Helen Roxburgh
May 10, 2018

Destinations reach out to digital audiences

Tourism boards are using social media to show off their event-holding potential and attract delegates.

Destinations reach out to digital audiences

When it comes to event arketing, social media is the new superpower. According to Eventbrite, 63% of event marketers use influencer marketing and a fifth of traffic to event registration pages comes from social media.

So it is good to see several countries and tourism boards across Asia Pacific embracing social campaigns to promote themselves as ideal destinations for both leisure and business travellers.

This is, after all, where their customer base is: more than nine in 10 millennial APAC travellers share their experiences and photos on social media while they’re away, and around 89% of millennials plan travel activities based on photos, videos and other content their friends have shared online.

Modern marketplace

In Malaysia, for example, the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) recently underwent a digital facelift.

“We have a newly revamped website that boosts the bureau’s presence digitally,” said Datuk Zulkefli Hj Sharif, CEO at MyCEB. “The new website has a cleaner layout and encourages planners to engage with our team through live chat and online RFP forms. As for social media, MyCEB is using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to promote Malaysia as a growing destination in the region.”

Singapore’s Tourism Board, meanwhile, signed an MOU with Chinese tech giant Tencent in June last year to promote Singapore as an appealing destination for Chinese travellers through its various digital platforms, including analysing trends and recommending solutions to build brand awareness among Chinese consumers.

Singapore Tourism Board's uses Passion Ambassadors such as Kyra Poh to share images of an 'authentic Singapore'.

Growth in Singapore’s tourism numbers in 2017 has also been attributed to the country’s “Passion Made Possible’” campaign, which shared images of “authentic Singapore” on social and starred “passion ambassadors” like Malcolm Lee, one of only a few Singaporeans to have been awarded a Michelin star; Kyra Poh, the world’s fastest flyer at indoor skydiving at the Wind Games; and contemporary pop artist Jahan Loh.

The campaign was launched across trade events, industry partnerships and global marketing campaigns, and generated over 192 million video views and 3.19 million social media engagements.

Indonesia has also been ramping up its digital marketing. In 2017, the Ministry
of Tourism’s “Trip Of Wonders” campaign worked with online KOLs and bloggers using the #WonderfulIndonesia hashtag in a competition that awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Indonesia to the winner.

This year, too, the ministry launched a “Go Digital” campaign for its tourism marketing efforts, but also to improve online booking facilities. The ministry has partnered with Travelport to deliver tailored online messaging to targeted travel agents in 15 countries, as part of the “Wonderful Indonesia” marketing strategy.

Pick your platform

“In Asia Pacific, we’ve seen vibrant event landscapes where there is no shortage of great things to do,” said Laura Huddle, head of marketing at Eventbrite.

“Subsequently, we’ve seen enormous demand from event organisers for ways to make their event stand out. Increasingly, organisers are looking at clever ways to leverage social media and performance marketing to reach new audiences.

“Many event creators don’t know which platform to prioritise – the answer is Instagram. Instagram has 800 million monthly users, which is more than twice as many as Twitter and more than three times as many as Snapchat. Since Instagram gained powerful audience targeting algorithms through Facebook, the platform has created more dynamic marketing opportunities for event creators.”

Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism #WonderfulIndonesia campaign on Instagram.

Over 300 million people watch and create stories on Instagram daily, and according to Eventbrite, one in five organic stories from a business gets a direct message. Huddle adds that 77% of people value user-generated photos over commercial photos when making purchasing decisions.

Events can also maintain online followers through social media. Wine festival Pinot Palooza, held in Australia and New Zealand, engages attendees not only on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but also on Spotify.

The event has created a variety of playlists, featuring mixes from DJs who played at the events. By incorporating music into their event offering, Pinot Palooza are creating an extra layer to their brand as a “destination event”.

Share and share alike

With young professionals increasingly looking to combine business and leisure travel there is a more pressing need for crossover social media strategies between event marketing and tourism campaigns.

“While traditional event venues like convention centres, exhibition halls and hotel ballrooms remain go-to’s for event professionals, we’ve seen growing demand for unique event experiences,” said Huddle. “In response, event creators are increasingly looking to non-traditional venues such as breweries, warehouses and museums. Choosing a unique venue gives attendees something to talk about and encourages them to share the experience through social media.”

“For years, planners have been looking for rooms, capacity and connectivity when choosing a destination,” said Patricia Silvio, global marketing manager of Pacific World, on launching the group’s research report into the future of global events this year.

“Now we need to add the experience and the impact that this experience generates in each one of the guests as one of the most important factors when selecting a destination. Experience is the key to every incentive, event or meeting.”


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