The Rise of Destination Marketing Through Movies and TV

by Vincent Trivett + Skift Team - Nov 2013

Skift Research Take

Entertainment inspires people to travel. The destinations where movies and television shows are filmed have the potential to attract film tourists with smart, timely marketing.

Report Overview

Film shoots have the power to elevate even completely banal places to unique experiences worthy of a visit.

Starring in a film has become a surefire way to boost tourism for a destination.

Tourism in New Zealand boomed following the Lord of Rings trilogy. The country launched a huge marketing campaign aimed at making the country synonymous with “middle-earth,” Air New Zealand painted its livery with Hobbit-themed images, and Hobbiton became one of the country’s most visited attractions.

VisitBritain similarly integrated tourism marketing efforts with the Bond film Skyfall, Virginia touted itself as the site of Lincoln’s filming, and North Carolina turned Hunger Games into an advertisement for its outdoors.

Now destination marketing organizations are realizing the trend and looking to convert the international attention a destination can draw from a movie or TV series into travel bookings.

However, many questions still remain for destination marketers who worry about a dark story plot painting a location in a negative light or who attempt to calculate an appropriate marketing investment for a brand new series.

Hotels, airlines, and restaurants all have the opportunity to benefit from film tourism if given the tools and information to connect the themes brought up in the story with their business offerings.

In the following report, we will cover what motivates travelers to visit a destination featured in a movie, how to manage the long-term relationship with a TV series, how to turn dark story plots into positive tourism bumps, how to tap into the themes made popular by recent films, and factors to consider before marketing begins.

We also highlight several case studies and the lessons that destination marketing organizations can learn from them. Finally, we outline 8 marketing initiatives and 12 key takeaways from the report.