Canada’s “Signature Experiences Collection” may sound like a celebrity clothing line at Target, but the thought behind it is spot on. Car manufacturers produce new cars every year, phone makers come out with new phones, theme parks add new rides. What generates a buzz for all these companies? New products with new features.
What do most destinations do? Keep trying to market the same stuff year after year. And it’s hard for the media or potential visitors to get excited about the same old thing, so it takes huge amounts of money to generate that interest.
Want some proof?
Brand USA’s promotional arm is Discover America. They’ve produced dozens of professional and rather expensive videos with a combined view count of about 7 million, which you can find on their YouTube channel here. The most popular video has just over a million views.
Now let’s look at a new destination product. Some rock climbers created a big swing in Utah two years ago with nothing more than their climbing rope, harnesses and the natural rock formations. They made a great video about it. How many views did it get? About 30 million (if you include the various clips… the main one had 22 million views.) This example isn’t exactly a destination product, but it could have been. Someone could have created something similar somewhere else and commercialized it, just as the bungy craze started in New Zealand. (That famous rubber band experience could have also occurred anywhere.)
Imagine the potential if Brand USA could combine their budget with some creative, new, brand-aligned experiences.
The problem is there’s no budget, staff or mandate to help create product. So it doesn’t happen.
Seems like DMOs and National Tourist Boards would do well to understand that marketing and product development are connected and it’s very difficult to do one without the other.