You Don’t Have to Host the Olympics to get People to Visit Your City

This year Sochi, Russia is taking center stage for the 22nd Winter Olympics. As the host of this major worldwide event, the city will become a household name and its history, culture and attractions will become featured news leading up to and throughout the month of February. No doubt their Convention and Visitors Bureau was doing the happy dance since the announcement way back in 2007.

Fret not, non-Sochi CVBs, you don’t have to host the Olympics to get people to visit your city. Take some cues from Olympic marketing to win big with potential tourists.

Gold Medal Marketing Cue #1: Grow Brand/City Interest

How many of you had heard of Sochi prior to this year? My guess is not many, but the city and the Olympic committee have been working hard to create interest in the city and grow the brand. From traditional to digital media, Sochi has created a groundswell of curiosity. Sochi has become interesting because people have made it interesting. There have been controversies, stories of Olympic hopefuls, and plenty of media buzz.

There is no doubt that your city is just as interesting as Sochi. You simply need to transfer the beauty and charm of your city into creative content and push it into the world (via the internet). It’s not as hard as it may sound. Share stories of your community champions on social media, post recipes of local dishes on Pinterest, show off your starry nights on Instagram, and blog about upcoming events. Get out there and make some noise about what makes your city great.

Gold Medal Marketing Cue #2: Enhance Brand/City Image

Sochi has been planning for its worldwide debut since 2007, which means they’ve had a lot of time to build phenomenal event structures, clean up their streets and polish up their image.

Enhancing your city’s image doesn’t require that you build Olympic stadiums of architectural wonderment or engage in seven years of planning. It does however require that you are authentic and that what you say to grow interest matches what you actually do in your city. As hard as it might be, it’s also important to forget about the past and think about the now: how can you make your city the best it can be this year?

Gold Medal Marketing Cue #3: Increase Brand/City Value

Although Sochi as a whole is getting a lot of love, they couldn’t have done it without community participation. The retailers, citizens and businesses throughout the city are benefiting from the Olympics and they all most work hand-in-hand to make it a positive experience.

Working together with the retailers, restaurants, hotels, attractions and citizens of your community will help create a shared understanding of what’s important and organically drive value up. Offering support, evolving with the times and paying attention to the little details (not just the big ones) shows that the city values its residents and its visitors.

Now that the training is done, go forth and champion your city to be the best that it can be – with or without an Olympic venue.