Macro Geo-Targeting:
Translation of Tourism Campaigns

I recently had the opportunity to go to the New York Times Travel Show as part of the delegation representing our client, the island of Tenerife. The event, which takes place at the Javits Center, is the premier travel show, bringing together industry representatives and consumers with destinations. This year, there were nearly 30,000 attendees. We were there to launch a US-centered campaign for Tenerife, branded “Adventure On,” where we promoted the myriad of adventures you can experience on your trip.

Our booth was busy, but in the few moments that I wasn’t attending to the curious crowds, I snuck off to check out what the other booths were offering and their messaging. I engaged with the reps from various destinations to discuss destination branding. To my great surprise, the majority of the people I spoke with had a one-dimensional approach to promoting their client. Whether it was Fiji, Malta, Hungary, Quebec or even Louisiana, the imagery, messaging, tagline and value proposition all derived from a single central campaign. Regardless of target audience, geographic location of a campaign or general knowledge of the destination, all touch points were consistent from market to market. At the end of the day, the campaigns were just translated to the local market.

Taiwan knew the show’s target audience well and succeeded in capturing attention.

This seems like a dangerous approach to take. You aren’t going to sell a country, a city or an island the same way in one market as you would in another. Too many factors are to be considered — distance from the target audience, historical relationship between the countries, variety of offerings, competitors and general knowledge or public perception of the destination.

Look no further than our client, Tenerife. In Europe, the perception of the island is more attuned to that of sun, beaches, weekend party getaways and the only warm place in the EU during those cold winter months. It is correspondingly marketed that way, as it should be. However, in the United States, Tenerife is somewhat of an unknown location. If we were to promote those same features, we would be competing directly with much closer destinations such as Mexico, the Caribbean or even Florida. To stay relevant in the competitive market, we decided to highlight the amazing adventures available on the island other than sitting in the sun. This is where our real value proposition and differentiation exists.

The Carnival dancers at our Tenerife booth brought some life to the show.

The Adventure On campaign encompasses this very strategy. We didn’t just translate a European campaign into English for the US market. We adapted and innovated it to provide a more geo-targeted campaign. Now with cross-generational travel being so prevalent, people are looking for vacations that every member of their family can enjoy regardless of age. Our premise is that every person’s idea of an adventure can vary, but, with the assortment of things to do on Tenerife, there really is something for everyone. Do you like rock climbing or mountain biking? What about golf? Are you curious about wine made from grapes grown in volcanic soil? What about Michelin star restaurants? Prefer to go whale or bird watching? We have all of that and more. But if we just had told you about the sun maybe you would have never wanted to go to Tenerife.

Originally published at