Branding 101 for Tourism Businesses
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Branding 101 for Tourism Businesses

By Paige Rowett
Published on May 26, 2021

Your brand is the most powerful marketing weapon your tourism business has at it's disposal. Your brand represents your Reputation and your Promise to potential customers.

A brand is not just a logo, it's a bunch of ideas and feelings that your customers and employees have about your business. It reflects all of the interactions you have with your customers and is the promise of what your customers will experience when doing business with you.

Think about strong brands such as Apple or Virgin… What feelings comes to mind? How do you describe them? What images do they conjure up? Virgin has a strong fun, vibrant and fantastic customer service brand, while Apple is innovative, popular, is a leader and reliable.

Everyone has a brand – from a personal and business level, to a regional and state level. A good way to think about your brand is how your customers feel when experiencing your tourism products and how they describe your product/service/experience to their friends and family.

You can attract your Ideal Customers without a strong brand, however it makes your marketing efforts so much easier and more successful if you have a clear and consistently communicated brand message throughout your business.

What elements make up a Brand?

Your Value Proposition

Building your brand starts with understanding what value you are offering to your Ideal Customers. Therefore, the first step is to firstly have a very clear idea on what experience you’d like to deliver, and who your Ideal Customer is.

Once you know these two things, you can create your Value Proposition.

A Value Proposition articulates what problem your experience, product or event solves for your Ideal Customer, the key benefits are that you offer, and what sets you apart from other businesses who offer the same solution to the same problem.

To become clear on what your Value Proposition is, start by answering the below questions.

  • What problem(s) does your experience / product / event solve for your Ideal Customer?
  • What benefits does your experience / product / event offer your Ideal Customer?
  • What makes your experience / product / event different to other similar/competitive experiences?
  • What can you hang your hat on as a genuine competitive advantage?

It's easy to identify your value proposition if you have a strong connection to the purpose of what you are doing.

The team at The Organic Factory at Telegraph Point in NSW North Coast have a very clear purpose, which helps them to not only clearly differentiate themselves, but also, it permeates through their whole experience, and as a result, they are attracting their Ideal Customers.

 

Your Experience

Your brand experience is any place that a person comes in contact with your business (or sometimes called a “touch point”). Be it through visiting your website, looking at your social media pages, visiting your tourism product or service and any relevant follow up service. The key is making sure every impression or interaction you have with your customer is a great one and customers have a consistent experience at each touch point.

Surf Goddess Retreats have a very consistent brand across every touch point in their business, website, social media and their product experience. You can see they speak very clearly to their ideal customers (young, professional, solo travelling women).

Personality / Tone of Voice

Having a specific tone of voice that reflects your values, beliefs and culture is really important. Think about what sort of tone of voice your business has. Does it align with who your Ideal Customers are likely to connect with? Can you definite it? In tourism, your tone of voice should be friendly and conversational, it shouldn’t be too corporate. This is an increasingly important part of your brand to define and deliver consistently with all the interactions you have with customers on social media.

Visit Limestone Coast have a very unique and personable tone of voice, which is evident throughout their website and also social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram).

Logo, Colours + Fonts

Your business' logo plays an important part of brand development and recall. A logo is the visual representation of your brand, which is why when you are working with an established and logo you will need to have a very good reason to change it. As with the change, you will be losing any value (brand recall) that logo brings to your business.

If you are re-evaluating your business' brand, then you may consider updating the logo to launch your business back into the marketplace with a refreshed vision and customer promise. But like they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Likewise, the colours and fonts used in conjunction with your logo (on your website/marketing collateral etc) will also help customers to define your business, however, they are not as critical as a logo in terms of brand recognition and recall.

Professional Photography + Videography

In a time when consumers are listening less and less to advertising spiels and are influenced more by pictures, video, word of mouth and 3rd party recommendations, it is so important to be using beautiful imagery and stories via video to sell your tourism experience.

Investing in a professional photographer / videographer to take photos of your experience will repay you many times over. You will be able to use the photos throughout all your brand marketing activities such as on your website, social media, email newsletters, powerpoint presentations, trade show stands and any printed marketing materials.

Learn more about how to get the right photos and videos for your tourism business >

Qualia resort uses stunning visual imagery, with a mix of scenery and product photos (with and without customers and staff) which provides a very emotive first impression when visiting their website.

 

Customer Interactions

Great customer service is expected in tourism - so making it a core focus of your marketing efforts is imperative. Happy customers will become advocates for your business and help become a sales force for your business by sharing their positive experience with the people both online and offline.

With the power of online review websites to influence customers purchase decisions, it is increasingly important to invest in providing your customers with the best customer service experience possible.

Seastar Cruises have a team of staff who go out of their way to look after their customers on their reef tours and ensure they have a fun day, which reflects in top rating TripAdvisor reviews.

 

Implementing your Brand Marketing Activities

When you market your brand, you are putting yourself and your business at the centre of your messaging.

This is different to Content Marketing, where you put your customers at the centre of the story.

It's essential that your brand is communicated consistently across all of your brand marketing activities, and that those activities are aligned and optimised for your Ideal Customer's touchpoints.

Some of the key brand marketing activities include (including links to other articles on how to optimise them):

 

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This article was originally published in 2016, and has recently been updated in May 2021.

Paige Rowett

Paige is a tourism marketing specialist and co-director of Tourism eSchool. After growing up on a farm on Eyre Peninsula, and now managing a mixed farming enterprise with her family in the Clare Valley in South Australia, Paige has a genuine love and drive for developing thriving local communities. She is passionate about educating stakeholders in the value of the Visitor Economy and supporting tourism businesses to build sustainable businesses they love.
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