Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 2014

Destination Branding: How To Get the Word Out in a Crowded World

By Jennifer N. Dienst, Contributing Editor

experiences, both good and bad, through social-media channels like Twitter and Facebook. “I think that brand deliverance and integration is going to be stronger now that they realize that they're in a glass house.”

That said, social-media platforms also continue to provide one of the biggest outlets for DMOs to promote and expand their brand — from the ground up. For meeting planners, “When it comes to making a final decision, however, oftentimes the brand of a city — essentially the perception that visitors have of the destination — plays an important role,” according to “Social Media Marketing for Global Destinations in the Meetings and Conventions Industry,” a recent white paper from Marketing Challenges International. “Does the destination offer rich culture and history? Is it known for any business industries or universities? Is it known for its cuisine, music, art, or nature? What restaurant and nightlife options does it offer? Will visitors feel welcomed by the locals? Social media is an easy and inexpensive way to answer these questions and build a destination's brand.”

The white paper shares a variety of examples of DMOs connecting with and serving meeting attendees: “[T]he Phoenix and Seattle CVBs provide a ‘social concierge’ during conventions. Using a specially created hashtag for the conference, CVBs can tweet directly to attendees to answer questions about the destination and notify them of local events, deals, and restaurants and entertainment. The Chicago CVB now works with their convention clients to develop interactive gaming challenges with SCVNGR (pronounced ‘scavenger’), a mobile app in which users can visit places, complete challenges, and earn points.”

Even though a lone tweet may feel like a pebble standing next to the mountain of brand building, it can result in an avalanche of impressions. “We've had situations where [a meeting attendee or visitor] tweeted that they spilled something on themselves, so we tracked them down with a Tide pen,” Tillinghast said. “It shows that we're listening and we're paying attention. Whether you're talking to somebody directly or talking to people on Twitter, it's word of mouth, [and that is] still the thing that will drive people to want to come.”

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