What does it take? Creating a successful tourism ambassador program may seem complicated from the outlook. But if take a step-by-step approach, it’s not as difficult as you expect. Here’s The Tourism Academy's proven and certified formula:
What do you aim to accomplish from the program? Here, you should list or determine the following:
The budget you can afford to dedicate to the program
The number of tourism ambassadors you want to certify
The kinds of destination marketing organization (DMO) or convention and visitors bureau (CVB) to ambassador engagements
The volume of posts required for you to hit your goals
The volume and quality of content you want your ambassadors and visitors to share
The increase in new visitors, contracts and sales that you expect to gain
How do you plan to deliver incentives to the tourism ambassadors certified? The three most common strategies for incentivizing your certified ambassadors include:
Upfront reoccurring incentives– where you reward them on a regular basis in advance using experiences, cash, gift cards, and/or products. This is the best option when you want your ambassadors to create original content about your brand and products and feel like they are an extension of your team.
Incentives after post or activity– this is where you give your ambassadors experiential direction and a program (volunteer or employee) schedule then reward them on a per-activity or social post basis. This option is usually recommended for long-term collaborations where you’re still feeling out the ambassador's value.
After activity + bonus payment– this involves giving your ambassadors a goal (hours volunteered, people served, experiences had) to hit over a certain time period (like the holidays) and then monitoring their participation and performance. This option can be a win/win partnership for a influencer that converts and a destination with popular products.
Every destination has unique experiences, goals and objectives, making it challenging to find a one-fits-it-all tourism ambassador model. However, you can decide whether an ambassador under consideration is the right fit if:
They've volunteered to participate
They’ve used your brand’s hashtags or shown love for your destination repeatedly
They’ve engaged in similar campaigns previously and performed impeccably
They have a large and active online audience
Their engagement rate is above average for their following
The next step is announcing the opening program and/or position and finding potential candidates. If you’re already running an influencer, volunteer or staffed front-line program, we suggest asking your high-impact, top-performing influencers first since they’ve already been exposed to your destination marketing organization, its culture and objectives. After selecting your preferred destination ambassadors, the on-boarding process begins. This involves sharing your:
Brand needs and expectations
What your ambassadors will receive in return
Compensation, rewards and/or incentives
Shout outs on your brand pages
Consumer insights and research
Marketing campaign calendar
Below are our recommended best practices for communicating with your ambassadors after launch:
Brief them regularly
Notify them of new products and offers first
Give them the liberty of creating social content and visitor interactions their way
Make them feel like an extension of your in-house team
Ask for their feedback on your destination and its products/initiatives
Send them curated gift packages with items like:
After getting your tourism ambassador certification program up and running, the next step is measuring its success by revisiting your KPIs and comparing them with real-time performance.
Watch indicators such as:
Your brand’s following and other social metrics like engagement
Your website or e-commerce traffic
Visitor, meeting and convention volume year over year for the period
You can leverage performance analysis tools likeBrandwatchto gauge the overall impact of your certified ambassadors’ and visitors' posts and comments. What’s more, you can conduct tourism ambassador surveys to gain feedback regarding crucial factors like incentives, communication, program execution, etc. This can give you ideas of what adjustments you want to make to the program going forward.
Ambassador programs are all about creating long-term relationships with your community. When your influencer’s audience sees your brand’s content repeatedly over the long-term, your company begins to grow exponentially, both in sales and awareness. Isn’t that every business owner’s dream?
Bonus: Who are your stakeholders?
Bring destination stakeholders into alignment to support tourism:
Tourism Ambassadors from all possible market sectors come together to create a full visitor experience. Destinations, both big and small, can align these sectors successfully because each benefits from a positive visitor experience! Here are just a few of those who are positively impacted by your credentialed tourism ambassadors (CTA).
Transportation hubs like Airports, Rail Stations, Bus Depots, etc.
Community & Workforce Development / Economic Development
Schools & Higher Education- colleges, universities, community colleges
Medical Facilities- Urgent Care Centers & Hospitals
Lodging & Hotels- home rentals, beds & breakfast, RV parks, hotels, etc.
Bars, Clubs, Lounges & Nightlife
Real Estate and Reinvestment Firms
Places to Dine- coffee shops, restaurants, classy joints and local favorites
Commercial Real Estate- malls, downtown alliances, retailers, districts, etc.
EventFacilities- convention center, arena, theaters, concert halls, sporting events
Modes of Transport- Uber, Lyft, taxi, cab, shuttle, public transit, local trolly, limo, motorcoach
Tourism Promoters - Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO), Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), Chambers of Commerce & Community Economic Development Groups
Everyoneelse- Tourism Spending benefits every local person and entity through reduced taxes and economic development, including local banks, corporations, etc.
Need help aligning your community, finding tourism ambassadors or designing your tourism ambassador program?Contact ustoday and our expert team will be happy to help you get the results you’re looking for. Cheers!