Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that describes what makes your tourism experience special and unique and explains what you offer that is different from others in the market. You can use your USP as the marketing tool to help sell your product. A good USP is compelling and memorable.

Your USP can help guide your marketing activities, from your branding to imagery and videos and the tone of voice you use in your copy.

Identify your USP

Creating your USP can require a bit of soul searching. A good way to start is to try and think like your customers, then go through the suggestions below:

  • List the features that make your tourism experience unique
  • Identify what your business stands for
  • Explain the location of your experience and proximity to major centres
  • Answer your customer’s primary question: “What’s in it for me?” Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about how they will benefit from your experience — including how they will feel or the memories they can make
  • Ensure your USP incorporates the elements of your experience that appeal to your ideal customer
  • Identify the aspects of your experience that your competitors cannot imitate
  • Create your USP with one to two short, sharp and clear sentences based on what you have identified above.
  • Images and video
  • Branding
USP examples

Tour operator: XYZ Tour Company*

Be immersed in the pristine wilderness of the World Heritage-Listed Blue Mountains National Park, just 90 minutes from Sydney. Enjoy half or full-day guided hiking adventures with Ecotourism Accredited XYZ Tour Company*. Learn about the ancient landscapes, flora and fauna with an expert guide on small group or private tours.

Accommodation: ABC Boutique Hotel*

ABC Boutique Hotel* is set amid native bushland overlooking Belongil Beach in the coastal town of Byron Bay. With a focus on personalised service, ABC Boutique Hotel* offers 12 luxurious, private king suites with sweeping ocean views, direct beach access and a range of premium and private dining experiences celebrating local produce and wines.

*These examples are based on fictional tourism businesses.

Craft your copy

Copy is the written content you use on your website, brochures, fact sheets and any other promotional tools — the words you use to tell the story of your business. Great copy showcases your experience, inspires your customers and sets a clear expectation of your product.

Quality copy creates a good first impression and conveys professionalism. Poorly written copy may not engage your audience and can reflect negatively on your business. Unless you are a skilled writer, consider hiring a professional copywriter to craft engaging copy for your business.

Effective copy
  1. Sells the experience, not just the product. Talk about the benefits and how the customer will feel — try and appeal to their emotions
  2. Is conversational: imagine you are talking to your customers face-to-face
  3. Is relaxed, natural and informal. Inject some personality and have some fun
  4. Considers your audience: keep your customers in mind, make it personal, give them the information they need and make it easy to understand.

Before you start, do some research about your audience — the more information you have, the more you will be able to relate to them. Plan your copy, whether it is for a brochure, website, fact sheet, social media or blog post, think about your audience, the purpose of the copy, what message it needs to convey, and what information should be included.

Craft your copy with these tips
  1. BE CONCISE: Sometimes one word is better than three.
  2. USE POWERFUL SENTENCES: Aim for short sentences with an active voice.
  3. USE SIMPLE WORDS: Exclude words that you would not use in real life, keep the language simple and conversational
  4. MAKE KEY POINTS CLEAR: Use dot points and short sentences to make it easy to see key information
  5. DON’T REPEAT SUPERLATIVES: Edit copy and check for repeated superlatives like “wonderful time in wonderful scenery”.
  6. THINK ABOUT THE LAYOUT: Put the most important information first, use easy- to-read fonts and keep spacing and sizes consistent.
  7. START AND END STRONG: Grab the readers’ attention right away, keep them interested, then give them a reason to take action.
  8. GET FEEDBACK: Ask a writer or editor to read your copy. Listen to their advice and make edits.

Create imagery

Eye-catching images convey your product’s essence efficiently and powerfully. Striking images draw attention and can create cut-through in today’s crowded digital world.

Images that are inspiring and create a strong connection will motivate your customer, encourage them to want to find out more and ultimately make a booking.

Visitors to Dangar Falls with camera
Recommendations for engaging imagery
  1. Include people (talent) that your ideal customers can relate to, for example if you target the family sector, use images with families enjoying your product
  2. Showcase the destination and location of your business
  3. Try and be natural and not staged. Ensure your talent is relaxed
  4. Make images lively. Include people — no empty restaurants, hotel rooms or tour buses
  5. Show people engaging in activities — action shots are ideal
  6. Think about the composition — consider what’s going on in the background, lighting, colour and movement

Top tip: Images that work well on social media include people smiling, blue skies, native wildlife, beautiful scenery and food and wine

Top tips when working with a professional photographer
  1. Choose a photographer with commercial experience and ask to see samples of previous work.
  2. Provide an outline detailing the sort of images you want captured. Include copies of other images you like from your business or from similar experiences.
  3. Ensure images are copyright free so you can use them indefinitely.
  4. Be sure you have a signed talent release form from all talent appearing in the images and that publishing credits are clearly stated.
What images do you need?

Hero images: these are the key shots that capture the main focus of your product and can be used on your brochure covers and website.

Supporting images: these show more details of your product and could include room types, tours, activities and menu options. Aerial shots of your location are also visually powerful.

Images for media use: it is essential to have some professional images to supply to the media.

Candid shots: these are ideal for social media and could be taken by you, your staff or your customers, on a smartphone or camera. It could be worth investing in a short photography course to make your shots look more professional.

The Destination NSW Content Library is an invaluable free resource for tourism operators. It houses a 45,000-strong collection of outstanding image and video assets of city and regional destinations, experiences and events.

Make movies

More and more businesses are successfully using video to showcase their experience. Videos bring your story and your experience to life. It is a good idea for tourism businesses to consider producing long and short video content for their products.

Tools for creating videos are now in our pockets — nearly everyone has a smartphone and there are plenty of applications that help you edit simple videos on your device.

New video technology has also added a whole new dimension to creating videos, with aerial and action shots so much easier to capture. 360 degree video tools also make it easy to showcase a complete view of your experience and destination. It is also easier to share your videos with your customers via YouTube and on social platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

Woman photographing waterfall
What videos do you need?

Hero video: a professionally produced video that showcases your business, what makes you unique, where you are located and why customers should visit. This video could feature a narration by yourself, business partner or a professional voiceover, with a clear and concise script that will encourage people to visit your business. If narration isn’t your thing, you can always use text on the video with a dynamic music track to highlight your key offerings.

Supporting videos: have some fun and create a range of short videos (15-60 seconds) for use in social media and on your website. These could answer frequently asked questions, showcase each of your different tours and experiences, provide testimonials or be about your destination — the options are endless. Strive to update your website and social media platforms with new videos regularly

Before you start shooting, think about the purpose of your videos and the message you want to convey.

Appealing videos
  1. Speak to your audience Just like your copy and images, think about who you are talking to.
  2. Are fun and exciting Inject the personality of your business into the video.
  3. Use quality production Consider the background and composition, including good lights. Even if you are doing it yourself, take time to get it right and avoid shakey hands.
  4. Are concise - Use a variety of lengths such as 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 90 seconds but not more three minutes.

Are you thinking about using drone footage? Providing aerial footage via a drone can be an affordable way of capturing an elevated and unique view of your product and destination. Just ensure that your drone footage is shot legally with approval from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority). Find out more here.

Be branded

Your marketing efforts can be more engaging and successful in attracting your ideal customer with consistent branding. So before you get to work promoting your business with your cleverly crafted copy, beautiful images and videos, ensure that you consistently brand all your marketing materials.

Consider working with a graphic designer to create a brand kit that includes:

Logo: with guidelines on how and where to use it and any taglines

Brand colours: two to four colours that relate to your logo

Brand fonts: two or three for headings, subheadings and text

Style guide: include the tone of voice for all copy and how to use all your elements together.

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