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“I didn’t know it was pride month,” said no destination marketer ever. Tourism professionals are actively thinking about how to welcome LGBTQ+ travelers. The industry has published blogs on the “best queer-cation,” gay travel itineraries, and listings for all the Pride festivities — and there is nothing crazy about that.
While some brands go all-in on the LGBTQ+ audience, like Orbitz’s “Travel as You Are” campaign, other savvy marketers are trending toward conscious inclusion in their destination marketing. Their target audiences are not based on the segmentation of gender identities, ages, abilities, ethnicities, religions, or sexual orientations, but rather on the attitude and essence that will connect with the inclusive traveler vibe.
Let’s take a look at a few crazy marketing campaigns that worked:
Swipe Right on Copenhagen
Copenhagen has long been a destination valued for democracy, freedom, and equality — yet the city felt challenged to show foreigners why it is such a fantastic place to live, work, and travel. It also had an underlying goal to attract international talent, primarily from the LGBTQ+ community, to the city as an attractive career destination. The Copenhagen team created a mostly digital campaign using a (fictional) dating app; finding the right partner and finding the right job have a lot in common – you need to find the right match.
The fictional Greater Dater app provided the opportunity to use the dating world’s lingo along with app features, like selecting “X” to reject or the heart symbol to “Like” a location’s profile. The team branded Greater Copenhagen as a “match” and drove more than 10,000 people to their job portal.
Humor has long been a popular advertising technique, especially when the joke is relevant to the audience. The Greater Dater app made us swipe right on the right connections.
Seattle’s “I Know a Place” Video Series
Seattle welcomes diversity in all its forms, with rainbows woven into its identity and even its crosswalks. In Visit Seattle’s video series “I Know a Place” campaign, famous Seattleites take their visiting friends on city tours to some of their favorite places. Some of the most recognized Seattle citizens are proud LGBTQ+ community members.
In two of the most popular episodes, we follow Nicholas Japaul Bernard and Chong the Nomad (aka Alda Agustiano) on a tour through their favorite Seattle sites.
While their sightseeing tours barely mention the cultural diversity of the city or their sexual orientation, the characters, landscapes, and stories hidden within the city say so much more to travelers.
You can catch the expanded campaign on Visit Seattle’s social media channels, VISITSEATTLE.tv's YouTube channel, digital display, or follow IKnowAPlace.org and #IKnowSeattle for the latest.
Visit Lauderdale’s “Everyone Under the Sun”
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is home to people from 170 countries speaking more than 147 languages. It’s also home to the largest percentage of same-sex couples in the country and is considered the state’s LGBTQ+ capital. No stranger to the LGBTQ+ audience, Visit Lauderdale, the destination marketing organization (DMO) for Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida, proudly proclaims it was the first DMO to have a dedicated LGBTQ+ department.
A marketing campaign to display their inclusivity and further cement their place as LGBTQ+ advocates seems like a no-brainer, but the team at Visit Lauderdale went a step further and completely reinvented the brand. With a new identity that promises to feature a diverse, tight-knit community, they welcome “everyone under the sun.” The brand validates and recognizes all who collectively make Lauderdale a bright, sunny, and welcoming destination.
This April, Visit Lauderdale extended the brand promise into its new “We Are” creative campaign to welcome all populations and communities. Distributed mainly through social media, the vibrant hues and colorful people make it highly effective and … absolutely stunning. To see more about this campaign, follow #everyoneunderthesun and @visitlauderdale.
To read about more crazy destination marketing ideas that worked, check out our recent article.