Frederic Gonzalo’s Blog

Finding the right tagline for a travel destination

Summarizing a brand promise in just a few word, or finding the right tagline, is certainly one of the most complicated tasks any travel marketing expert or publicist can ever come across. Having gone through this process very recently – in fact, I am still in the midst of it – I wonder how come some companies get it while others fail miserably at giving us, in just those few words, the essence of their customer promise.

In the travel industry in particular, it seems we are quite often plain and unoriginal. I took these few examples from a database of slogans for Tourism Boards, just for illustration purposes.

There’s no place like Hong Kong

Well, no, indeed there isn’t. And that can be said about pretty much every destination and place in the world. How is Hong Kong unique? This tagline doesn’t say.

There’s no place like it

This was (still is?) the slogan for Tourism New South Wales, Australia. Geographically, it’s pretty close to Hong Kong, ain’t it? 🙂

Uniquely Singapore

Personally, I think they should have gone with “There’s no place like Singapore”…

Philippines. More than the usual

Not too sure what to make of this one…

There are various slogans being used in the USA for cities, states and destination management organizations (DMO), some better than others. I recommend you read this blog post on the topic, it paints a pretty good picture all in all.

So while we are on the topic, allow me to introduce my top 3 of destinations that found a tagline that actually works for them:

Keep Exploring

Any clue which destination uses this tagline? A country in Africa? Nope, actually this has been the official tagline for Canada since 2005. I actually like this tagline (well, yes, I am biased since I work in the Canadian tourism industry) as it invites travelers to come more than once, to visit different parts of the country, and to not only be a “tourist” but rather an “explorer”, which is much more engaging. You can explore in the urban settings of cities like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, or you can explore the Great Outdoors, in Yukon or in any of Canada’s National Parks.

Britain. You’re invited

Love this slogan, used by Visit Britain on its website, blog and corporate communications. Simple, to the point. No need to say what you’ll see, or where it’s located. The important thing is you are invited, you should feel welcome to go there.

Incredible India!

This is certainly one of my favorites. The word incredible, the exclamation mark, tell you there’s awe and wonder to be seen and experience in this destination. Having been to India a couple of years ago, the word “incredible” certainly fits the bill for the various landscapes, the sheer madness of some big cities and the overall offer from this destination, its people and its travel icons.

So are there any recipes for success in finding the right tagline for your destination? I would say there are 3 fundamental elements that are required:

1. A good tagline states what sets you apart

In marketing, we like to refer to USP, or unique selling proposition. What’s unique about your product, your service, your hotel, your destination? When Vail Resorts uses a tagline such as “Like Nothing on Earth”, they are clearly setting themselves apart from other resorts, other mountains, other destinations. In the case of “Incredible India!”, a traveler can expect to experience things out of the ordinary.

2. A good tagline speaks emotions

The mother of all taglines remains “I Love New York”, not only because it’s simple, but because it appeals to the strongest emotion of all: love. It’s what I also like from the “Britain. You’re invited” slogan, as it connects with hospitality, the feeling of being welcome. Likewise, when someone reads “Canada. Keep Exploring”, it brings back the kid in you, take out the map and go on a treasure hunt in Prince Edward Island or in the cobblestone streets of Old-Quebec.

3. A good tagline is short and sweet

Have you noticed most taglines mentioned above have no more than 3 or 4 words? Most taglines that never stick fail on this aspect, but I will say that being catchy will only works so long as the above two points are in presence: you have a strong statement, speak on the emotional level, AND you’re catchy in 3-4 words.

What is your favorite destination tagline? Any elements missing you think ought to be mentioned?