When you're thinking about going to a destination, what's more important, the look of a place or the experience you're going to have in that place?
Today I saw this tweet in my stream and clicked on it. Not because I wanted to go on a swamp tour, but because I was interested to see how New Orleans was marketing these tours.
There was a day when just having a web presence was enough - you loaded it with pretty pictures, great copy and in general, created a digital version of the vacation guide you'd been producing and shipping for decades. There was a day when you sold the surroundings. In my hotel/resort marketing days we called it the Edifice Complex. Brands always wanted to feature their building, their resort, their beach.
But today, everyone has a web presence. And with broadband, YouTube, MTV and Flash, we consumers have become more demanding of our web. We're just not that impressed with animated Gif's anymore, hero shots of resorts, and beauty shots of beaches. We know it's all been photoshopped anyways.
As you can see, the page the Tweet above links to gives you a nice photo, good copy, and a rather long list of Swamp Tour companies around New Orleans. It's very functional. It's very rational. But it doesn't really tug on those heart strings and honestly, having been on swamp tours, it kind of undersells them.
It doesn't really give you is an idea of what the heck a swamp tour experience is really like.
If you've never been on a Swamp Tour, it's actually kind of fun. Like any tour, the operator of your boat plays a HUGE role in how much fun it is, how educational it is and in general, is THE differentiator.
Most importantly though, swamp tours are actually pretty active. You get to hold a baby alligator, you get to watch as the guide feeds alligators right off the boat and other such things. If you've got young kids, it's really a treat.
But if you've never been on a tour, how does a destination expect you to understand that? Instead of using static images and text, why not take the time to create a YouTube video -- sort of a movie trailer for a swamp tour. The one below was obviously shot by a tourist, but give it a gander and ask yourself, would my kid find that exciting? Go ahead, I'll wait.
Vacations are dynamic, experience filled times of our lives. And with the economy the way it is, we destination marketers are fighting harder for a shrinking pie. Thus, it's imperative (in my opinion) that we virtually immerse our prospective consumer in our experience via social marketing in hopes of puppy dog selling them into wanting that virtual experience to become a real one.
Obviously, I've only shown one example of what can be done... I'm certain that I'm likely missing a ton more... maybe you can help with that and share a few examples of great immersive marketing approaches that you've done/seen lately?Tweet
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