Forget the What, Tell Me Why

Forget the What, Tell Me Why

Ah, summer.  Flip flops, sunburns and new tourism marketing campaigns.

A number of our DMO / CVB marketing peers have released new creative, and in some cases entire campaigns, for the upcoming summer travel season.  Beyond how the spots look or sound…we will leave that review to someone else…let’s take a closer look at the message being sent by each campaign.

Specifically, the difference between telling me what to do and telling me why to visit.

The difference is subtle, but important.

Atlantic City

Switzerland Tourism

Let’s compare, shall we?

Yes, the Swiss video is longer, but even reduced to :30 seconds, the difference in the message is clear.  Atlantic City has told me what I could do, while Switzerland has told me why to visit.

Everything v. perfection.

Everything v. an emotional.

Everything v. an idea.

Watch that Atlantic City video again, and tell me…aside from the ocean, which is unfortunately absent…which of those things you could accomplish in your own town?

Gambling?  Check.  Funnel cakes?  Check.  Promiscuous sex?  Check.

I know I can do those things in Atlantic City.  I could also do them in Las Vegas, Foxwoods or Niagara Falls.  I know you have dining and dancing and shopping and funnel cakes.  I know you are fun and young and hip.  I already knew this.

Tell me why I should spend my money, fight traffic on the Garden State Parkway and choose your destination.

Tell me why, not what.

The Swiss spot answers that question, while showing a variety of things to do…yet never calling them out by name…explaining that they can provide the perfect vacation.

Ah, now we are getting into reasons why people travel.  Perfection, security, relaxation, exploration.

Honestly, Switzerland is probably a lot like Austria, which has mountains like Germany, Italy and even France.  In the end, they all possess the same surface-level amenities and attractions…food, dining and shopping.

But what makes that Swiss spot different is that they tell me why I should visit.

15 years ago, tourism destinations could get away with advertising that was nothing more than a pretty picture and a bullet-list of things to do.  Why?  Because only the top-tier destinations could market to such a wide audience.

But thanks to the democratization of marketing via digital (thanks social media!), every destination is now attempting to convince the consumer to visit with the same what to do technique.

Between Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor, I know what there is to do in your town.

What I am missing, what I need to know, understand and learn is why.

Why is it special?  Why are you promoting it?  Why do you believe that your destination is worthy of my visit?

I know what I can do.

Now tell me why I should do it.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.