Destination Stewarship

Madden builds marketing campaigns that work in concert with communities and evolve destination marketing to destination management.

The tourism industry faces numerous challenges. Overtourism overwhelms communities’ public resources and threatens to damage fragile natural assets. Increasing visitation volume beyond a destination’s limits can also harm resident sentiment and decrease a DMO’s support within its respective community.

To mitigate these pain points and ensure both visitors and locals can enjoy these destinations for generations to come, Madden centers all of our work around sustainable tourism, and helps DMOs evolve their destination marketing into destination management. All our solutions are tailored to work in concert with the community, and only have a positive impact on residents, partners, and stakeholders.

The following examples show how implementing a destination stewardship focus into campaigns shows care for communities, educates travelers, and protects the environment.


Practice Environmental Stewardship

Discover Crystal River is home to manatees, an amazing, yet fragile natural asset. We created new ad designs and messaging that highlighted the picturesque wetlands and the one-of-a-kind experience the destination offers—up-close manatee interactions. We developed storytelling that spotlighted “Swimming with Manatees” best practices and Discover Crystal River’s sustainable ecotourism.

With conservation serving a key brand pillar of the campaign, Discover Crystal River’s manatee community is stronger and healthier than ever. Surveys in the early 90s showed only 1,300 manatees left in the state. US Fish and Game estimates that population to be pushing over 6,500 today.



Respect for the Environment

While building brand awareness Port Aransas, a beach destination with over 18 miles of Texas coastline, wanted to encourage visitors to help care for the island. To highlight this commitment to environmental stewardship, we developed a brand extension in the form of a cute, illustrated sea turtle named Flynn asking travelers to “respect his island home” to embody this brand pillar.

The concept for Flynn came from the sea turtles that populate the destination’s beaches, and the species’ cultural association with environmentalism. Our research also showed that the most effective environmental stewardship messaging was delivered in non-formal ways with non-condescending tones from a humorous personality. As the primary “spokesperson” for the campaign, Flynn is featured prominently on the “Respect Our Island Home” landing page, advertisements, stickers, magnets, posters, rack cards, and in-room inserts in-market. Campaign collateral includes a QR code driving users to the “Respect Our Island Home” landing page, with educational information about the island’s environment and conservation best practices to help visitors join in taking care of the destination.


Measuring the Impact of Sustainability Efforts

Destination Door County recognized the need to protect and preserve their community and its valuable, fragile natural resources. Through dedicated initiatives promoting sustainable travel messaging and action, Destination Door County has made great progress in these efforts.

In order to evaluate overall growth across all initiatives, our data science team developed a Sustainability Index. This index applies an assigned weighted value across a range of measures and impacts as they related to the sustainability initiatives defined and executed by Door County. Through this type of measurement, not only is Door County able to track performance, but this index provides an opportunity to offer transparency and accountability to its residents and stakeholders.

The index measures performance of efforts and impacts specifically related to sustainability messaging and action. Each metric included in the index is assigned a weighted value based on its position and relevancy in the marketing funnel. Year-over-year performance for metrics that are further down the funnel have a higher impact than those towards the top of the funnel.

Responsible Marketing

It’s vital for DMOs to start investing a dedicated percentage of budget to sustainability-focused marketing efforts. From educational messages about how best to protect a destination’s fragile ecosystem to storytelling that highlights responsible ways to visit to measurement programs that monitor sustainability efforts to maximize impact, there are many ways DMOs can promote and generate sustainable tourism.

Start Taking Steps Toward Sustainable Tourism Now
Reach out today to discuss your responsible marketing options