Hollywood—and marketing agencies—of the 20th century significantly branded our cultural consciousness to align certain destinations with romance: think Paris, Vienna, Los Vegas, Napa Valley, Hawaii. While not every destination’s brand can lean its full weight into the “couples” target-market, it does provide an opportunity to round out your marketing efforts, especially to bridge the gap between winter holiday travel and spring break season.
According to a study done by the U.S. Travel Association, nearly two-thirds of couples (63%) surveyed say a weekend getaway is more likely to spark romance than large or small gifts. Through marketing, we want to promote our destinations to be the “weekend getaway” that the couple opts for over alternate methods of celebrating Valentine’s Day. With the Valentine’s Day season approaching, take a look at how your destination can attract potential visitors for Valentine’s Day-related trips. We’re applying some of the leading trends in marketing to Valentine’s Day-specific messaging.
Pro Tip #1: Market all kinds of love!
Long gone are the days of appealing to one specific form of love– and your marketing messaging can reflect that! There are so many ways people celebrate Valentine’s day, from spending it with their family, best friends, significant others, or pets and a great way to increase engagement is to showcase the variety of experiences your audience has.
For the 2022 Valentine’s Day season, we created a series of Instagram stories for one of our clients to showcase a Gal Pals’ road trip, a Treat-Yourself-Day, a Date-night, and a Shop-Local-style promotion for Valentine’s day related gifts. [LINK TO SL’s IG]
Pro Tip #2: Inspire with Itineraries
You know all the great dates of your destination—put that insider knowledge to good use! Start by picking a few different styles for your local Valentine’s Day weekend experiences: rejuvenating, romantic, playful, etc.
Your next step is to pick some activities in your destination that will bring each experience to life. For example,
- A “rejuvenating” vibe might include a couple’s massage at a local spa, a walk along a beach or trail, and dinner at a healthy local restaurant.
- Your destination’s “romantic” weekend might include flowers and chocolates from local businesses, dinner at an exclusive restaurant, and a night’s stay at a local hotel that has special Valentine’s day packages.
- Finally, a “playful” weekend might look like showcasing a local ice cream shop, an adventurous feature in your town for exploring, and a friendly dinner place.
The main point is that you really want to bring the potential experience to life for your visitor—you want them to be able to picture themselves at your destination.
Once you create an itinerary, you have an amazing pool of content you can use to showcase to your potential visitors. Some ways we love to share this information is in the form of blogs, e-newsletters, social media content (as referenced above in Pro Tip #1), or as an interactive website landing page feature.
Pro Tip #3: Influencer Content
Another brilliant way to showcase the potential your destination holds as a Valentine’s Day getaway is through social influencers. As the right influencer for your destination is one already connecting with your target audience, this leverages the credibility and sense of trust your audience already has with the influencer.
- Getting an Influencer: Sometimes a potential influencer will approach you and sometimes you will approach them; either way you’ll want to be sure you’ve done your research and vetted them properly. You’ll want to look at their followers, engagement rates, and if they’ve worked with other destinations in the past.
- Paying an Influencer: From there, they might negotiate a fee, but also see if they are willing to do a trade/earned media if you are comping their hotel, food, and activities. In return, they will give you images, write a blog, and do a number of social posts or stories.
- Content from an Influencer: For Valentine’s Day weekend, you could set up an Influencer Tour with a couple you’ve identified within your target audience to showcase your destination’s Valentine’s day experience through the eyes of a visitor.
Pro Tip #4: UGC Content
Another great way to show off the authenticity of your destination is through user-generated content, or UGC. The benefits to doing this are to showcase your destination through a tourist or local’s lens rather than from a marketing or commercial perspective. By utilizing the perspective of a real visitor or local, it helps showcase in the minds of your audience the experience they could have. This lends itself to creating a true sense of authenticity we strive to give visitors of our destinations. UGC is also cost effective.
Pro Tip #5: Video Content
Finally, our last tip is engaging video content. While video content can be an investment piece, the fact that it drives engagement at a higher rate than images can make it worth it depending on your strategic marketing goals and budget. There is no better way to allow your potential visitors to experience your destination than through video — until they actually come themselves. Here is phenomenal example of a destination leaning into valentine’s day marketing [link to DC]. Destination DC launched a 5-week campaign, “Get A Room,” specifically promoting a date night or weekend stay in DC in the month of February. In addition to a 30-second video, they have a dedicated website with ideas, itineraries, and inspirations that served as a landing page redirecting to their main destination’s website. See it here.
Your destination has its own unique and magical take on romance. Use that facet as another way to showcase your brand’s personality to attract potential visitors with authenticity. Through the myriad of ideas above, try something new this Valentine’s Day season. For more marketing tips, subscribe to our monthly newsletter. For more information or to schedule a personal consultation of how Verdin can market your destination, contact Mary at [email protected].