Posted: March 15th, 2022

Destination Branding Term Paper

Destination Branding


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All products require a “branding” effort to successfully compete for customers. Destination branding is about combining all the attributes associated with the place (i.e. its products, andservices from various industries such as agriculture, tourism, sports, arts, investment, technology, education, etc.) under one concept, whichexpresses a unique identity and personality of thedestination and differentiates it from its competition.Most importantly, branding requires a visionand mission about the destination and its futuresuccess. For example, the vision of “The Henry Ford” is that within a decade it will be the greatesthistory attraction in America, setting the standardsin this field for educational value, hospitality, and meaningful, memorable and satisfyingvisitor experiences that are related to its mission.


What is behind a brand and what does it take tocreate a brand? It is important to understand what brand means in order to better utilize itsmarketing potential. A brand is an accumulationof characteristics that form a destination’s imageand identity. In simple words, branding is a promise to the consumer, an expectation ofperformance and a mark of integrity andreputation (Travis, 2000). It builds up continuouslywithinreputation (Travis, 2000). It builds up continuouslyin the minds of the destination’s consumersand it is affected by experiences, memories (Deutsch and Real, 2002) and other visitors’ comments.A brand reflects all the destination productsand services, which are part of the destination’sidentity. A brand needs to have uniqueelements, which differentiate it from its competitorsand establish an image in the mind of theconsumer. After establishing an image, brandingcan further build upon other destination brandelements.


Destination branding is not just about the visualand verbal elements used in a logo or slogan. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) usually face challenges with selecting verbal elements toinclude in a brand name and tagline, as well as selectingvisual elements to use in a logo. However, branding is not only about these elements. It is about the philosophy and the values that form the brand. The verbal and visual elements of a destination brand should represent the values and identityof a destination and capture the perceptions of its visitors.The Department of Tourism and Marketing in Vermontembraces this approach and encourages alltheir partners to be consistent with the visitors’ conceptions, which are part of the brand and they are:beauty, peace, outdoor fun and great amenities. On their website,, they presen tthat “Vermont brand is not a logo, set of official colors, or a “look and feel” on advertising a website.The brand exists solely in the minds of the consumersand it encompasses their overall perceptions andattitudes of Vermont.” ( Whena brand is established in a consumer’s mind itcan trigger associations with smaller destinationswithin the area the brand represents.


But first there is a need to establish a consistent brand identity.For example, “The Henry Ford” brand is the umbrellabrand name for five different attractions in the samedestination. Although each attraction has its ownpositioning, promise, descriptor and tagline, all ofthem are consistently branded under one brand:”The Henry Ford.” The choice of this brand namewas based on research performed by the organizationas to how visitors perceived and referred to thedestination.In the case of a state, the brand name provides anumbrella for the state’s other destinations, as well asother business entities, which benefit from itsgreater exposure. For example, a shopping related business located in a primarily outdoor recreationdestination will benefit from the overall increase in traffic in the area caused by the overall attractiveness of the larger destination. A brand also relies onhow much the smaller entities in a destination embraceand support it in order to reinforce the brandidentity to the visitors and increase its reputation.




Anne-Marie d’Hauteserre Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 39, No. 3, 300-307 (2001)


Destination Branding: Concept and Measurement.” Derived


Destination Branding in a Hostile Environment. By: d’Hauteserre, Anne-Marie. Journal of Travel Research, Feb2001, Vol. 39 Issue 3, p300, 8p; (AN 4023818)


Destination branding in place: St. Louis


Destination Branding: Insights and Practices from Destination Management Organizations. By: Blain, Carmen; Levy, Stuart E.; Ritchie, J.R. Brent. Journal of Travel Research, May2005, Vol. 43 Issue 4, p328, 11p; DOI: 10. 1177/0047287505274646; (AN 16843924)


Deutsch, J. & T. Real. (2002). Just who doyour customers think you are? A guide tobranding your organization. Michigan MuseumsAssociation.successfulPrimaUpshaw, strategyTravis, D. (2000). Emotional branding: how successfulbrands gain the irrational edge. Roseville, CA:Prima Venture.


Developing a Genuine Destination Brand. Nation’s Cities Weekly, 5/9/2005, Vol. 28 Issue 19, p5, 2/6p; (AN 17116837)


Gartrell, R. (1988). Destination marketing for convention and visitor bureaus. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa.


Tourism branding – Contemporary Challenges for Nations, Regions and Cities


Destination Branding

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