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We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.

Our work in the Value of Tourism is closely related to our background in politics. We approach a Value of Tourism campaign in much the same way we would approach a political campaign, because, in actuality, that’s exactly what it is. All of the factors and components that go into a political campaign are the same as those that go into a Value of Tourism project.

The first question we ask any destination management organization (DMO) starting a Value of Tourism campaign is the same as we would ask somebody who is setting out to run for political office: “Who are your supporters?” We usually follow that up by saying that if you can’t put together a list of at least 100 people who will come out and support you, then you should probably abandon the campaign. You need to start off from a position of strength, with a list of people you know will act as your champions. At the same time, it is a good idea to come up with a list of people who are neutral to your aims and another one including people who might actively oppose you.

This approach represents a way of thinking that is more in line with public relations, government relations or corporate communications, than with conventional marketing. Most DMOs operate primarily in the sphere of marketing, so it can be a challenge to make this shift. It is an important step that needs to be consciously made after eliminating your assumptions and establishing your ‘why,’ and before you move forward to the next stage of your campaign planning process.

Listen to Episode 6 of our latest series of podcasts for tips on how to get political as you plan your Value of Tourism campaign. For more expert insights on marketing strategies, public relations, Value of Tourism and related topics, read our blog, listen to our podcast series from the beginning, or contact us.

Getting political