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    4 August 2023

    Film Tourism as a Destination Marketing Tool: Tips for Your Hotel

    Film tourism tips

    2023 is proving to be a great year for tourism, with several travel trends coming to the forefront. 

    In our recent posts, we recommended catering to solo female travellers, as well as incorporating AI tech in the travel sector. Now, it's time to focus on another major travel trend that has gained popularity over the past few years.

    Film tourism, also known as screen tourism or set-jetting, refers to the phenomenon of people choosing holiday destinations based on locations seen in films or TV shows

    As a hotelier, it's essential to understand this increasing trend, considering the abundance of films and TV shows filmed and broadcasted every year.

    Learn more about film tourism, how it benefits the travel sector, the main destinations for tourists, and how you can make the most of it. Keep reading!
     

     

     

    A Major Trend: Understanding Film Tourism

    With countless destinations to choose from, it’s vital to make your property’s location stand out from the competition. One way to achieve this is to leverage it with the help of TV shows and films.

    TV shows and films can significantly raise the profile of the city or country where the story is set. This exposure can extend beyond the specific location, benefiting regions, hotels, theme parks, and other attractions associated with the show or film. 

    Tourists often seek to identify with their idols, favourite scenes, or visit the exact spots where the cast filmed. Screen tourism offers a unique opportunity to experience the emotions and sensations lived while watching a film or TV show, making it a fantastic way to connect with the history and culture of a place, which is what happened with the popular TV show Outlander and Scotland

    The rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO and Disney+ has made audiovisual content even more widely available to a global audience, contributing to the popularity of screen tourism. Locations featured in films can motivate tourists to visit these spots, transforming them into popular destinations.

    Benefits of Film Tourism for Hoteliers

    Film tourism serves as a powerful destination marketing tool. Visual content plays a crucial role in increasing visibility in front of millions of potential travellers. 

    The great amount of content available through streaming platforms has led to a significant increase in people visiting places they've previously seen on screen.

    As a hotelier, capitalising on film tourism is a good strategy to achieve:

    • Increased occupancy: Hotels in areas featured in popular films or TV programmes receive a higher influx of visitors eager to stay close to filming locations.
       

    • Higher room rates: The popularity of a location due to film tourism can justify an increase in room rates, especially during peak seasons or when film-related events take place, such as the Cannes Film Festival (France), or the Oscars (Los Angeles, USA).
       

    • Repeat business: Enthusiastic fans often return for multiple visits, or even recommend the accommodation to fellow fans, creating a loyal customer base.  
       

    • Year-round interest: Screen tourism tends to be evergreen, attracting fans throughout the year and maintaining a consistent stream of guests, even during off-peak seasons.
       

    • Increased revenue from ancillary services: Tourists engaged in film tourism often spend on additional services, such as guided tours, merchandise, and themed events. Hotels can tap into these revenue streams by offering tailored packages and experiences. At the same time, you can benefit from partnerships with local tour operators, film and production companies. This can also help expand the hotel’s visibility. 
       

    • Enhanced reputation and unique selling point (USP): A strong connection to screen tourism sets hotels apart from competitors and elevates their reputation when associated with popular films or TV shows. A hotel can end up being recognised as a unique destination, like what happened with The Stanley Hotel from The Shining.  

    8 Films And TV Shows That Have Boosted Tourism

    Overall, New Zealand, the US, the UK, Spain, France, India, Japan and Iceland are some of the most popular destinations for film tourism. Have a look at which films and TV shows have contributed to the growth of tourists. 

    Game of Thrones & House of the Dragon

    Both TV shows are great examples of significant contributions to tourism in recent years. 

    Their influence was huge, and many places benefited from it. A clear example can be found in Dubrovnik (Croatia), which is the real-life location of King’s Landing, frequently seen in the show. Another good example can be sunny Spain, which hosted many sets, such as Girona (Catalonia) or San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Basque Country)

    Iceland also received a great influx of visitors. For example, bookings to this country increased by 166% in 2019 when the last season premiered.

    Bridgerton & Queen Charlotte

    As one of the most successful Netflix productions, the Bridgerton series has significantly boosted tourism in the UK – mostly in Bath and London

    The popularity of the show has been so great that even the Tourist Board of Great Britain has published a dedicated article on its website to promote the Bridgerton filming locations. 

    The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit

    This is one of the best examples of screen tourism directly influencing a country’s tourism

    Despite the first of the films being released more than two decades ago, New Zealand keeps attracting screen tourism, making this an ‘evergreen’ source of income for the country. As a curiosity, these tourists (known as ‘Tolkien tourists’) have a long-term impact that brings millions of dollars to New Zealand’s economy each year.

    Harry Potter films

    They're another great example of how a country can take the opportunity to capitalise on a film series. 

    Not only have the locations increased their visitor numbers exponentially – Alnwick Castle, home to Hogwarts, receives more than 800,000 visitors every year –, but they have also inspired dedicated theme parks like the ‘Studio Tour London’. 

    On average, the filming locations experienced a 50% growth in tourism after their release. 

    Braveheart

    Finally, we have this clear example of film tourism impact, which took the Wallace Monument in Scotland from 80,000 visitors per year to 180,000 after the film’s release. 

    Tips for Hoteliers to Capitalise on Screen Tourism 

    Regardless of the size of your property, there are various ways to take advantage of the increasing screen tourism trend. It’s all about creativity and thinking about how you can make the most of it!

    • Contact and collaborate with film productions: Keep track of upcoming film or TV show productions in your area by getting in touch with the local film commission.

      Film commissions are public organisations that promote a specific destination as a filming location for audiovisual productions and promote film tourism. Many cities –  and countries – have theirs, and they highly contribute to pitch their locations to be part of a film or TV show.

      Try to collaborate with the production teams and offer your property as a potential filming location, or provide accommodation for crew members. If you get to do it, you’ll gain fame, and you can even turn your hotel into another touristic destination in the future. 
       

    • Contact Tourism Boards: Discover actions already implemented to promote film tourism in your area, and actively promote any filming locations near your property. 

      For example, in Barcelona there’s the ‘Barcelona Movie Walks’ website with all the tours available related to famous films and TV shows filmed in the city.

      In Italy, many Tourism Boards promote screen tourism through their online channels, such as their blogs. You can reach them and ask to be mentioned in their articles. 
       

    • Leverage social media: Share content related to film tourism on your hotel's social media platforms, engaging with your followers and being part of the conversation. 

      Include, for example, behind-the-scenes facts about productions filmed in your area. It’s essential to communicate it through your social channels, so that you let people know what happened here and increase their interest in visiting the place. 
       

    • Offer themed rooms and packages: If a well-known film or TV series was filmed near your property, consider offering themed rooms and packages inspired by the production. You can decorate the rooms with props or posters related to the productions.

      As for the packages, you can include guided tours to nearby filming locations. An example could be the Studio London Tour - The Making of Harry Potter. 
       

    • Offer Guided Tours: If your property is close to multiple filming locations, consider offering guided tours exclusively for your guests to enhance their screen tourism experience.
       

    • Celebrate film festivals: Actively participate in film festivals hosted in your city and promote your hotel's association with the film industry. Offer special discounts or packages during these events to attract attendees. Organise private transport to the venue for your guests and enhance their stay. 

      Certainly, as screen tourism continues to shape the new tourism industry, it's essential to stay updated on the latest trends and cater to the needs of today's travellers.

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