Fall is a season of change, and what better time to refresh your destination marketing strategy? It’s important to highlight your unique selling points in a way that lands with your target audience. Let’s explore nine creative and unique marketing strategies for destination marketing organizations, aimed at captivating your target market and attracting more visitors to your particular destination. If you are looking for some of the best destination marketing strategies for fall, then keep reading.
1. Leverage Agritourism
Agritourism is a growing trend in the tourism industry, and it can be a unique selling point for your destination marketing campaign. From apple picking to wine tasting, fall is the perfect season to promote local farms and vineyards. Pumpkin Harvesting
Promote local pumpkin farms where visitors can pick their own pumpkins, partake in carving contests, or enjoy homemade pumpkin treats.
Corn Maze Excursions
Engage visitors with intricate corn mazes that offer fun, adventure, and picturesque photo opportunities.
Highlight local restaurants and eateries that serve dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.
Hayrides and Bonfires
Arrange for nightly hayrides and bonfires, perfect for families and couples looking for a cozy, fall-themed night out.
Cider and Wine Tastings
Organize cider and wine-tasting events that showcase beverages from local breweries and wineries.
Encourage tourists to visit farmers’ markets to buy fresh, locally grown products and interact with the local community.
Cheese Making Workshops
Partner with local dairy farms to offer workshops on cheese making.
Offer tours of local apiaries where visitors can learn about beekeeping and honey production.
These activities not only provide a unique experience for potential customers but also support local businesses.
2. Host Unique Sports Events
Sports can be a great draw for tourists. Consider hosting unique sports events like a fall foliage run or a pumpkin boat race.
Leaf-Peeping Bike Race
Organize a cycling race through areas with exceptional fall foliage. Participants can enjoy the beautiful scenery as they ride.
Thanksgiving Turkey Trot
A fun, family-friendly race that can be held around Thanksgiving, with participants running or walking a set distance.
Pumpkin Paddle Boat Racing
Participants paddle across a lake or river in hollowed-out giant pumpkins.
This popular lawn game is perfect for fall and can be set up in parks, breweries, or any large outdoor space.
Fall Equinox Marathon
A long-distance running event was held to celebrate the arrival of fall.
Haunted Trail Run
A fun run with Halloween-themed obstacles and decorations.
Autumn Disc Golf Tournament
Set up a disc golf course in a park with beautiful fall foliage.
Apple Harvest Festival Fun Run
A community-run organized around the local apple harvest festival.
Fall Fishing Derby
An organized fishing event in local lakes or rivers, celebrating fall species.
Pumpkin Tossing Contest
A fun, family-friendly event where participants compete to see who can toss a pumpkin the furthest.
Autumn Orienteering Event
Participants navigate through a specified course using a map and compass, with a fall-themed backdrop adding an extra layer of appeal.
These events can create buzz around your destination and boost your marketing efforts.
3. Collaborate with Local Artists
Art can be an influential tool in destination marketing. Collaborating with local artists to create murals, sculptures, or other art installations can enhance the visual appeal of your tourist destination and attract art enthusiasts.
- Art Tours and Workshops – Organize art tours and workshops led by local artists. This not only gives tourists a chance to learn about the local art scene, but also provides an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work and skills.
- Art Festivals – Host art festivals featuring local artists. These festivals can include live painting sessions, art competitions, and exhibits where artists can sell their work.
- Public Murals – Commission local artists to create public murals around your destination. These murals can become iconic landmarks, promoting your destination and local artists at the same time.
- Artist-in-Residence Programs – Initiate an artist-in-residence program where local artists can work on a project while interacting with visitors. This could be set up in a local gallery, hotel, or even a public space.
- Art Installations – Collaborate with local artists to design unique art installations around your destination. These installations can provide a unique visual appeal, enticing tourists and locals alike to visit and engage with the installation.
4. Promote Eco-Tourism
With increasing awareness about sustainability, promoting eco-tourism could be a key part of your marketing strategy. Highlight the eco-friendly practices of your destination, such as conservation efforts, sustainable accommodations, or green tours.
Highlight accommodations that are committed to sustainable practices. This could include hotels that use solar power, recycle waste, and employ water-saving techniques, or camping sites that leave minimal environmental impact. Make sure to showcase these in your destination marketing materials to attract eco-conscious travelers.
Wildlife Conservation Tours
Work with local wildlife reserves and conservation organizations to offer tours that educate visitors about local fauna and how they can contribute to their protection. These tours offer a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the local wildlife in a responsible, non-intrusive manner.
Sustainable Adventure Activities
Promote adventure activities that respect and preserve the natural environment. For instance, encourage hiking or cycling instead of motorized sports, canoeing or kayaking instead of speed-boating, etc. These activities not only reduce carbon footprints but also allow tourists to connect with nature more intimately.
5. Utilize Augmented Reality (AR)
Incorporating AR into your destination marketing campaigns can provide an interactive experience for potential visitors. For example, HootBoard, a digital signage and interactive touch kiosk solution, can help you create engaging AR experiences that showcase the best of your destination. Vertical digital signage can be useful in this way.
