Tourism marketing on social media has evolved. While social media has been a key player in connecting destinations with potential travelers since its inception, the medium has changed to place a greater emphasis on video content and algorithmic discovery. In order to see results from social media, marketers now have to invest in the dynamic short-form video format while also understanding how to create a content marketing strategy that sticks the landing with audiences. For tourism marketers, it’s not just about posting beautiful photos anymore but about highlighting engaging, authentic experiences that audiences will want to watch and engage with.
Let’s dive into the world of social media marketing for tourism to help you build a robust strategy — in this blog, we explore:
Tourism is a massive $5.8 trillion industry across the globe. To put it into perspective, the industry averages nearly one billion tourist arrivals yearly. Marketing destinations to an audience this large — a sizable portion of the global population — requires channels that are able to reach almost everyone, and nothing fits that criteria quite like social media.
Social media is electric; content can spread to thousands of people in minutes and marketers simply do not see that kind of reach outside of expensive paid campaigns. Tourist destinations can reach a global audience, engage with future travelers and showcase their unique offerings without breaking the bank.
The benefit of modern social media is that it is simple. A ten-second video filmed on a phone can reach comparable audiences to a paid campaign. With the right strategy, particularly by optimizing content to strike gold on the algorithm, marketers can drive awareness, boost bookings and foster a community of loyal followers.
There is no universal answer for which social channel marketers should invest in. Different channels cater to different audiences and have varying purposes depending on your brand’s goals.
Successful social media campaigns for travel marketing have many moving pieces, including channel strategy, identifying audiences, creating engaging content and measuring results to make refinements.
Here are some tips that will help bolster your tourism marketing campaigns.
Social listening is the easiest way to determine what audiences want, how they’re talking about you and what content they’re most likely to engage with. Traditionally it has involved monitoring mentions of your brand as well as relevant keywords, however, it has evolved to include AI-powered features such as:
Understanding your target audience is key to developing content that works for them. Consider factors like age, location, interests and travel preferences. Budget is also important, as older travelers may have the buying power for all-inclusive experiences, while younger travelers may be more interested in sightseeing and other low-cost activities. These factors will help create content that resonates most with your audience demographic across social channels.
Social media is global, and tourism campaigns can find a more vast audience than other mediums. Developing a global social media strategy by localizing campaigns by region and language can make them more relevant and engaging. This could involve highlighting attractions that are appealing to international audiences but old news for locals, sharing local stories, or even partnering with influencers who have traveled from afar. When it comes to tourism, there is nothing more authentic than a testimonial from a real tourist who had an amazing time, and in many cases, they will create user-generated content.
The best way to create a successful campaign is through experimentation and iteration. Social media analytics tools allow brands to track the performance of their campaigns in ways that native social analytics do not allow. Metrics such as engagement, reach and conversion rates are valuable to understand what’s working and what’s not — and platforms such as Dash Hudson offer even more sophisticated metrics, such as Entertainment Score, to rank how entertained audiences were by your content on a scale of 1 to 10, or Vision, which uses AI to give a star rating to content that will perform well with audiences before you even post it.
Ultimately, tourism marketing is visual. High-quality images and videos make all the difference in inspiring travelers to visualize themselves at your destination. Text provides meaningful context to help drive bookings, but it is the imagery that tells the story of what your travel spot is and what experiences travelers can expect once they’re there.
Let’s look at the brands that are already doing a good job with social media marketing in the tourism industry. The following brands come from a variety of different areas and have different target audiences, but it is clear that they excel at common factors such as entertainment and creating content that resonates with audiences.
Luxury resort Eden Roc Cap Cana uses social to its fullest potential, combining a mix of static imagery and dynamic video to showcase guest experiences, events and seasonal highlights.
The Viator travel app has a vibrant, digital-first approach to marketing. The brand understands that social media users care about experiences, and it also pairs its content with specific aesthetics, such as colors or astrological signs, to truly inspire viewers to picture themselves in the moment.
Celebrity Cruises has a robust TikTok marketing strategy, using the video format to immerse viewers in international destinations and experiences. The brand’s top-performing posts are notably behind-the-scenes footage of the crew answering questions and having fun.
Explore Charleston uses TikTok to partner with local businesses, tourist destinations and independent creators to create a compelling narrative about the city’s vibrant community.
NYC Ferry has taken a modern, trendy approach to TikTok — appealing to Gen Z riders with humorous content and all the latest trending sounds. This is a great example of an organization taking a much different approach for TikTok, as diverse channel strategies are essential for maximizing social media impact.
Breeze Airways excels at video on Instagram, including sharing a plethora of fun Reels showcasing flights, destinations and marketing campaigns. Its focus on flight staff helps give a face to the brand, while its content helps to demystify the flying experience.
Stunning visuals are a huge factor in travel — 37% of travelers in the United States used their mobile phones to find travel inspiration on social media. To make your tourism marketing as impactful as possible, brands should use a combination of compelling images and videos to entice users.
Dash Hudson offers a suite of tools to support your tourism marketing strategy and visual content. With a wide range of features like Vision, Campaigns and Social Listening, you can create better content with AI-powered insights that predict visual performance, report on your success in just a few clicks and develop a cohesive profile of your audience.
Tourism marketing involves promoting a destination, tourism-related product or service, with the goal of attracting visitors and boosting bookings.
Social media has a significant impact on tourism and travel. It allows brands to reach a global audience, engage with potential travelers and showcase their unique offerings. It also provides travelers with a platform to share their experiences, influencing the decisions of others through user-generated content.
Social media has revolutionized tourism by making it more interactive and personalized. It has given travelers a way to share their experiences and opinions, and algorithms serve content to people who have expressed an interest in travel. For tourism brands, it offers a budget-friendly way to market to a large number of people.
Social media has removed all limitations in destination discovery. Travelers can find content about any location, get inspired by UGC, and make decisions based on what they’re seeing on their feeds. Many tourist destinations have seen sudden upticks in travelers because of social media trends, which are impossible to predict but highly beneficial when they happen.