Why cross-promotion matters, especially right now

Cross-promotion matters in tourism marketing example on Facebook Tenement Museum and a Lower East Side bar

A museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side cross-promotes a local bar on the museum Facebook Page. They understand that people want a complete visitor experience that delights across the board.


Destinations and their tourism partners need to use every available marketing tool in this competitive travel environment.

You hear about cross-promotion all the time, but what exactly is it? Will it cost you an arm and a leg to get involved in cross-promotion? How does it benefit your DMO, CVB, and tourism partners?

We will help you sort this all out right here.

What is cross-promotion?

The super-simple answer is that cross-promotion is a marketing partnership between two or more businesses/organizations or destinations.

This partnership is put together to expand the reach of each of the participants. When organizations cross-promote, both online and offline, they expand their reach by talking to each other’s established customer base. The most effective cross-promotions are between partners whose ideal visitors, guests, or customers are similar.

Why cross-promotion matters so much for your marketing strategy right now

When you cross-promote and offer your customers something additional, they realize that they are getting something “extra” or a “deal.” Everyone is looking for something that enhances the value of what they are spending, so cross-promotion is an easy way to give your customers that something “more.”

In today’s very competitive tourism marketing environment, with pent-up demand and plenty of choices, what makes one destination, attraction, hotel, or business stand out? An end-to-end delightful, seamless, safe, fulfilling experience that visitors and customers then talk about with their networks.

That delightful experience happens when destinations and partners work closely together, keep each other informed, and help promote one another’s ability to answer visitor and customer needs and desires.

We were recently contacted by Carolyn Dyrdahl, Marketing Connection, who had a question regarding data comparing Pinterest and YouTube. One thing led to another, and we started to discuss cross-promotion. Here’s what Carolyn had to say about it:

“Each business that is involved in cross-promotions wins by sharing. Marketing activities implemented with partners allow each company to share in cost and effort while multiplying exposure and benefits.

It’s an opportunity to move beyond the audience you normally reach, because the content will be seen by your partner’s audience, too. There is great power in shared audiences. Cross-promotions also breathe new life into your marketing mix.”

Carolyn also shared with us a planning worksheet that she put together that two or more businesses can use as a guide for cross-promotion.

—>> Here is the link to her cross-promotion planning worksheet.

There are a couple more reasons to use cross-promotion in your marketing:

  • It gives you a credible introduction to new customers, visitors, or guests.
  • There are solid SEO benefits from backlinks and traffic from your partners’ social media posts and especially their website. If you are partnering with a more prominent business, this can really help your visibility in search engines.

Ideas for cross-promotion

FREE social media cross-promotion ideas include tagging businesses around you when you talk about them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. This shows your visitors or customers what else they can be looking for in your neighborhood or destination.

Ideally, when you tag a business, that business should share your post to get the maximum benefit of cross-promotion. This is a great tool for DMOs/CVBs to use to get their partners on the same page.

Tip:  Host a partner meeting solely about tagging on social media. Show them how to do it, and what to do once they are tagged.

Adventure tour operator cross-promotes fishing guide partner on Facebook

An adventure tour operator highlights and cross-promotes a local outfitter.

Even if you have a small budget, here are some more cross-promotion ideas to get you thinking:

  •  While at the National Main Street Conference in Seattle a couple of years ago, we heard about a kayak rental shop that partnered with a coffee shop for a free coffee with your kayak rental.
  •  We know of a Mexican food restaurant that partnered with a local hot sauce franchise to get a discount on hot sauce with the purchase of a lunch or dinner at the restaurant.
  •  Local bike shop discounts rentals for your customers, you offer ______ to their customers.
  •  20% discount at the bait and tackle shop for your customers, you offer ______.
  •  Free side dish or dessert at local restaurant for your customers, you offer ______.

Use your imagination; the cross-promotion possibilities are endless! And as an added benefit for destinations…as your partners start cross-promoting, others will get on board as FOMO happens once cross-promotion starts taking off.

Have you got some awesome cross-promotion ideas to share? Share with us down in the comments – we know our readers would love to hear them.

At Tourism Currents, we help you and your tourism partners learn how to use social media and digital destination marketing to bring more visitors to town. Pick what works for you: our self-paced online course in social media for tourism, our coaching/consulting services, or our speaking and workshop services. We are fully vaccinated and ready to help you with the travel rebound.

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