On January 27, tourists from Quanzhou, Fujian Province took a group photo with people in Jiayin County, Heilongjiang Province wearing Oroqen national costumes. Photo by Zhao Yuhang published by China News Service

Text/Hua Zhuoma

  From various cultural and tourism accounts vying to be the "king of scrolls" to responding to netizens' "calls" and "swaying" celebrities to endorse local areas, this year's online and offline cultural and tourism sectors in various places are booming, and everyone wants to be the "next Erbin" .

  As the Spring Festival approaches, cultural tourism promotion in various places is once again entering a window period. What is the traffic password of Internet celebrity city? While "directing traffic", how to "preserve traffic" and become the next "retention" city?

The "Volume King" battle takes turns with new releases

  After "Erbin" became a "new top player", Henan was the first to open a "book" online. The official account of Henan Culture and Tourism "Henan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism" once posted 20 or 30 videos a day. On the most "volume" day, after updating at 2:43 in the morning, a new video was released at 5:25 in the morning.

Official account of the Henan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism.

  The Henan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism was also ridiculed by netizens as "this is Henan's old tactic - the sea-level tactic, which wins in quantity" and "quantitative changes lead to qualitative changes."

  After the hot search for "Juan" in Henan Province, publicity wars began in various places to see who could compete with the "King of Juan". Hebei Cultural Tourism took up the topic of "Hebei Volume Network" and updated 75 videos a day. It also posted a video saying "75 is the limit of Douyin! It is not the limit of Hebei Cultural Tourism."

Netizens left messages to "promote" Shanxi Cultural Tourism. Source: Internet

  In addition to competing for the "king of rolls", everyone everywhere is racking their brains to "get out of the circle". The official account of Shandong Culture and Tourism "Hospitality Shandong" directly announced the email address and called on Shandong netizens to actively contribute. But before netizens had time to contribute, an earthy video with "My last name is Dong" quickly became a hot search topic.

Screenshot of "My Surname is Dong" video promotional song. Source: Internet

  Subsequently, Henan, Gansu, Jiangsu and other places have created "My Surname is X" cultural tourism promotional song "Shouting Mai", using magical music and brainwashing lyrics to flood the short video platform.

  In this wave of rush to get out of the circle, the demands of netizens are taken seriously. The culture and tourism departments of Gansu, Shaanxi, Hebei and other departments responded to the suggestions of netizens who could not find their accounts and asked to change their account names, and changed the names of the original short video accounts such as Ruyi Gansu, Shaanxi Tourism, and Youran Jilin to XX Culture and Tourism.

  At the same time, after netizens suggested asking celebrities to speak for their hometown, Xiao Zhan, Huang Xuan, Zhao Liying, Linghua and other celebrities were "swayed" to "carry the banner" for their hometown.

What is the “traffic” password for cultural tourism promotion?

  From “waiting” for tourists in the past to vying to be the “book king” and “listening to persuasion” to attract tourists, cultural tourism companies from all over the world want to catch the enthusiasm of tourists ignited by “Erbin”. However, in addition to the rush for publicity, there have also been many videos that "make locals reluctant to go after watching them" or even marginal videos.

  So, what kind of publicity can really catch tourists’ attention and attract tourists to check in?

  Zhang Zhi'an, a professor at the School of Journalism at Fudan University and director of the Center for Communication and National Governance Research, told China News Service that from the perspective of publicity in "Internet Celebrity Cities", there are four common and regular elements.

  The first element is the scene. In the past, city promotion focused on iconic buildings, but now, judging from new media platform data, happy experience scenes tend to attract more attention from tourists. Therefore, the success of "Internet Celebrity City" promotion depends on whether it can shift from the original promotion of landmark buildings to the promotion of happy consumption scenes or life scenes.

  The second element is creativity. People always like to seek novelty and change, and creative content can attract everyone's attention. The frozen pear cutting in Harbin, the Ewenki people’s reindeer tour, and the village BA in Guizhou are all good creative marketing points.

  The third element is traffic. That is to say, it relies on short videos, live broadcasts and Internet platforms for promotion and promotion, and the content disseminated must be able to affect everyone's emotions, that is, "no video will not spread, no platform will not reach, and no emotion will not resonate." In the era of short videos, being able to attract everyone's attention and capture traffic is already half the battle.

  The fourth element is emotion. Zhang Zhian said that to create an "Internet celebrity city", the most fundamental thing is to create a relaxed, humorous and happy environment. In this environment, many unexpected scenes emerge among the public. Once these scenes become popular on the Internet, if cultural tourism seizes this wave of traffic in time, it can often lead to explosions in the entire city.

How to attract young people?

Screenshot of Mafengwo's "2023 Tourism Big Data Report".

  According to the "2023 Tourism Big Data Report" released by Mafengwo, among the people traveling in 2023, "post-00s" and "post-90s" will account for 68%, becoming the dominant force. As the tourism industry gradually recovers, young consumers have shown strong enthusiasm for travel. For them, travel is not only exploration and experience, but also an attitude towards life and has become an important part of their social life.

  How to attract this new main tourist force?

  Zhang Zhenpeng, a professor at the Institute of Cultural Industry of Shenzhen University, told Xinshe Guoshi Express that if urban cultural tourism wants to attract and retain young people, it must first “conform” cultural tourism to daily life. It is necessary to have a clear development idea. This idea does not come from copying a certain "Internet celebrity city", but truly "understands" the young generation, taps the city's own resource advantages, and carries out "tailor-made" development.

  Zhang Zhenpeng gave an example. In April 2023, Luoyang adopted gamification design to turn Luoyang into a "city-wide script-killing game" stage: starting from the high-speed rail station, tourists can receive tasks of interest to more than 40 tasks in the city. Click to solve puzzles, and each task point is assisted by NPCs they are familiar with. The mission site of Luoyang Museum alone has more than 20 million exposures on the Internet.

How does "traffic" change to "retention"?

  For cultural tourism to achieve rapid development, publicity is only one step. To turn "traffic" into "retention", more efforts are needed.

  Sun Yunlong, associate professor of the Department of Tourism at Fudan University, told China News Service: Although "Internet celebrity cities" can easily attract attention, there are not many successful cases so far, and most of them imitate each other. Therefore, if urban cultural tourism wants to "maintain and flow", it must still do a good job in tourism planning and services based on its own resource endowment and differentiated positioning.

  Sun Yunlong also pointed out that there is a phenomenon of "marketing for marketing's sake" in some current cultural tourism promotions, which does not achieve a good city promotion effect.

  He said that when cities develop cultural tourism, they must first clarify their target customer groups and make plans based on local resource endowments, future industry development directions and changing trends in tourist demand.

  Secondly, we must combine the needs of the target customer groups and provide reception services suitable for them. It does not mean that the higher the quality of the service, the better. The most suitable is the best.

  Once again, you need to be clear about what kind of experience you want to leave with your visitors. The essence of travel is to see unfamiliar environments and experience cultures and social forms that you don’t understand. In the process, curiosity can be satisfied. After tourists have an experience that exceeds their expectations, they can promote it through short videos. Only in this way can a virtuous cycle be formed.