Tourism in the Midlands

Post Written by Allie Santorum, Chernoff Newman Intern

Oh, the places you’ll go… if you just stop long enough to explore.

If you were asked to think of your ideal vacation spot in the state of South Carolina, it is safe to
say most of us would choose one of our famous coastal destinations such as Charleston, Hilton
Head Island or Myrtle Beach. Being born and raised on the 12 mile island known as Hilton
Head, I can say with confidence that tourism on the coast is indeed booming and has driven the
economies of towns similar to my hometown for decades. But what about the other parts of our
state? What new marketing strategies are marketing specialists in South Carolina using to attract
tourists to places other than our breathtaking coast?

Well, just ask our tourism gurus Dr. Rich Harrill, Jayne Baker, Kim Jamieson and Kelly Barbrey.
With the world becoming increasingly digital, Public Relations practitioners must keep up in
their ever-changing field. Data analytics have made it possible for people who work the tourism
sphere of public relations to track the patterns of visitors in South Carolina. This vital tool
enables public relations practitioners to create marketing strategies based on patterns in the data
to serve tourists better.

In South Carolina specifically, the pattern of tourists visiting the coast has become so prevalent
that public relations practitioners have attempted to shift its tourism focus off of coastal hotspots,
and have started to highlight the hidden gems that can be found all around the state. Discover
South Carolina launched a “BBQ Trail Map” on their website that allows tourists and even
natives to explore over 250 of the best BBQ restaurants all over the state.

Another huge draw to the Palmetto State that people often overlook includes our 47 state parks
and 22 scenic lakes where visitors can spend the day hiking, biking, and fishing. I sometimes
forget how lucky I am to now live in an urban city such as Columbia and be able to drive 20
miles to end up surrounded by nature at Congaree National Park or spend one of our notoriously
hot Columbia days cooling off on Lake Murray.

In order to draw attention to these less known attractions, a new marketing strategy is being
implemented thanks our social media dominated world called “influencers.” Here are the main
things you need to know about this new trend:

  • The job of an influencer is to travel to a specific destination and document their experiences
    on social media in a way that would make their followers want to travel to the particular
  • Most of these influencers have a large following on their social media outlets that can range
    from 10,000 to 1,000,000 followers.
  • While this may look more like a free vacation and not a career, there is much more work that
    goes into being an influencer than just posting and tweeting.
  • Companies are looking for influencers who have extensive backgrounds in photography and
  • These companies can then use the content the influencer produces as an advertising tool to
    attract visitors to these destinations even after the influencer has left the destination.
  • Due to the fact that influencers are so new on the public relations scene, companies are using
    caution while working with them because there is currently no way to track their long term

Whether you are traveling from places close by like Atlanta and Charlotte, or even from far away
places like Ohio or Pennsylvania, there are always new and exciting places to be discovered in
South Carolina . . . if you just slow down long enough to explore.

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