Social media is by far the most effective marketing tool to gain awareness of your tourist destination from your target group. Even though ever-changing travel restrictions can make it hard for tourists to actually visit your country right now, you still can learn from the best. In this case, the #itsmorefuninthephilippines campaign started in 2012.
Wait, don’t you mean 2021?
No, this is an oldie-but-goodie, but one that is still relevant today. The campaign is also a good practice of how to start a creative promotion on a limited budget. And isn’t that what we all want—massive global awareness while spending as little as possible? The tool used by the Philippine DOT (Department of Tourism) is simple, yet super effective.
The Philippine DOT has a lot to offer tourists coming to the region—beautiful beaches, a great climate, and some of the best scuba diving in the world. On top of that, Filipinos are known for their warm hospitality. The one thing that the DOT didn’t have, though: a large budget for a global tourism campaign.
Back in 2012, they started the campaign that branded the country as a perfect destination along with the slogan, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” to get people thinking about how fun it would be to visit the country. The campaign became a huge success on social media and serves as a best-practices case study for other Destination Marketing Organisations to learn from.
Besides being a big social media hit, the campaign was responsible for a 16-per cent rise in foreign tourist arrivals for the first quarter of that year. The country’s tourism slogan also landed third among the 100 smartest marketing campaigns in the world and their creative campaign can teach us a lot.
The essence of crowd sourcing
By now, we all know that the success of this campaign was the result of the large social media population in the Philippines, which at the time counted 27 million Facebook users. When the DOT started the campaign, they invited the country’s social media users to come up with their own advertisements via an online tool. Within hours, the hashtag #itsmorefuninthephilippines virtually exploded on Twitter and the campaign went viral. Facebook was overrun with self-made ads, such as “Casual wear, More Fun in the Philippines”, “Stargazing, More Fun in the Philippines”, and “White Christmas, More Fun in the Philippines”.
Although it is obvious to see how this campaign blew up online, the important question here is: how did the Philippines DOT get all these people to participate in the campaign? The campaign did not become a huge success by chance—there was a carefully designed branding and marketing strategy in place. Combine this with a simple and user-friendly tool that it makes sharing and participating easy and fun, and you are ready to translate a strategy into tactics. Creating a marketing ad can literally be done in a few seconds! A textbook example of how to facilitate on user-generated marketing content.
In the meantime, the campaign has evolved and today people still can create their own “It’s more fun in the Philippines” meme via www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com. Anyone who wants to contribute can download the font and logos to create and share their own posts in the #itsmorefuninthephilippines stream. This is an excellent strategy for creating engagement and such a tool empowers your ambassadors to actively participate in putting your destination on the map.
Your plan of action
Are you inspired by the success of the Philippine DOT? As a Destination Marketing Organisation, you can create a similar campaign by following these steps:
- Identify your target group of destination ambassadors
In the case of the Philippines, these are the local people. Other groups that can serve as effective ambassadors too—for example, tourists who have visited the region in the past and have had a positive experience. Make these people the primary agents of tourism in your region or city. They are the ones who will walk the talk.
- Develop a campaign aimed to activate your ambassadors
Create a tool or claim a unique hashtag that can be used by your ambassadors to deliver their own input as marketeers. Visual material, such as pictures, usually have the most powerful effect on social media and a tool or hashtag can transform an otherwise unorganized group of people into a massive marketing machine. Tourism Australia replicated this by creating the Favourite Fan Photo campaign.
— Australia (@Australia) November 2, 2017
- Spread the word!
Market your campaign and facilitate input from your ambassadors. Give them a platform to post their own material and give feedback. Also involve the media, support your campaign through PR-activities, and your campaign is ready to blow up!
- The next step
While the steps above help you create a buzz about your destination, the next challenge is to actually get tourists to book their next trip to your country or region. Your follow-up campaign should be much more focused on a call-to-action leading them to the place where they can instantly book their next holiday!