AR Historical Tours
Incorporate Augmented Reality into historical tours to bring history to life. Through AR, users can visualize historical events, see what ancient buildings or sites looked like in their prime or even interact with virtual guides who provide rich historical narratives.
AR Gaming Experiences
Leverage the success of games like Pokemon GO to create AR gaming experiences that encourage tourists to explore your destination. Games could involve finding virtual treasures in real locations, or interacting with virtual creatures or elements superimposed on the real environment.
AR Restaurant Menus
Collaborate with local restaurants to implement AR menus. Visitors point their smartphone at the menu and see 3D models of dishes, helping them to decide what to order, enhancing their dining experience, and providing a unique, tech-forward selling proposition for the restaurants.
6. Create Themed Tours
Themed tours can cater to specific interests of your target audience. Whether it’s a haunted tour for Halloween, a culinary tour showcasing fall flavors, or a historical tour, themed tours can enhance the appeal of your destination.
Celebrate the literary heritage of your destination by organizing tours that take visitors through locations related to famous authors, poets, or fictional characters from books set in the area. These could include authors’ birthplaces, settings of their novels, or places they found inspirational.
Film and TV Locations Tour
Design tours to take fans to the filming locations of popular movies or TV shows shot in your destination. This could include iconic landmarks, streets, or buildings that were used in the production. Providing behind-the-scenes stories can further enhance the tour experience.
Garden and Botanical Tour
Reach out to horticulture enthusiasts by offering a themed tour that focuses on the unique flora of your region. The tour could include visits to local botanical gardens, parks, and nurseries, or even private gardens, if available and appropriate. Include experts who can share detailed information about the plants and their care.
7. Develop a Destination App
A mobile app can be a one-stop solution for tourists. From providing information about tourist attractions to offering discounts at local businesses, an app can improve the visitor experience and serve as a platform for display advertising.
Local Experiences Recommendations
Integrate a feature that curates local experiences based on the user’s interests. This could include popular cultural events, local markets, music festivals, or lesser-known tourist spots. The app can use reviews and ratings from other visitors to provide the most engaging recommendations.
In-App Booking System
Develop an in-app booking system for various services like accommodations, guided tours, or adventure activities. This feature can increase the user’s convenience, as they can plan and book their entire trip within one application. Moreover, it can include a comparison feature, allowing users to compare prices and services to make the best choice.
Interactive Maps and Navigation
Incorporate interactive maps and navigation tools within the application. This feature can provide detailed routes to various attractions, highlight points of interest along the way, and offer downloadable maps for offline use. The maps could also include information about local restaurants, shops, rest areas, and more.
8. Incorporate User-Generated Content
Encourage visitors to shout out your location and share their experiences on their social media channels. This not only creates authentic content for your marketing material but also enhances your destination branding. User-generated content can be more influential than traditional advertising in the travel industry.
Initiate a photo contest where visitors can share their best shots from your destination. The winning entries could be featured on your website or social media platforms, fostering greater engagement with your audience. This could also serve as an opportunity to highlight lesser-known scenic spots, cultural events, or local businesses.
Encourage tourists to write travelogues about their experiences in your destination. These could be shared on your official website or social media channels. A well-written, immersive travelogue can inspire potential visitors, offering them a first-hand account of the unique experiences your destination offers.
Social Media Takeover
Invite influencers or visitors with a significant social media following to take over your official accounts for a day. They can share live updates, post photos, or interact with followers in real-time. This can provide fresh content and perspectives, reaching new potential visitors and keeping your audience engaged. Influencer marketing and social media marketing are a great way to show your location at the personal level.
9. Start a Recipe Contest of Local Flavors
People love to eat! Use this to your advantage by organizing a recipe contest that highlights local flavors and dishes. This not only promotes your destination’s cuisine but also encourages creativity and community involvement.
Online Recipe Submission
Invite locals and visitors to submit their favorite recipes using locally sourced ingredients. These could be traditional family recipes or unique creations inspired by the destination’s culture. Provide guidelines for submission, such as using a specific ingredient or following a particular theme.
Recipe Contest Based on Seasonal Ingredients
Organize a contest where participants create innovative recipes using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. This not only highlights the unique produce of your region but also promotes sustainability and supports local farmers. Winners can be featured in local restaurants or food festivals, providing them with exposure and fostering a sense of community.
Cultural Recipe Exchange
Facilitate a cultural exchange by encouraging visitors and locals to share recipes that represent their cultural heritage. This could lead to a compilation of a unique recipe book that combines flavors from around the world with local ingredients. It could be a great way to celebrate diversity and foster understanding between different cultures within your destination.
Cooking Demonstration and Competition
Partner with local chefs to hold a cooking demonstration followed by a competition. Participants could try to recreate the demonstrated recipe with a twist of their own. This could be a fun and interactive way to showcase local cuisine and engage both tourists and locals. The event could be live-streamed or recorded, creating engaging content for your online platforms.
Get Started! Don’t be Afraid to Try a New Destination Marketing Strategy
These ideas and strategies aim to provide a fresh perspective on your destination marketing efforts. By applying these techniques, you can tap into new business opportunities, reach key markets, and increase the number of visitors to your destination. Don’t forget to use analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor the success of your marketing campaigns and adjust your marketing mix accordingly.