Social media has taken over the world, making international marketing easier than ever. This means destination marketing organizations (DMOs) can reach the tourists who are most likely to travel to their destination, no matter how far away they are. The vast majority of European countries list the USA as their top travel destination. This is great news for American destinations. The first hurdle is already taken care of; you’ve got the attention of Europe. Now, you need to direct this general attention to your specific part of America. To start funneling this attention, you need to plan accordingly.
WHY DELVE INTO INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
The first question you might have as a DMO is, “why market my destination to European travelers?” There are many reasons.
First, despite what you might think to be obvious, it is generally cheaper to promote social media content abroad than it is to promote it within the United States. From one of our company’s own campaigns for a location in Utah, the cost per click (CPC) for the US was $.01 while in France it was $.005. There are a few reasons for the CPC difference between the US and abroad, but what’s important is that it’s generally true that targeting audiences in Europe is cheaper than targeting American audiences.
TOP OF THEIR LIST
As was already stated in the introduction, America is a top destination among most Europeans. It might not be immediately obvious to those who are born and raised in America, but the USA is one of the most desired countries to travel to. Perhaps this is because the culture is different and therefore appealing to Europeans, or because Europeans want to see different and unique landscapes. Maybe they want to visit the sights of their favorite movies and TV shows. Whatever the reason, Europeans are interested in traveling to America.
HOW TO DELVE INTO INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
As Brand USA’s helpful market profiles show, European travelers start planning their trips and booking travel three to five months in advance. Europeans also increase their travel between the months of April and October with the majority traveling in August and September. Destinations should begin marketing campaigns at the beginning of the year (Dec, Jan, Feb) to start catching the eye of travelers. This means that the international marketing campaign should be designed well before the beginning of the year so promotion can begin promptly.
FIND YOUR INTERNATIONAL SOUL MATE
Destinations should be aware of which nationality is most likely to respond to advertisements from the desired destination. For instance, all foreign travelers are drawn to the obvious big destinations, like New York and California, but travelers from the United Kingdom’s second-highest option is the mountain region (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming). Travelers from the United Kingdom also make up one of the largest groups of inbound travelers to the United States. With this information, destinations located in the mountain regions can begin to craft a campaign that will appeal to this market.
WOO YOUR INTERNATIONAL SOUL MATE
Going deeper into the research shows that 86% of travelers from the United Kingdom & Ireland went shopping on their previous visits to the US, 40% visited national parks, and the list goes on. Once you have established your baseline market, the data will show you what content to highlight in your campaign.
KEEP IN MIND USEFUL CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
When marketing to European travelers, some countries have slang, national holidays, and other cultural differences that you might not have been aware of. For example, Assumption Day is a national holiday in France. This holiday happens in August, which means it coincides with vacation from school and is an opportune time for French travelers to leave the country. The French also have a minimum of five weeks paid vacation by law. Slang and language differences are also important to keep in mind, especially when choosing a keyword phrase. Certain foreign countries use the word “holiday” the same way Americans use the word “vacation”; if you fail to identify differences like this, you will be at a disadvantage.
Cultural differences also includes the law. Make sure you are in compliance with the local laws concerning things like alcohol in the region you are targeting (for example, you cannot promote Facebook posts containing alcohol in any way to anyone under the age of 25 in Sweden).
TRANSLATE THE CONTENT
This last part might sound like the most difficult barrier to cross, but it doesn’t have to be. A side hustle that one can work on remotely is a hot commodity in the age of the internet. Websites like Translator’s Cafe or Upwork will help you to easily find a freelance translator to tackle your destination’s content.
To sum up, European audiences are already interested in coming to America and are cheaper to target. These qualities paired with each other create the perfect target audience. International marketing might look intimidating from afar, but with research and a few helpful tips, it’s perfectly do-able.