As a tour operator, it’s important to know how you can boost tourism within your local area. This begins with understanding the difference between place marketing and tourism destination marketing.

The phrases may sound as if they could be synonymous, however, they are two distinct marketing concepts. By understanding these two elements of the marketing mix, you’ll be able to create more effective promotional strategies that will drive your travelers not only to your region but also to your businesses.

In this article, we’ll uncover the main differences between place marketing and destination marketing, and how you can enhance both to maximize your exposure to more potential customers.

What is place marketing?

place marketing

Place marketing is a marketing strategy that attempts to brand an entire region as a desirable location to live, work and play.

For example, a particular city or region may create a place marketing campaign that highlights the benefits of living within the community, the attractions that are located there, and the industries that are thriving.

The goal of a place branding campaign is to boost and promote all the positive aspects of the community and its region. This is to attract new residents, visitors, and business investors/stakeholders to the area. In general, a place marketing strategy is going to emphasize what makes that region unique and appealing to all types of people.

What is destination marketing?

Destination marketing is a component of place marketing, it focuses on the tourism sector of the local economy. Destination marketing in the tourism industry aims to increase awareness about an area within a region and drive more travelers to that location.

These types of marketing campaigns are typically developed and implemented by destination marketing organizations (DMOs). DMOs consist of representatives from the local tourism industry, such as hoteliers, tour and activity operators, and local business owners. These individuals work together and develop local strategic partnerships to promote the opportunities that are available in their local area.

Top 6 destination marketing strategies for tour and activity operators

Now that you know the difference between place and destination marketing, it’s time to uncover how you can boost your destination marketing strategy to further expand your reach to your target audience and further entice these target customers to your local area.

1. Form strategic partnerships

Working with other tour operators may not be the first idea that comes to mind when forming your marketing plan. However, forming strategic partnerships with other local businesses within your area can help further boost your campaign. The more names and brands involved, the bigger the marketing campaign will be. You’ll also be able to reach a wider audience by exposing your business to each other’s target consumers.

By partnering with other local tourism businesses, you’ll be able to create bigger initiatives that’ll be beneficial for all businesses involved.

Check out this article on how partnering with other travel businesses can help you drive tour bookings.

2. Develop a brand for the destination

Destination marketing and branding go hand in hand, and it’s hard to get travelers to visit your local area if they don’t understand your destination’s identity. As such, developing a brand for the destination is another key strategy.

Once you have your brand sorted out, it’ll be easier to perform market research and come up with product marketing ideas for your destination.

For example, a destination may brand itself as the perfect place for weddings and honeymoons if they’re looking to attract couples. By understanding your brand, you can turn your local area into a romantic destination by showcasing content of couples lounging on the beach, dining at picturesque local restaurants, and relaxing at state-of-the-art facilities.

destination marketing

When creating your brand, it’s important to remain consistent. This includes elements like colors, logos, font, slogans, etc. Every detail needs to be considered during the branding process, and all participants in the DMO need to agree on branding messages.

3. Create a regional tourism website

By creating and having a regional tourism website in place, you’ll be able to feature all the local experiences within your area under one platform. A website gives you the opportunity to instantly reach and expose your business to your target market from around the globe.

The main aim of creating a regional tourism website is so that it can be used as a resource for travelers who want to visit that destination. The web page should feature visual elements that promote the tourism possibilities in the destination; focusing on top activities and attractions like beaches, historic monuments, restaurants, and more.

It also should include listings for top tourism businesses, such as reputable tour and activity companies in the area.

Here are some examples of regional tourism websites:

4. Create enticing content

In the digital world that we now live in, content is a critical component of remaining visible online. It also helps in attracting visitors to your website and destination. By featuring up-to-date content that resonates with your customer’s needs, you’ll be able to lift your exposure to thousands of eager travelers.

Blogs are a great way to give your target market more insight into your destination. By writing up articles about your local area that promotes things to do, travel tips, etc, readers will gain a better understanding of your destination and be more prone to visit.

Visual content is also becoming increasingly powerful. Videos and high-resolution photographs are absolutely necessary to promote your destination to travelers who are searching for their next vacation spot.

These types of content can be shared on your website, regional tourism websites, social media platforms, and more.

5. Harness the power of search engine campaigns

place marketing definition

The first place travelers go to, to find out more information about a destination is search engines. Search engines like Google and Bing are used by billions of people every day. By understanding the influence these platforms have on a customer’s decision-making process, you can use them to your advantage.

By incorporating search engines into your digital marketing strategy, you’ll be able to quickly turn online potential customers into actual customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques are critical in ensuring you stay at the top of the results page. By harnessing the power of search engines, you’ll be able to boost your direct marketing efforts and ultimately, your booking metrics.

To understand more about incorporating search engines into your destination marketing campaign, check out these articles:

6. Create tour packages

There are two things that travelers nowadays seek – convenience and affordability. This is where tour packages become enticing for many travelers these days as it covers both these criteria.

Tour packages are multiple elements of tourism products wrapped into one. These packages could be a combination of different travel products such as accommodation, transportation, activities, and more sold together. Tour packages provide travelers with a stress-free booking experience. This is because they don’t need to create their own itinerary or search through the numerous options. And in most cases, tour packages come out to be more cost-efficient than buying each service individually.

By forming partnerships with other local businesses, you’ll be able to easily create enticing tour packages that will attract travelers. This is also a great opportunity to promote your new products and create profitable product pricing strategies.


Once your destination marketing campaign takes off, and you begin to see more bookings come through, it’s best to have an online booking software in place that will help you easily manage your reservations.

For instance, Rezdy is an online booking software for tour and activity operators that equips your business for success. With the advanced features that Rezdy provides such as real-time availability viewer, automatic communication, and payment gateway integrations, your admin and duties are automated, thus, streamlining your business and customer’s booking processes.

Furthermore, as a Rezdy booking software customer, you’ll have instant access to the industry’s biggest operator marketplace, Rezdy Channel Manager. With over 25,000 active resellers ready to resell your products, broadening your distribution channels has never been easier. Incorporate Rezdy Channel Manager into your distribution strategy today.

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To learn more about the 7 ps of marketing within tourism, check out this article.