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The Best Travel Marketing Is Local: How to Harness Civic Pride to Sell a Destination

We're grateful to TravelPulse and reporter Mia Taylor for including Bond Studios in this just-published story about destination marketing. Our Founder & CEO Sarah Schaffer has deep experience in the travel and tourism industry, and spoke with Mia last week about what marketing pros can do to cut through the noise.

If you don't have time to read the full story, here's how to harness civic pride to sell a destination in three quick tips:

Look beyond Instagram for consumer insights Sea-of-sameness marketing creates a soup of sunset scenes and skyline shots that, while pretty, don't tell compel anyone to actually book a trip. Don't let high engagement rates on organic Instagram posts trick you into thinking that those same images should be served up for larger paid campaigns.

a woman sipping a tropical cocktail while taking a dip in the pool

Embrace your neighbors

The savviest DMOs and travel brands know that their best audiences are locals, because they're your word-of-mouth advisors to friends and family around the world. These travel marketers take time to build meaningful relationships with those who call a place home – especially the communities that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from conversations about what defines the essence of a destination. We've seen so many city brands fail because they forgot to ask their own communities to weigh in on a pricey new campaign. It's not enough to assume your neighbors will say good things.

Share your work from start to finish

When you include your community early on in the work and count them as stewards who can help you bring a place to life through campaigns and messages, they can and will become active and vocal ambassadors. And when their loved ones ask for recommendations for things to do, sites to selfie, dishes to taste, and people to meet, your neighbors won't just be ready to share the best of their home, they'll be excited to play tour guide again and again.


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