Destination Marketing –
Attracting Local & Global Visitors
Hey, tourism marketers – let’s talk about where our visitors come from. The COVID-19 pandemic brought some unique challenges to tourism, from borders closing to workforce shortages, but surprisingly, we saw a boom in domestic tourism during and immediately after the pandemic. People were anxious to get out and explore after months of isolation, but COVID challenges kept them close to home. Now that the world has reopened, people are ready to take off on far-away adventures, and you need to be prepared to target a global audience in order to keep your rooms and activities fully booked.
Domestic vs. International Tourism
Domestic tourism includes travelers from a common nation, so think of a U.S. citizen visiting any of the 50 states. There are many benefits to targeting your “neighbor”:
- No language barriers
- Shorter distances to travel
- No border crossings or customs
- Common currency
- Potentially less expensive trips
Domestic travelers certainly seem like the easy sell – marketing to them through local advertising channels is straightforward, and you’ll often benefit from grassroot and word of mouth advertising simply because locals are more likely to know about you and have an interest in visiting you. But don’t let the “ease” of domestic tourism turn you off from targeting international visitors, because foreign travelers come with big benefits:
- They stay longer and spend more each day than domestic travelers
- They are more likely to travel in off-peak times of the year (shoulder seasons)
- They are more likely to visit “off-the-beaten-path” destinations, benefiting unique, rural attractions
In 2019, right before the pandemic hit, the Great American West region (which includes the states of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) saw an estimated 460,147 rooms* booked by international travelers alone, which resulted in an estimated spend of nearly $256 million* – that’s a significant chunk of change benefitting suppliers all across this region. With COVID in the rearview mirror, it’s time to target those international visitors once again, as we’re bound to see domestic numbers regulate as our neighbors look to traveling globally again.
So how can you promote your destination internationally? Luckily, RMI has decades of experience in reaching this unique demographic. If you are a destination in one of the five Great American West states, you can capitalize on your state’s investment and marketing efforts by joining the Great American West Partner Program or attending the International Roundup tradeshow and meeting directly with international tour operators selling trips to this region. Expand your reach and grow your destinations’ potential by marketing to wanderlust-filled adventures across the globe – RMI is here to help!