It’s the job of destination marketers to come up with new and creative ways to attract visitors to cities, countries or regions but how can you encourage people to share their experiences and advocate for your destination once they’re there? Interactive landmarks such as 3D signs or placemaking campaigns centred around immersive engagement are effective ways to capitalize on digital marketing—tourists are naturally compelled to share photos of themselves to mark their experiences and as a result, become consumer-to-consumer marketers with every upload, tweet or share. This demonstrates an understanding of the importance of user-generated content in destination marketing and how destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are using digitally-connected visitors to their advantage to shape the destination brand.
Here is our list of notable destination-based installations and campaigns around the world and the impact they’ve created in consumer-to-consumer marketing:
The I amsterdam sign was installed as part of the city’s I amsterdam rebranding campaign in 2005 but quickly evolved beyond its origins into something bigger—the sign is now recognized as the inspiration to city-marking installations in places such as Lyon, Budapest, Guadalajara and Cleveland. This 3D sign is now one of the city’s most popular landmarks and has grown into four iterations—two are permanent (one in Museumplein and the other at Schiphol Airport) and the other two “playfully change locations around the city“.
In Eye for Travel, David Hornstein calls the sign Amsterdam’s most photographed item, estimating it is shot 8000 times per day during sunny weather.
Advertising agency Sid Lee was hired to promote Montréal as a destination to travellers in 2013 and launched the #MTLMOMENTS campaign in May of that year. To engage people in the hashtag, large photo frames were installed in strategic locations around the city that were designed to capture every day moments experienced by Montréalers and visitors. This initiative was designed for user-generated content with simple, accessible installations made to coax people into sharing their favourite Montréal destinations and activities in a new light.
Around 350,000 #MTLMOMENTS have been shared via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, web traffic increased by 22 per cent and Tourisme Montréal’s YouTube channel recorded nearly 2 million hits.
The Brisbane Letters
Brisbane’s sign was built as a temporary installation along the Brisbane River to mark the 2014 G20 Brisbane summit but its popularity among Brisbanites and visitors enabled the city council to make it permanent—Brisbane’s Mayor Graham Quirk called it “the people’s sign” and saw tens of of thousands of people taking photos with it during its initial run. However, when it was first installed, people were forced into the road in order to fit the entire sign in photographs so city planners moved it further down the river when the permanent version was made.
Designed to showcase the diversity of Brisbane, officials saw opportunities beyond its effectiveness as a destination marketing tool and chose to involve the community in designing the permanent sign—letters were decorated by local groups including the Queensland Country Women’s Association, Amnesty International and the Multicap Association.
The 3D TORONTO Sign
Known officially as the 3D TORONTO sign, this installation in Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall was built as a temporary attraction for the 2015 Pan Am Games but the city opted to leave it as a permanent attraction after witnessing the engagement it garnered. At three metres tall by 22 metres long, the LED lights can create an estimated 228 million colour combinations, approximately equal to that of what the human eye can sense. You can even submit a lighting request to the City of Toronto to bring awareness for local not-for-profit and charitable causes or festivals.
In 2016, CityNews estimated it’s served as a backdrop for 120 million posts on social media with the hashtag #share3DTO.
The 1888 Hotel
Relying on user-generated content as a marketing tool has made its way into the private sector as well. When Sydney, Australia’s Hotel Ovolo opened in 2013 (now Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour), it marketed itself as the world’s first Instagram Hotel, offering complimentary stays for guests with more than 10,000 followers on the platform and a free night’s stay to the uploader of the month’s most creative shot. There was also a selfie wall in the lobby with screens throughout showing a stream of auto-updated with the #1888hotel hashtag.
All of these campaigns and initiatives come down to your brand and media hits so when it’s time to rebrand your organization, engage the media or revamp your social media Mansfield is ready to deliver, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to hear about our destination marketing campaigns.