Insider Exclusive: Are You Making Memorable Marketing Impressions?

Insider Exclusive: Are You Making Memorable Marketing Impressions?

These five ABA members are!

By Shebby Lee


One of my jobs as an industry observer is to keep up with travel trends—what’s working, what isn’t, and how destinations, travel suppliers, and tour operators are promoting themselves these days. I really appreciate how innovative these messages can be in inspiring visitors to travel and, in some cases, stretch their comfort zone.

As a tour planner, I see a lot of travel videos and listen to a lot of pitches within the course of a year, so after 40 years in the travel business, you might think I’ve seen it all. Not so. My colleagues just keep raising the bar, and these marvelous examples from five ABA members illustrate my point. 

There are so many good campaigns, in fact, that it is hard to single out just a few. For every one that I’m sharing here, there are probably 10 others just as good that I haven’t seen yet! These five marketing campaigns are in no particular order (it was hard enough to narrow them down to five!).

Richmond, Va.: History with a Twist
(Richmond Region Tourism, Richmond, Va. | ABA)

This email landed in my mailbox courtesy of, and I was very impressed. I especially like that it includes a bulleted list of ideas for first-timers and even more ideas for repeat visitors. It includes flushed out itineraries (a real bonus for stressed tour planners) and photos of living history re-enactors and historic sites for the sizzle. Quality photos showcasing your area and attractions are a must! The TourOperatorLand site provides royalty-free digital photos, videos, group-friendly offers such as including local step-on guides, and many other helpful tour planning aids.

North Dakota Tourism’s Award-Winning Josh Duhamel Campaign
(North Dakota Tourism, Bismarck, N.D. | ABA)

This campaign is a piece of inspired advertising. North Dakota native and professional actor Josh Duhamel’s love and enthusiasm for his home state is palpable in the integrated media campaign as it is designed around his unique personality. Consisting of many videos, print, and collateral media, the campaign earned an armful of Addy Awards from the North Dakota American Advertising Federation in 2016, including Best of Show.

Colorado Springs: Elevate Your Adventure 
(Colorado Springs CVB, Colorado Springs, Co. | ABA)

The thing that struck me the most about the Colorado Springs Elevate Your Adventure popular print ad campaign was the juxtaposition of “real people” with a jaw-dropping scenic backdrop. (It didn’t hurt that one of my tour directors was in the picture. Even with her back to the camera, I recognized her instantly!) However, it was the happy passengers getting off the bus at one of the many photo ops in Garden of the Gods that captured me. This full-page ad appeared in many travel trade magazines, including ABA’s Destinations (May–June 2015).

Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism
(Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism, St. John’s, Newfoundland/Labrador | ABA)

This year, Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary of independence, and the country is rolling out the welcome mat for visitors. Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism on the Atlantic Coast represent a scenery-lover’s paradise, and their DMOs know exactly how to showcase it to attract visitors, using videos to their fullest. I was blown away by the natural beauty, coastline, and history of the region as showcased in their outstanding short videos. Bet you can’t watch just one!

Missouri History Museum
(Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, Mo. | ABA )

There is an awful lot happening at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, and it is reflected in their growing admission figures. For the past three years, attendance has averaged 471,789, when previously it had never topped 400,000. Apparently, the American Alliance of Museums has noticed: In May, the Missouri History Museum received the inaugural award for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. The museum has made great strides in promoting and utilizing their collection more effectively (including making heretofore unrelated connections work in unique ways) and sponsors many on-site and citywide events throughout the year. Admission to the museum is free.

All promotional ads and videos are used by permission.

Historian and writer Shebby Lee owns Shebby Lee Tours Inc. of Rapid City, S.D. Her tours focus on the history and cultural heritage of the West. To contact Lee, visit

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)