Rebranding Tourism Markets Socially

How social media like YouTube can regenerate struggling markets


Category: ITB Destination Day 2

Date: March 9, 2017 Time: 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Location: Convention Hall 7.1a, Auditorium New York 1

Percy von Lipinski, President of the Travel Media Group and a former award-winning reporter for CNN travel – where he was known as the CNN Travel Guru – is back at ITB Berlin for a 4th year to share his exclusive insights on tourism and social media. He starts off telling ITB Berlin News about about the secrets of YouTube.

In my ITB presentation I’ll show how to create content that Google and YouTube loves to promote. Of the four main social sites (Facebok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube), only Google and YouTube have a serious, vested interest in created content such as video, and the search engine that can find it [YouTube is owned by Google]. In other words, if you have the right video, Google will promote your content. On the other hand, if you want to be seen on Facebook you have to pay. On YouTube, make really, really good content and YouTube even pays the creator. No other social platform does this on the same scale as YouTube.

How can social media be utilised to allay safety concerns in tourism markets affected by terrorism, for example.

Any location that has experienced a cataclysmi c event such as terrorism or any serious natural disaster must, once the dust has settled, begin the process of rebranding. Some countries may have fairly predictable weather or a safe retreat from the fury of mother nature for the most part, but no country is immune to terrorism. As such it’s vital that any tourist location has a strategy to deal with this unfortunate reality. I have worked successfully with numerous countries to help them deploy successful social network strategies, especially with YouTube. Countries that were once thought of as tourist no-go zones, including (but certainly not limited to) places such Colombia, Vietnam, Mozambique, the former Soviet Union, Burma, Bali, India, Rwanda or Central America, had all fallen into the abyss. But they have all have come back stronger than ever. In fact, every year that tourists stay away will only create more long-term demand with people looking for new places to visit once they “believe” they are safe. After a disaster, the first thing to do is accept that the problem has occurred and that it must be dealt with using a plan. Sometimes a country will either try to minimize, even pretend it didn’t happen, or insinuate that it was a rare one-off event. That is of course a huge mistake. Focus on rebranding. Begin by showing the rebuilding, invite YouTubers to your location (when you’re sure it’s safe), show them success stories and your determination to come back. Now is the time to sponsor a festival. Have fun! Stay away from suffering and the political message of the attack. Realize that a segment of the tourist market will always be on the lookout for the next great travel bargain which they assume will be happening at your destination at some point. Help them. Your local tourism partners must all be in on your plan. Everybody loves a comeback story. In my ITB Berlin talk I will provide several effective strategies that I have used with countries to speed up the rebranding strategy.

Why do you think the tourism industry remains so durable, despite the significant challenges?

At times like these it’s good to remember some of the reasons we travel in the first place. Human beings are hardwired to travel. We started out as nomads, and we still are and always will be. In the words of that futuristic traveller, “I’ll be back”.