Destination unknown, Part II
It is essential to find a unique selling point to market a destination, Ken Kelling, communications director for Visit London, tells Communicate magazine, Part II.
January 7, 2010 8:44 by Sam Potter
What sort of things did you do after the July 2005 bombings to project this image of life continuing as normal?
The ironic thing about that incident was that it came the day after the Olympic win. So you had these complete contrasts between people in Trafalgar Square [celebrating] and then the bombings the day after. So one of the events a little later on was actually a recreation of that Olympic moment. Give that moment a little bit more time in the spotlight to counteract that negativity.
How has new media changed the destination-marketing picture?
That whole landscape is absolutely where everybody needs to be. We have a Facebook page, we’re on Twitter… all of the regular information about what’s happening in London is communicated through those channels. I think the next move for us is probably how do we start joining in the debate a little more. Because issues will come up, like a debate about whether the Olympics will be good for London or not.
It provides an opportunity to start engaging in dialogue about the city, which is not something that tourist boards are necessarily used to doing. It’s quite a corporate projection usually, but getting into the thick of some of those projections is something that we will have to do. One of the biggest moves for us was to put trip adviser comments next to the hotel listings that we have on our website. I think the fact that all of those hotels are now happy to have trip adviser comments directly from users against their listings shows that people are now thinking, “Yes, we have to be open to this sort of feedback now.”