I like to ask people where they’re going to travel on their next trip, or where they are dreaming of going, because it’s the follow-up question that’s most revealing: Why? What made you pick that particular place?
About half the time I get a reasoned argument about a trip with relatives, “we got a fantastic deal,” or “I’ve always wanted to visit the Great Pyramids.”
When there is a long pause or a “hmmmm” on the other hand, it’s usually down to what’s in this T&L article called Packaging a Nation. You may not think about this much, but as I say in my latest book, the word “branding” is thrown around in tourism meetings the same way it is at Coca-Cola or Proctor & Gamble. I’ve heard more than one tourism bureau official speak of their “product array.” These marketing teams are trying to hit you at multiple points of contact: on your TV, in your magazines, in your newspaper, and on the web.
Here’s a similar quote from the article:
Just as Coca-Cola has invested millions, if not billions, of dollars over generations to convince consumers that Coke has a personality, an attitude, a lifestyle, a whole menu of emotional experiences wrapped up inside each can, Ecuador and dozens of other countries are using increasingly sophisticated versions of “brand theory” to attract visitors.
According to the experts quoted, Spain, New Zealand, and India are the ones that have really nailed it in recent years. I’ve been wanting to go to Barcelona, but wasn’t quite sure why. Hmmmmm…