Back to blog

Build a Great Place

Written on: Feb 25, 2018

By: Hannah Paramore Breen

It’s so much fun to plan a vacation now. We can almost experience the destination before we get there through websites and social platforms. Anticipation is part of the journey as travelers chronicle every step from the time they buy their tickets through their planning and packing, taking endless selfies along the way.

What happens when the traveler arrives in your town to start their vacation? Does the excitement continue? Is it an easy, pleasurable experience? Do you meet their expectations?

For decades our Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) have focused on building awareness and driving visitation to their destinations, both very important tasks. But now, as even small-town tourism markets mature and competition mounts, we are seeing DMOs expand their roles to include placemaking marketing – promoting or creating events targeting residents, rather than just focusing on increasing visitation from out-of- market travelers.

The reason is simple but profound. Our client, Visit Macon, said it best: Build a great place to live and you’ll build a great place to visit.

Travelers crave authenticity. After decades of outlet malls that all look the same and chain restaurants on every interstate exit, what people want from their vacations is to experience a real locals’ place. They want to feel the genuine vibe of the city, taste its local food, be where people are having a good time.

Cities and states are responding. Initiatives in Georgia such as Burgers + Brews, a week of $7 burgers in Gwinnett County,or festivals that celebrate the history of the area in Macon are focused on enhancing the community for its residents, butthey also add to the sense of place and the holistic experience of community that is thriving and fun for visitors to be a part of. 

Are you beginning to focus on placemaking? We have tips to help you get started! Contact us to discuss this and more.