Marketing in the travel industry can seem like the best job in the world — we are storytellers of great experiences, luxurious accommodations, and delectable food. But as with any industry, the opportunities and channels to share our stories can become standard, even stale. So let’s celebrate the unexpected, authentic, and sometimes crazy marketing ideas that have not only come to fruition but also hit home runs.

Here are three marketing campaigns that likely started as crazy ideas but have proven to be innovative, bold, and anything but boring:

Discover Long Island’s Creates Local Version of “Wordle”


Discover Long Island noticed when Wordle, the mega-popular 5-letter online word game, took the world by storm shortly after the new year. The destination marketing organization (DMO) quickly developed a spin-off called “LongIslandle” and  launched the game on its website in February, with daily words all related to Long Island.  

As reported in the Long Island Press, more than 18,000 people have already played, and the webpage has over 23,000 total views. 

Discover Long Island has long been recognized as an industry leader for innovative use of social and digital media trends, and the new “LongIslandle” is the latest marketing that delivers a subtle, fun, creative way to keep all things Long Island.  

Discover Puerto Rico Introduces "Puerto Rico Sunshine," a Color Created in Collaboration with Pantone Color Institute

Communities often have their own color palette, especially tropical beach destinations. But who would have thought to design a limited-edition color in collaboration with the leading source of color information and development? Discover Puerto Rico, that’s who. 

Pantone, the iconic color company, partnered with Discover Puerto Rico to create a red-orange hue inspired by Puerto Rican sunlight, appropriately named Puerto Rico Sunshine. The vibrant color has been referred to as “golden hour in a can.”

An exuberant and exotic sun-kissed orange shade infused with energizing warmth and a gregarious presence, Puerto Rico Sunshine wraps you in a welcoming and joyful embrace. Animated in style with an enticing allure, Puerto Rico Sunshine celebrates the openhearted spirit, passionate character and flamboyant nature of this lush tropical paradise.

Puerto Rican physicist and professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Héctor J. Jiménez, Ph.D., created a color combo from the island sunbeams using a series of models and calculations, measuring everything from the sun’s temperature to its movements around the island throughout the day. 

This initiative generated a tremendous amount of media coverage and SEO visibility, all while celebrating Puerto Rico’s abundant sunshine. If that wasn’t enough, you can also buy the paint color to spice up your walls at home. ECOS Paints used its expert color matching to make Puerto Rico Sunshine wall paint available for purchase.

Virginia Road Trip Videos "Wanderlove"

With some of the most romantic landscapes, Virginia has long leaned into the notion of love. In Visit Virginia’s latest ​​WanderLove campaign, the DMO is targeting in-state visitors with low-risk travel experiences through a YouTube video series that gives viewers a lens into easy, short road trips.

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Originally launched in response to travel safety concerns and restrictions brought on by COVID-19, the purpose of this campaign was to open audiences up to the idea of traveling safely again. While safe and responsible travel will always be a part of WanderLove, it will now be used as a general guideline rather than the core focus of the content. 

Visit Virginia plans to evolve its video series to a total road trip inspiration platform by inviting all of its citizens to explore Virginia and embrace their inner WanderLove.

These marketing ideas might have seemed “crazy” at kickoff, but the DMOs are reaping the benefits of stepping outside of the box. Getting in touch with your inner creativity when drafting up a new marketing plan for your destination just might put you on the map – so what are you waiting for?