Travel and leisure marketing: What can signature events do for your destination travel brand?

June 14, 2012

Buffalo Bill Days attracts thousands of people to Golden, CO every year.

Signature events can be the lifeblood of your destination travel brand, and attract a following that returns year after year.

The Philadelphia International Flower Show (IFS) wrapped up another successful year of operations awhile back.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, this 182-year old institution is the world’s largest indoor flower show and one of the premier horticultural events in the U.S.

The 8-day event attracts tens of thousands of gardeners and horticulturists to the city, uses 25,000 hotel room nights, and generates $61 million revenues and $8 million in city, state and federal tax revenue.

It also has a ripple effect on tourism year round, because these visitors share their experience of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Convention Center with hundreds of thousands of friends and colleagues.

What could your signature event be?

Think first about what is different and special about your brand, and build your brand and your events around that positioning.

Our client the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau is surrounded by some of the region’s finest wineries and vineyards, so it bills itself as Colorado’s Wine Country.

Each spring, the city attracts thousands of visitors from across the Rocky Mountain region to its Spring Barrel Tasting event.

Every fall, the city attracts thousands more to the Colorado Mountain Wine Fest.

We positioned another client, the City of Golden, CO as the home of the two-hour vacation because visitors driving from Denver can enjoy a great mountain escape in just a couple of hours.

Every summer Golden promotes Buffalo Bill Days and 3 other signature events that help reinforce this positioning and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to town.

Need some more ideas on how to use events to reinforce your brand’s position? ¬†Consider these examples:

  • Traverse City, Michigan sponsors the National Cherry Festival every July.
  • Hannibal, Missouri has the National Tom Sawyer Days.
  • Roswell, New Mexico sponsors its annual UFO Festival.

We’d love to hear how you are positioning your leisure brand, and what kinds of signature events and conventions you are creating or attracting.


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