You know that previous research is key when it comes to customer satisfaction, but how can I apply my knowledge when marketing a destination? In this post, I will guide you step-by-step through the process of information gathering for a destination marketing campaign.
I am referring to my last article The Importance of Information Gathering and would like to show you how previous research can help a small production company to guarantee customer satisfaction in destination marketing.
After landing a campaign, it is key to invest some time in research about the destination, service or place you are promoting and to find out what your clients expect you to deliver. I have summarized our experience with the Strandhotel Heringsdorf on Usedom in Northern Germany. Our research previous to the content creation challenged us to find answers to the following questions:
Our client on Usedom is not the Tourism board of the island, but a local 5-star hotel called Strandhotel Heringsdorf. Of course, this plays to our advantage, as we are staying and indulging at that place while creating the content.
With this client however, it turned out that the provided accommodation should not be the only jackpot we had landed with the Usedom campaign. In a clarifying talk, the management of the Strandhotel (meaning ‘beach hotel’ in German) points out that they will give us free hand on how to go about creating the agreed-on content and provide us with whatever we would need. I am telling you now that this is the best situation you could wish for with a destination marketing client and you might understand soon, why.
Against our expectations, the Strandhotel Heringsdorf did not want us to create a promotional video of their destination exclusively, their hotel, but film the overall experience visitors can expect when staying at their place when visiting the island.
This might seem like a minor difference, but for the process of content production, post editing and eventually for the customer satisfaction, it is extremely important. The Strandhotel Heringsdorf, unlike many other hotels, does not only stand for the services they provide, but for the resources and quality the island of Usedom has to offer to their clients.
Arriving at the Strandhotel, we immediately take notice of the relatively high average age of the visitors. The manager confirms that their customers are generally returning visitors, retired Germans who have been coming to Usedom for years, if not centuries.
On that matter, the destination marketing goal had been set to attract a new generation, younger couples and families from all over Europe. In the future, the Strandhotel should be known as one of the top choices for accommodation in a top tourism destination.
Due to the intended repositioning of the island Usedom and the Strandhotel particularly, the people that should be reached with our content are young, dynamic and interested in the following topics: lifestyle, food, outdoors activities, maritime sports, wellness and recreation.
The Strandhotel Heringsdorf is situated right on the beach front and offers sea views from most rooms and from the panoramic sauna. Talking of the sauna, one of the hotels strongest values next to location are probably the spa facilities. Guests can choose to use a number of in-house facilities, including a saltwater indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a steam room, several massage chairs, water beds and a panoramic sauna with daily infusions.
Additionally, massages and other spa treatments can be booked. The food in the restaurant and the hotels safari bar is excellent, a seasonally adapted menu with a variety of local dishes and excellent German wines.
Filming and shooting these facilities alone could have filled a nice promotional clip for our client. However, as it was not wished to focus the content primarily on the hotel, but on the island’s beauty and hidden gems, we needed to increase our level of creativity a bit. That being said, both Greg and I were more than happy to be able to explore more of the island and to try the different activities on offer.
I am almost certain that Usedom will attract a bigger crowd of international tourists over the next few decades. With Usedom being one of the sunniest parts of Germany, the wide sandy beaches, covered in traditional German Strandkörbe (beach chairs) were naturally of great relevance for promoting the destination.
Iconic natural or cultural elements like these can catch the viewer’s attention by recognizing a certain place or culture and should therefore always be objected in the created content.
The island of Usedom has far more to offer than beautiful beaches and relatively stable weather. Over 200 km of biking paths connect small and characteristic villages. Lush green and perfectly kept golf courses animate golf fanatics and beginners to play a few holes.
For those who are into wind- and watersports, Usedom has kayaking, kite- and windsurfing as well as sailing. The variety of things to do on Usedom is impressive and makes it an attractive holiday destination for couples, young families, singles and older people at the same time.
From the information above, we usually write down our ideas on how to structure the footage of different days, locations and activities. A promotional video for the Strandhotel Heringsdorf had to be (eye-)catching and different, stressing the variety of activities available on the island and convince especially young people and families from all over Europe to come to Usedom.
Luckily – and this is the exception rather than the norm – our client on Usedom gave us an idea of what they were looking for, but almost no restricting guidelines regarding the footage or creativity. This trust is amazing, because it gives you the opportunity to go shoot the places and moments as they come, get inspired while doing your work and eventually come out with content that is different, unpredictable and stunning.
Despite the relative freedom given by the client, we have to make sure not to step on other people’s toes and to respect the local environment. Especially the creation of drone footage in destination marketing usually requires a lot of paperwork, administrative calls and permission to fly in certain areas.
On the island of Usedom, this turned out to be somewhat complicated, but thanks to the support by or client, we were able to figure out a safe and legal way to create some beautiful drone footage of the Hotel and surrounding areas of Usedom.
If you are curious to see how we put the final piece into practise, click on the video on your right. Also check out Greg’s Vlog for behind-the-scenes updates and follow our next destination marketing campaign on Juist in the North Sea!
Last but not least, thank you for reading. We would be happy about feedback, comments, critique and questions, so stay tuned!
Nellie and Greg