tourism & city branding

Major sport events: Making maximum use of place branding opportunities

Aug 17, 2017

Smart Cities & Sport is happy to publish an excerpt of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation publication “Maximizing the Benefits of Mega Events for Tourism Development.”

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Smart Cities & Sport is happy to publish an excerpt of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation publication “Maximising the Benefits of Mega Events for Tourism Development”. The entire publication includes practical references on what a host destination can do to fully leverage the event opportunity for tourism development with a variety of illustrative cases. Although the report refers to insights from mega events, the practical references can be applied to any scale of events in any destination. The publication is available for cities to purchase here.

Branding & Image

“A mega event draws a significant level of global attention to the host city or country, and substantial media coverage, not only of the event itself but also of the host destination, is expected. Therefore, many host destinations try to make maximum use of the event for branding and awareness raising. A destination with a brand image that is already known can strengthen its positioning. A host less known to the world can display its attractions and hospitality in order to put itself on the global tourist map and establish its brand. Furthermore, a host destination can take the opportunity to change its traditional image if it wishes.

Enhanced branding or a successful change of the destination’s image results in an increase in the number of visitors and spending by them, and a favourable shift in visitor demand, timing or segments. It may open up new markets. It brings about positive impacts not only for leisure tourism, but also for the meetings industry. Meetings are pursued by many destinations at a time of fierce competition in global tourism. A host destination needs to decide what kind of image it wants to establish and show it effectively through the media, social networks and on-site to potential and actual visitors.

Whatever campaign is developed leading up to and during the event, branding and promotion need to be continued after the event to fully leverage it and sustain awareness. It is important to measure the image of the destination before and after the event in main segments/markets to assess the impact of the event in terms of image.

London Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 – The GREAT campaign – various themes under one tagline

“The GREAT campaign”, the United Kingdom’s massive cross-governmental initiative, was launched over the period 2011–2015 in order to attract visitors to the country by leveraging the London 2012 Olympic Games as a catalyst. The fundamental aims of this multi-million pound campaign were to: “build awareness of Britain’s attractiveness as a tourism destination among those who have not yet visited Britain, encourage prior visitors to return, provide a series of opportunities and incentives – working in partnership with the private sector – to visit Britain now”. It was executed through a vast range of public and private partnerships under the leadership of VisitBritain as the leading national tourism organization.

In June 2011, VisitBritain launched a global TV advertising campaign. A series of advertisements and short films featured British celebrities, including Dame Judi Dench, Jamie Oliver and Lennox Lewis, each offering warm and personal invitations to the United Kingdom. The BBC provided a platform for those advertisements to be shown on TV and digital channels around the world. In September 2011, VisitBritain ran a series of stunts in ten cities around the world using 3D artwork to highlight special offers from its ten major commercial partners, such as British Airways, American Express and Yahoo!.

In partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the first phase of VisitBritain’s GBP 25 million tourism awareness campaign commenced in February 2012, across fourteen cities in nine countries: Paris, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Melbourne, Sydney, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Mumbai and Delhi. This GREAT image campaign included: New York subway trains wrapped in the Union Flag, Grand Central Station filled with GREAT Britain images, Metro newspapers in Sao Paulo wrapped with the invitation to visit Britain, and 100 GREAT branded taxis in Delhi. In order to offer a warm welcome to visitors on the first step of their journey to the country, VisitBritain cooperated with the Border Agency, airports and the Airports Operators Association. The activities to create a welcoming environment for visitors included branding 15 visa application centres across the world with GREAT Britain images and seven airports displaying GREAT images.

During the Games, VisitBritain hosted 14 GREAT Britain media events, each featuring one of the seven GREAT Britain themes: culture, heritage, sport, music, countryside, food and shopping. Additionally, VisitBritain’s partnership with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Government allowed GREAT branding to be embedded in free media advertising sites in selected Olympic venues.

Immediately after the Games came to an end, VisitBritain launched “Memories are GREAT Britain”, its GBP 13.5 million marketing push with airlines, hotels and tour operators, offering special deals to travellers. Its TV commercial was re-edited with Games content under the theme “Memories are GREAT Britain”.

Furthermore, corresponding to the release of the 23rd James Bond movie in October 2012, “Skyfall”, VisitBritain launched its first ever film tourism campaign worldwide, “Bond is GREAT Britain”. Capitalizing on the global fascination with James Bond, this extensive campaign in 21 countries encouraged 007 fans to visit Britain. The “Bond is GREAT” campaign included not only press, digital, and outdoor advertising, but also filmed tourism advertisements shown on the screen of cinemas in key inbound markets, such as Australia, Brazil, Germany and the United States of America. With the subsequent release of the next James Bond film in 2015, “Spectre”, VisitBritain once again utilized 007’s iconic international profile with the GREAT image to showcase Britain to global audiences.

VisitBritain has continued to leverage the GREAT image in a wide range of areas, including the “Football is GREAT” campaign in partnership with the Premier League, and “Sounds of GREAT Britain”, which portrayed the rich diversity of Britain. In response to the success of the GREAT campaign, in December 2013 the Government provided an additional GBP 90 million, supporting the campaign until 2016.”

Other examples from the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games 2016, the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, the New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2011 and Poland-Ukraine UEFA EURO 2012 are presented in the UNTWO Report.

United Nations World Tourism Organisation publication “Maximising the Benefits of Mega Events for Tourism Development”. The publication is available to purchase here.

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