I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s all too often a disconnect between what destination marketers promise in a destination brand, and what the on-the-ground experience is for visitors. To put it politely, some of these promises can be more aspirational rather than deliverable!
But in my destination management experience, I’ve learnt a highly effective and visible way of showcasing your destination character on the ground. The trick is to introduce (and if necessary, subsidize) an iconic transportation mode to the busiest part of your destination, e.g. along the main street, the river, or the waterfront. And when I say iconic, I mean it should be so distinctive that it distinguishes your destination from the next. Of course, it also needs to be authentic to your destination brand. The effect is this:
- Transportation visually creates movement and movement – essential elements for bringing a place or a space to life
- Your distinctive mode of transport (e.g. horse-and-carriage, tuk tuk, bumboat, trishaw or tram) can be a highly visual and colorful means of telling your destination story
- The speed at which your transportation mode travels can be slightly disruptive to the surrounding flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic – and this is a great thing if you want people to stop and pay attention! Think of it as a moving billboard for your destination. Or the equivalent of a theme park mascot.
- Stimulates all the senses, creating more memorable experiences for locals and visitors. A passing horse-and-carriage, for example, activates all your senses – sight, sound, and even smell!
Continue reading here for a collection of places I’ve visited where the local transportation mode is etched in my memory as a colorful and inseparable part of the destination character.