentive to attend the conference as they can mix business with an added element of relaxation.
Top of mind awareness :
For many tourists they are oblivious to the many times they were impacted by the indirect branding for these 4 major tourism destinations prior to their trip. Even with something unassuming as a film, many potential tourists have already been sold on a destination from blockbusters ranging from Scar Face shot in Miami, West Side Story filmed in New York, How Stella got her groove shot in Jamaica and Casino Royale filmed on the sunny shores of the Bahamas.
Each film through its own unique mix of unmistakable cinematography was able to firmly implant memories of each destination in the mind of the viewers, and created some decision bias without the viewer being none the wiser; which truly shows how indirect marketing plays a role in solidifying a destination as world class.
Top of the mind awareness for these locales are also deepened by apparel merchandise such as the now famous NYC hats that everyone wears, the unmistakable black, yellow and green combination made popular by Jamaican celebrities such as Usain bolt and the world famous Junkanoo costumes popularized by the national event held in the Bahamas each December.
For cities to compete and build out their own ubiquitous brand it will take a collective approach with multiple layers of stakeholders, government officials, private business owners and raving fans to spread the word. Branding of this magnitude will not be impactful alone based on the backs of a mere marketing campaign, but it will be reinforced by a multilayered approach that reaches across infrastructure, experience, bite size memories and tangible takeaways such as apparel and souvenirs.
About the Author : Fabian is a brand strategist with over 20 years of marketing and creative experience working with companies in a variety of industries such as liquor, retail, food, government and finance. His strategy involves learning your business from the inside out and providing a bespoke plan to achieve your designated objectives.
Photo by Sergi pinido martinez on Unsplash