Insights for Destination & Leisure Marketers

Re-branding Your Destination to Include Accommodations: A Lesson from Universal

Re-branding Your Destination to Include Accommodations

When you think of theme parks, no doubt you think of the big guys: Disney, Universal, Six Flags, etc. Now think of theme parks that include a full family resort experience. Most likely, there’s one that’s miles ahead: Disney. This leader-of-the-pack status is exactly what Universal is trying to shake up with its new “I’m Ready” campaign.  It’s a powerful message directed at parents: because you’ve done a good job, your kids are ready for more – just as they should be. They’re getting too old for old for the mouse and mature enough for a more thrilling park experience.

But up until now, families viewed Disney as the place to stay, and Universal a side trip. Hence, the even bigger re-branding push from Universal – originally known as Universal Studios and Universal Resorts separately. The problem? Separate names disconnected the brand. Universal seemed like a place to spend a day and not a full-fledged resort experience. Under their new name, Universal Parks & Resorts, the message is clear: this is a place to plan a full family vacation with accommodations and something for everyone.

A Place To Stay – The Big Trend, Even for Small Destinations

Focusing on accommodations is a trend that’s not just for the heavy-hitters. Colleen Mangone, director of media relations of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, said in a recent interview with Travel Pulse:

“2017 should see a continuation of a recent trend of parks adding hotels, which provide guest convenience and allow for a multi-day visit.”

Smaller theme parks and attractions can take a lesson from Universal. Ramp up your marketing efforts on your existing accommodations, or if it’s part of your growth plan, consider adding some. If providing onsite accommodations isn’t in the cards, partner with nearby hotels and restaurants for special promotions. This encourages visitors not only to come, but to stay awhile and spend more money at your attraction. Even adding a connecting shuttle service from major transportation hubs translates to major convenience for your potential customers. Bringing accommodations into your branding and marketing can translate from a day’s worth of business to a long weekend or even a full week. And the longer the stay, the higher the revenue. Need help with rebranding your destination? We can help you with that.