The DestinationNext Report (Phase I) – A strategic road map for the next generation of global destination marketing – includes sixty-four trends which respondents identified as having "major impacts on their DMOs". Two of which are directly related to brand identity, one in terms of influencing travel decisions and the other in meeting planner perceptions.
Today, brand identity continues to be tightly tied to social media, user-generated content and, in particular, Instagram. Instagram is one of the best marketing tools available to define and consolidate brand identity as a destination, and the DMOs with well-thought out strategies and persistence are the ones standing out.
While user-generated content paves the way on the largest photo-sharing platform (there are 48 million photos with #vacation), DMOs have the power to set the tone both on their official account and through the hashtag they choose to market and monitor. This is by all means power which should be harnessed.
Here's our pick of the tourism boards that are cultivating the most powerful unified brand identities, getting the best results, and setting the best example for other DMOs on Instagram today.
1. Official Tourism Thailand
Thailand's national tourism board is getting many things right on Instagram this year, not least their strategy to encourage arrivals despite the current mourning period for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The post below is both tactful and in line with their destination and Instagram branding, both of which are seamlessly connected and full of light, colour, water, culture and heritage.
2. My Switzerland
If you know the TrekkSoft backstory and follow us on social, you might think we're being a bit biased here. Yes, we're based in Switzerland's Jungfrau region, but we're proud regardless of the work Switzerland Tourism is doing on Instagram.
Their tagline is get natural, and on Instagram they never forget it. Their followers get what they want and expect by following: incredible mountain scenery, far-fetching vistas, and mountain cabins you can't stand missing out on.
3. Visit Greenland
Visit Greenland has one of my favourite hashtags: #GreenlandPioneer. Many DMOs keep it simple with their hashtag (often with just the name of their region or #visit[destination], and this can be infinitely preferable to more imaginative choices (which users may even be reluctant to use).
However, Greenland clearly put some thought into their hashtag. #GreenlandPioneer cleverly sums up the real brand identity of their destination: an end-of-the-world and unexplored place that makes all visitors feel like a pioneer.
They know the type of visitor they attract. They also know how these visitors want to feel and represent themselves, both in-destination and when sharing their adventures on Instagram.
4. Tourism New Zealand
With an impressive 503k followers, Tourism New Zealand has the biggest follower base on this list. After a scroll through their recent posts, it's no wonder why. Yes, their marketing team is blessed with jaw-dropping scenery to work with, but they bring out every bit of its potential on Instagram.
#NZMustDo & #RealMiddleEarth
5. Fjord Norway
Our next choice is Fjord Norway, the official tourism board of Norway's fjord region and a TrekkSoft DMO partner since 2015. After Norwegian DMOs brought the natural wonder of Trolltunga to the world stage, they've kept working more of the same magic on social media. Their most powerful marketing asset is their use of visual content, which makes Instagram their ideal channel to focus attention on.
6. I Love New York
The "I Love New York" advertising campaign (and accompanying iconic logo with pop art heart) has been used since 1977 to promote tourism in New York. Nearly 40 years later, it stands as one of the most memorable brand identities for a destination.
The I Love NY team now effectively use Instagram as an opportunity to shine a light on regions beyond New York City and increase consumer awareness of destinations, events and experiences across all of New York State.
This is also the best example we could find of a destination marketing their local seasonal changes and highlights (they even have the official hashtag #NYLovesFall).
#NYLovesFall & #iSpyNY
7. Your Singapore
Despite being a tiny island, the team behind Your Singapore has done a fantastic job at bringing out all that's exciting and beautiful about their country as a tourist destination. From incredible parks to stunning modern architecture to delicious food, they show off all that the city has to offer. We especially love that they introduce travellers to Singaporean slang words too.
#VisitSingapore & #YourSingapore
8. Love Cape Town
Cleverly curated sights from mountains to seasides to the city, Love Cape Town does a great job of drawing viewers to continuously scroll down their feed. The team does well to engage with followers by re-gramming beautiful images, showing off the destination through different lenses, while maintaining the overall brand of the destination.
9. Meet South Africa
Meet South Africa effectively uses Instagram to show off their striking destination, vibrant culture, and the large variety of activities visitors can get up to during their holidays. It's the perfect destination for millennials who want both the city and the outdoors, and they know where this audience are spending time – on Instagram.