Discovering places of all sizes has gotten easier in the last 20 years. When I was a kid, the best way to learn about or stumble upon a new place was through one of three mediums: a serendipitous encounter on an unpredictable road trip, a friend beaming about a recent expedition, or a brand with an established presence (think New York City, San Francisco or New Orleans).
Place branding has seen monumental transformation since Baby Boomers traversed Route 66. We now have the capability to “try before we buy,” or experience a place well before we actually plan a trip. Places are exceptionally shrewd and witty too, crafting marketing messages and taglines we simply cannot unsee or forget. Think about “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” or “Virginia is for Lovers.” These clever remarks help us create visions of places that we remember. What’s more is that on websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and other online travel research platforms, it is now easier than ever to digitally explore places before succumbing to persuasive marketing and embarking on a journey.