Destination Marketing Through Local Stories and Perspectives

How Destinations Promote Travel Experiences By Letting Locals Tell Their Stories

How are destinations promoting travel experiences and attractions through local stories and residents' unique perspectives? Three examples of destinations that have successfully engaged not just visitors, but also local residents in sharing their stories: Newcastle Gateshead, Lyon and Montreal.

Expert Team at TrainingAid

As part of the Tourism Training Live session focused on destination marketing ("7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Telling Your Destination's Sustainability Stories", December 8th, 2014), we shared many case studies and best practice examples of creative marketing and storytelling efforts by destinations. Inspired by these stories, we've asked our network to share more examples of effective and engaging destination marketing ideas. Here are three examples of destinations that have successfully engaged not just visitors, but also local residents in sharing their stories.

Newcastle Gateshead: "My Kind of Toon"

My Kind of ToonIn order to promote the destination Newcastle Gateshead in Northeast England, the NewcastleGateshead Initiative has developed a series of testimonials from "passionate local and visitors" sharing their stories about what makes the destination special for them.

The "My Kind of Toon" series features "real people" whom potential visitors can identify with - for example, a mother, a student, a dog-lover, a couple, a local business owner, and people with particular interests in music, food, arts and culture. Each profile has live links to the activities and places that they like to visit in Newcastle Gateshead.

Davina Stanford

Davina Stanford
Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University -
Course Leader for the Responsible Tourism Management MSc.
Author, VisitEngland Keep it Real for Destinations Toolkit

Lyon: Locals Help Visitors Discover the City

Lyon is France's popular cultural tourism destination known for the city's gastronomic and historical experiences. Lyon Tourist Office and Convention Bureau has invested a lot of efforts in designing a more interactive website than the previous one, highlighting popular topics such as local cuisine and cultural events. Notably, the DMO has managed to differentiate itself on one specific point: the Greeters initiative which is now supported by Lyon Tourism. Greeters are volunteers eager to share their love of their city with visitors.

The initiative is a great example of sharing economy, based on locals’ stories and anecdotes in their hometown, bringing guests to spots that are off the beaten path. The result: by having this program promoted through the Lyon Tourism website, the DMO has contributed to local economy as more new places are discovered by visitors, including those places that usually do not benefit from tourist expenditure.

Roxane Kaempf

Roxane Kaempf
Co-Founder, is a platform promoting sustainable development
in leisure and hospitality at a destination level.

Montreal: Promoting Everyday Moments

Tourism Montreal has also engaged local residents in telling the stories of the popular city destination in the Canadian province of Quebec. Tourism Montreal’s use of social media, through the #MTLmoments campaign, helped empower locals to share "everyday moments that make Montreal the city it is".

This campaign was featured in this post, "4 Creative Uses of Instagram in Destination Marketing", by Social Media Today.

"Tourism Montreal wanted to go beyond beautiful skyline images in order to showcase unique moments that define the city and its local residents. The #MTLmoments campaign, launched during the Spring of 2013, was meant to cross online sharing with offline behaviors, during real-life events happening around town. ... In order to 'help' people share moments via the campaign hashtag, paper frames were also distributed to tourists in hotels and information kiosks across the city. Full-blown, real-size wooden frames were also positioned strategically across various popular spots, with the #MTLmoments hashtag."

Tourism MontrealTourism Montreal
Instagram: montreal
Twitter: @montreal
Facebook: Visit Montréal / Visitez Montréal

Share YOUR ideas and stories! If you have any example of effective destination communication practices, or creative marketing ideas and lesson learned for destinations, please share them with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or send us a mail!