August 20, 2019
By Cvent Guest

Beyond genius. Those are the words to describe the writers behind Las Vegas’ famous and oft-repeated tagline, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” Who hasn’t succumbed to the wiles and wild ways of Sin City? That simple tagline means so much, in so many different ways, to all of us who have ever stepped foot in one of Vegas’ illuminating casinos, danced 'til the morning hours at a packed nightclub, or simply lost track of time gambling away at a poker table. In other words, this slogan makes people reminisce about a carefree vacation experience. And, ultimately, with a renewed wanderlust for their next Vegas getaway.

A brilliant destination travel marketing tagline like this takes work, and months of reflection, brainstorming, testing, editing, and finessing. The copywriters at R&R Partners, the firm that created the campaign, had rejected “If you go, you’ll know” and “Get in on the secret,” before settling on Las Vegas’ now famous seven words. If it’s time to add sizzle and impact to your CVB marketing tagline, follow these five hospitality brand messaging marketing tagline ‘don’ts’ from Eric Swartz, the Tagline Guru and president of Great Destinations.

Here's how to get your brand messaging right for city taglines:

1. Don’t be bland in your city's brand messaging.

Bland is boring. It’s as simple as that. And, I don’t know one person willing to travel to a place because it seemed boring. While it may not be offensive or too sexy, a bland tagline will not inspire or entice travelers either. Swartz suggests using uncommon words, altering tone or rhythm, or even breaking the grammar rules.

When brainstorming taglines, try telling your destination’s story in a clever, fun and memorable way with short and punchy combo of words. Example: The City That Never Sleeps – New York, NY. “That line perfectly conveys all the excitement and electricity that Manhattan represents to the entire world,” says Swartz. “It’s as brash and robust as the city it describes.”

Learn more about the best tools for marketing your city

2. Don’t imitate other destinations in city taglines.

It’s extremely difficult to be original and stand out from the crowd in destination marketing. But never lose sight of your unique selling position when working on your tagline. What is it that makes your city or state novel and unlike its neighbor or competitor?

Your tagline then must also be just as distinguished, in its language and how it sounds to others. Your tagline should be custom-created for your destination only, no matter how tempting it is to get influenced by other cities’ taglines. This is the most powerful effect of Las Vegas’ slogan. Search the globe, and no one could mistake that slogan for any other city in the world. Your tagline should reflect your city’s affinity, personality and character.

Example: Always Turned On – Atlantic City, NJ Not to be outdone by Las Vegas, and to stay away from being copycats, the writing team behind Atlantic City’s came with their own compelling and sultry tagline. Unfortunately, after eight years, the city council voted to reinstate their original tagline that they held on for 100 years – “The World’s Famous Playground.”

3. Don’t be a cliché in your city taglines.

Try to avoid words that are terribly overused by other destinations or businesses, such as using “the heart of” to label your city. While everyone may know the meaning behind these words and phrases, it can easily crawl into the ‘bland and boring’ category. If it’s been done before, and over and over, don’t use it. Swartz recommends that businesses should avoid the word, “unique,” or you’ll end up being unique like everyone else.

4. Don’t be too literal in your brand messaging.

Taglines that inspire individual interpretation, double-meanings or even a little irony have the most appeal. When you create a slogan that has an obvious meaning, it will be one-dimensional and will fall flat with your audience. Remember, your tagline should inspire wanderlust and invoke the thought of travel adventures. Using a tagline, such as “Village By the Lake,” offers nothing to really sell a trip to this destination, and instead falls to its most obvious trait. It’s boring, uninspiring and won’t book rooms.

However, changing the tagline to “Rediscover Lakeside Luxuries” makes people wonder what’s in store for them at your destination and could mean so many things – boutique shopping, upscale restaurants, cafes, bookstores, boating opportunities, etc.

For example: The Sweetest Place on Earth – Hershey, PA Does this pertain to its main attraction? The friendly demeanor of its residents? The “sweet” collection of things to do and see there? That’s for you to find out.

5. Don’t be depressing in branded city taglines.

No need to be a master comedian to garner smiles and grins from your tagline. Just don’t take your tagline too seriously. They are not set in stone and can be re-imagined after a few years. Give your tagline some spunk and loads of personality, just stay true to your brand. Swartz said the most enduring taglines have a humorous edge.

“They have an ability to reveal a disarming universal truth to which everyone can relate,” Swartz said. Example: Keep Austin Weird – Austin, TX To showcase its liberal and progressive philosophy from everything from arts and culture to social issues, this slogan has moved beyond a mere slogan and now reflects the dynamics that encompass Austin.

Now you're ready to create the best brand messaging for your city taglines

Up next, check out Cvent's Top 100 Most Popular Meeting Resorts. Or learn more about messaging strategy for destinations.

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