100 Years of Advancing Destinations

The Rise of Local Destination Video

Author: Guest Greg Oates
Posted: September 22, 2015
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The following article is section of DMAI’s e-book The Evolving Role of DMOs in a Shifting Marketplace. To read the entire e-book, click here


In 2015, DMOs are developing more video content for the meetings and leisure markets, both in terms of promotional content marketing for consumers and advocacy messaging for the local trade. More specifically, destination marketers are profiling a growing amount of local citizens who provide what’s deemed among consumers to be more authentic insight into the destination experience.

For example, Visit Anaheim is communicating to stakeholders the impact of meetings and conventions on the city’s quality of living with its year-old “Faces of Tourism” video series, highlighting people employed in hospitality and tourism. In one of the videos, Judy Hamrick is a veteran catering captain at the Anaheim Convention Center. She says, “I’ve raised three kids and they had braces and they went to school and they were able to play sports, and tourism has helped provide the finances to do that.”

The Faces of Tourism videos have an authentic delivery, but at the same time they communicate a direct message about the economic value of tourism at a very personal level.

“We wanted to kind of humanize our industry,” says Jay Burress, president and CEO of Visit Anaheim. “We are a big part of our community and we’re a big part of economic development, and we should not shy away from that.”

Likewise in Indiana, Visit Bloomington felt an urgent responsibility during the “religious freedom” legislation debacle in early 2015 to get the message out that Bloomington welcomes all people. The DMO filmed half a dozen gay and straight local small business owners; Mike McAfee, executive director of Visit Bloomington; and others who emphatically described how their city is open for business for everyone.

“We created a video where our social content coordinator went around town and got small clips from people like the mayor and editor of the local newspaper, and key people located within our community,” says Erin Erdmann, director of convention sales & travel media. “We uploaded that and we pushed that information out to communicate that Bloomington has always been a welcoming place. I think that was something that definitely showed us taking a risk in regards to something that was very hotly debated and very much a touchy subject.”

When asked how the DMO team felt when it was first released, Erdmann says, “It was kind of scary but it was awesome because it was something that our colleagues really kind of supported each other on, and we were willing to take the risk because we knew the reward would be so great. Our local industry partners were really appreciative and thankful that we actually put ourselves out there.”

Mary DeGroat, marketing manager at See Monterey in California, says her DMO’s video content is aligned with the destination’s recently developed “Grab Life By The Moments” tagline. One way how that brand promise is delivered, the “My Monterey Moments” video series profiles residents like Jeffrey Weiss, executive chef at Jeninni Kitchen, and Matt Glazer, executive chef at Big Sur Roadhouse, who talk about the quality of cuisine in Monterey from fine dining in Carmel to a small taqueria in Seaside.

“I think people are coming around to this idea that it's not inspiring to talk about the features of a destination all the time, like the X number of hotels and restaurants, and how we've got this, that and the other,” says DeGroat. “But what are the moments to be had in the destination that invigorate your soul?”

In another one of the 12 Moments videos, Gill Campbell, CEO of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, gives a shout out to her favorite English brewpub. 

“These are people who have interesting perspectives to share because they’ve lived here for so long,” says DeGroat. “So it goes back to the authenticity about what the locals do, and where their favorite places are to go, and what they feel are some of their most memorable moments that Monterey offers.”

In Arizona, Visit Phoenix produced one of the best destination videos this year with chef Silvana Salcido Esparza at Barrio Cafe in downtown Phoenix. The video does an excellent job establishing the emotional and creative vibe of the emerging downtown district that differentiates it from the famous resorts at the city’s periphery.

“We’re really proud of that video, and Silvana is an amazing ambassador for downtown Phoenix and all of the new energy that’s developing there,” says Melissa Gogel, VP of marketing at Visit Phoenix.

Explaining that Phoenix is aggressively targeting the meetings market, she asserts that videos like the edgy Barrio Cafe spot absolutely resonate with next generation meeting planners.

“I've always viewed a meeting planner as a consumer first and foremost,” says Gogel. “So I feel like our inspirational type of marketing and advertising does appeal to a meeting planner, because they first have to be inspired or interested in a destination to even start thinking about it.”