Today's travelers and meeting planners have many options, two of the most compelling being where to visit and what to do when they’re there. With hundreds of destinations advertising similar “things to do” and “places to eat,” how can you be sure your destination stands out?
A destination’s authenticity has become a far more important part of the equation than ever before. This means destination marketers need to understand what uniquely sets them apart and how they can use this uniqueness to brand their location properly.
You most likely know your brand like the back of your hand, but how do you know if you're effectively marketing it? Simpleview has a secret up our sleeve for this: destination immersion.
We answered the top four questions about destination immersions and how your destination marketing organization (DMO) might benefit from one.
- What is a Destination Immersion & Why Should Your DMO Consider One?
A destination immersion is when Simpleview's creative team fully immerses itself in a community. It involves in-depth, in-location, hands-on research into who you are, what sets your destination apart, and what activities, accommodations, and establishments are available to travelers.
Destination immersions are offered as part of a website redesign, visual identity, or brand toolkit design service. Simpleview team members travel to your location, spending three or four days experiencing a variety of activities, learning about the community culture, and bonding with your team. The time spent together allows our team to see your destination with fresh eyes and a new perspective, and it gives clients focused time to have consultative and in-depth conversations about their destination branding and the tools and services available.
- What Does a Destination Immersion Look Like?
Take a look at a recent destination immersion to Atlantic City with Meet AC. Meet AC coordinated Simpleview’s Destination Immersion to align with the filming of its new destination video. “Meet AC planned three days of activities at unique and interesting locations throughout Atlantic City,” said Karina Anthony, marketing director at Meet AC. “Simpleview was able to experience the destination firsthand; the authentic experiences were filmed, highlighting the special aspects of Atlantic City. Since the Simpleview team’s experience in the destination was new, it was a completely candid representation of how visitors feel while in Atlantic City.”
- What is the Goal of a Destination Immersion?
A destination immersion allows the Simpleview team to develop a unique, personal connection with the community and destination brand. Learning the personality of a destination is a key component to creating a unique identity that captures its essence, inside and out. A destination immersion allows the creative team to see and experience the highlights of a destination and its history, along with the "normal everyday" vibe of the local community.
While participating in various planned activities, the design team remains alert, seeking inspiration in all they see, hear, feel, and experience. What they pick up on can lend itself to symbolic and identifiable logomarks or graphic assets, a unique color palette with cleverly-named colors, and a strategy on how to communicate the identity and brand of the destination to potential visitors.
Destination immersions negate the possibility of the creative team getting it all wrong. Email communication, video calls, and even face-to-face meetings leave room for error. Upon returning from a destination immersion, Simpleview’s team has all the inspiration and information necessary to build a cohesive brand identity.
- Why Does it Matter?
Maintaining a cohesive brand identity across your marketing materials — your website, social channels, email communications, brochures, and visitors guides — is so important. Your branding is a traveler’s first impression, and it’s a lasting one. Having strong, cohesive branding makes your community memorable and encourages visitors to choose it over others.
High-quality, aesthetically pleasing branding and brand materials, like logos, websites, fonts, and graphic design images, improve the travelers' opinion of a location and its residents. Most importantly, a high-quality brand demonstrates the value your DMO provides to the destination.