Destination Brand Loyalty Starts with a City Card

ArrivalGuides - Destination Brand Loyalty

When the holidays come around, millions of people decide to travel and explore destinations they have been inspired by and dreamed about. Many destinations have a lot to offer their visitors such as sights, tours, museums, educational programs, entertainment facilities, cafes, restaurants – and a lot more. Some of the quality attractions, sites or even dining facilities are not as popular amongst tourists as they should be, and there could be countless reasons behind this fact; tourists can’t afford to spend more on the trip so they stick to the ‘popular’ places, they don’t have enough time or perhaps they have never even heard of those places.

As a destination, you want your visitors to be loyal to you and come back again. But what if they think they saw it all and there is nothing to come back for?

There is an excellent way to solve this issue: City Cards.

City Cards ARE loyalty cards, offering your visitors a way to explore, feel, remember you, and come back to your destination to explore even further, in a way that saves them time, effort and money. A City Card is the “golden key” for the tourist to truly experience places that are known only to locals or provide – depending on the city – free admission to several museum or attractions, priority access, free public transportation and discounts on certain places such as restaurants or cafés. There are many other perks which can be offered for the sale of a city card, such as free guidebooks and maps and even front row seating at plays and shows.

A loyal customer can be created through the establishment of a City Card. It is important to communicate information about your City Card during all stages of the customer journey, meaning during the inspiration, planning, ‘in-destination’ and return phases. This is where ArrivalGuides puts booster rockets on your City Card and makes it a necessity for any City Card program.

Part of loyalty is also the provision of free stuff, and in your case, your ArrivalGuide should be presented immediately to your visitors – via QR codes around your city, SMS for those who opt in, and upon immediate purchase of a City Card.

When creating an ArrivalGuides City Guide, we have to think about all the people who are going to download it and want to rely on this information during their exploration of your destination. Offering them rich content and colorful pages filled with relevant and updated information in your destination’s guide can turn potential travelers into actual ones. Having inspirational POIs, up-to-date events and a welcoming tone between the lines of all your guides will make the reader feel like it is their destination, and the place they should go as many times as possible. Your guide should make sure that the City Card takes pride of place.

ArrivalGuides offers an exclusive way for a low, monthly cost to promote your City Card to over 300 major, global travel brands who will showcase your destination through their websites and digital communications, including booking confirmations, newsletters, and apps – this is the ArrivalGuides City Card Promotion.

Your ArrivalGuide will have your own highlighted section for your City Card as seen in Berlin’s ArrivalGuide (LINK). Also included in the ArrivalGuides City Card Promotion is half page ad of your City Card in your guide, and a banner ad of your City Guide in any section on, giving your destination and City Card offer amazing exposure and a sharp call to action.

City Cards should possess at least one of the following traits:

– Access to places that regular visitors cannot obtain

– Priority Access

– Money saving values such as BOGOFS, discounts and even just plain “free”

– Long expiry dates (valid for one year) to make them return to your destination

– Combining free transport with offers

– Involves many of the tourism allied businesses in the destination who understand the importance of the visitor – and their excellent customer service skills adds to visitors loyalty (another blog in the future!)

A City Card offers the possibility to destinations to increase the value of the tourism economy in their area, increasing awareness of the local tourism businesses, making the destination more explorable and appealing, and persuading the visitor to stay more nights, to fit in more attractions, events or restaurants during their visit.

Providing the possibility for tourists to get free or discounted admission to sites and attractions is an excellent way of keeping your destination brand high on the ‘must see’ list of destinations.

We all know that sticking out as a brand is a tough task these days, with destinations fighting for brand recognition is hard, and making them loyal, repeat visitors, is harder. Among the many tourism, travel and destination offer out there, the most important thing for you to do is to be is the one that attracts visitors with great ideas, packaged deals, benefits, and savings, making them feel welcome and valuable. Loyalty is born by presenting your destination in a fascinating manner, and this includes making exploration easy for your target markets, and combining this with attractive offers of great value.

After all, keeping your visitors happy and delighted is the main concept of it all. There are numerous advantages of having City Cars, and the number one is creating loyal travelers. Not only because they are most likely to recommend your destination to others, but engaging with a new visitor costs much more than nurturing a current one. Just think about it; how amazing it is when you have visitors who come back to discover even more about your destination, and all because you made it easy to look, book and explore.

Author: Viktoria Schida,