Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Wed July 06 2016

A Cautionary Tale for the Tourism Marketer

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | July 06, 2016

A Cautionary Tale for the Tourism Marketer

PHOTO: Rhode Island's tourism campaign featured images of Iceland by mistake. (Photo courtesy of YouTube.) 

In an age where "local" is superior, should tourism marketing always be an inside job? That is the question asked by AdWeek, referencing what happened to Rhode Island when the state’s new tourism campaign was viewed by residents as out of touch. 

"There are some that take the point of view that the agencies absolutely, positively have to be in our state because they need to understand the DNA of the experience here," Joanne Davis, president and CEO of New York-based Joanne Davis Consulting, said to AdWeek. "There are others that take the point of view that says, 'As much as we'd like to [hire in-state], we want best-in-class. And if we feel we can find best-in-class, that may not be in our footprint. We have a responsibility to look beyond." 

READ MORE: Whoops! Rhode Island Promotes Itself With Clip of Iceland.

Turns out this is a touchy subject. Several tourism boards – even those with successful campaigns – didn’t want to comment to AdWeek for the story.

But many marketers noted that an out-of-state perspective can be helpful.

"Everyone is really proud of the state they're from ... but sometimes it's nice to have that outsider input because that's who you're marketing to," said Chris Mickey, media and public relations manager for the Wyoming Office of Tourism. "You're not marketing to people who live in your state and are proud of it; you're marketing to people who may be interested in visiting one day or may not even know a single thing about your state."

However, maybe the key is to get the right campaign – sometimes that could be local or it could be out of state. The answer may not be black and white but a shade of gray. 

To read the case for going local – and going out of state – visit AdWeek’s article


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