Destination Marketing Takeaways for Public Relations

Have your recent web searches included “Flights to”? Ours have, and there’s a reason why, especially in January and February.

The mind wanders to enticingly unvisited corners of the map as a New Year approaches and travel plans begin to take shape. – Lonely Planet

So pack your bags– your travel destination has already been decided. Now it’s time to search for your upcoming flight, or a list of cheap tickets.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these are the top flight searches in the U.S., per Google Trends:

  • Flights to Vegas
  • Flights to Florida
  • Flights to Hawaii
  • Flights to Mexico

Those searches are mostly originating from the Northeast, including New York, and the top related search to “Flights to” is “Cheap Flights”.

So how do we already know where we are going? 

Enter destination marketers, and the lessons that PR Pros can learn from them. The goal of destination markets is to fill in the blanks after “Flights to” (or any method of travel) long before you’ve made the decision to book a flight, or hit the road.  This is mostly done through awareness, relationships, location (geography) and interest.


Build awareness around what you do best. Critical Mention is to Media Monitoring as Florida is to beaches.

As a PR professional, build awareness around how people feel about a particular message and location. Using sight, sound and motion, try telling your story with video. Make it personal with a variety of content types. AdWords for Videos allows advertising and public relations professionals to build awareness through promoted videos on YouTube. For example, Visit Florida has more than 12 million views on their YouTube channel. 


CVBs, or Convention and Visitors Bureaus, are in business for relationship building. Budgets are formed through matching government grants, tax funds and member fees, including hotel taxes (Hotel occupancy/transient taxes).

As a PR professional, similar value is found with diversified campaigns and contacts.  What value do you place on a media contact or source that frequently cites or includes your client?


Savvy search marketers have long-perfected geo-modified search terms (location based search, ie, Chicago hotel vs. hotel). By focusing their strategy on “what’s within driving distance,” they are able to prioritize daily tasks into impactful results.

 Long tail search data (3+ keyword searches), enables marketers and PR professionals, to easily position ads or ranked pages for relevant keywords. There’s lots of search volume for “best pizza in New York City”. Get creative in Search and Social. According to Google Trends, there were “trillions of searches” in 2014. There’s a lot of search volume and impression share out there for your campaigns. 

Interest Categories

For CVBs, increased visitors for conferences, events, and points of interest lead to “heads in beds” (hotel bookings) with increases in local business (restaurants, shopping, etc.).

You’ve painted a vivid story; Now it’s time to include some facts. What are the features and benefits that you are trying to convey? What are the differentiators of your brand? What makes you special?

Surveys help PR pros gather market research from a specific audience. Use those data-driven findings to help shape and improve your message. What is your audience interested in?

If you’ve never sent our a survey before, Try Google’s Consumer Surveys:


Happy travels (and relations)!