Published On: June 30, 2023By

We rely on tourism to employ nearly 2 million Canadians, in diverse industries ranging from transportation to recreation and food and beverage services to entertainment. Our country’s economy—along with individuals in our largest cities, smallest towns and even our most remote communities—all rely on tourism and you would be hard pressed to find a sector hit harder by COVID-19. This posed a massive recruiting challenge as well as an exciting opportunity for Tourism HR Canada.

Tourism HR Canada is a global leader in labour market intelligence and workforce programming—attraction, retention and training—to meet market demand in tourism. In 2022, Tourism HR Canada asked UpHouse to refresh the Discover Tourism brand through DiscoverTourism.ca, a website dedicated to connecting job seekers with careers and providing human resource tools to tourism organizations.

Connecting the Desire to Travel and the Desire to Work

As human beings, we yearn for new experiences that change the way we see our world and ourselves. This desire is what moves us to travel, and it’s also what draws individuals to work in tourism. We wanted to position Discover Tourism as a gateway, not just to meaningful work and long-term career opportunities, but to unique and unexpected experiences.

UpHouse created a new visual identity and brand handbook for Discover Tourism, with the tagline Tourism Can Take You There, to capture the universal desire to seek new experiences and realize one’s potential.

Reaching Diverse Audiences

Tourism HR Canada needed to reach multiple audiences with this brand refresh: job seekers, tourism employers and educators, and current tourism workers. To make sure we could appeal to each of these audiences, we honed our content to meet each group’s unique needs.

For job seekers, we focused on sharing the enriching experiences that come from a career in tourism. We offered a variety of entertaining and informative online resources to help people who might be asking, “Is tourism right for me?” to find their dream-jobs within the sector. To demonstrate how many opportunities exist in tourism, we created an interactive map tool that lets people explore the wide range of potential tourism careers. Reinforced by real-life stories from people in the industry, we were able to convey that tourism is not just for adventurers; it’s also a great option for those seeking a career that offers success and stability.

Male couple in their Bed and Breakfast sitting room.

DiscoverTourism.ca also offers resources specifically for students who might be looking for post-secondary programs that can prepare them for specific industry jobs. The tools and resources we created for them helps them learn about tourism and hospitality programs throughout Canada, with breakdowns of the degrees and diplomas offered by post-secondary institutions.

For employers, managers and educators, we worked with Tourism HR Canada to curate content that focused on their power to change the lives of other professionals in the sector for the better. Our tools on managing your workforce and attracting new employees encourage employers to look inward and examine how they can create more inclusive, productive spaces for workers.

Finally, for existing employees, we worked to convey how much versatility exists in the tourism industry, both in day experiences and throughout a lengthy career in the sector. Someone who begins their journey as a front desk agent at a hotel could end up in event planning. A summer job as a cook might lead someone to uncover their passion and open a restaurant of their own. No matter where someone enters the industry, Tourism HR Canada wants to be sure to invest in them.

For these workers, we created resources that focus on next steps. People who want to grow in their careers can use Discover Tourism’s online tools to learn how their existing skills could transfer within the industry. They have the freedom to explore new paths within the industry, work their way up to management, peruse job boards, and watch videos about real workers.

Telling Stories Strategically with Audience-Specific Video Series

To make the most effective and impactful content for each audience, we created five unique series, totalling over 100 videos.

Job Profiles: To inspire jobseekers, we travelled across the country, seeking out a diverse cast of professionals to create short documentary-style videos showcasing each industry within tourism: travel services, transportation, recreation and entertainment, accommodations and food and beverage services. We found truly inspiring, unique, and personal stories as far east as Halifax, as north as Churchill and as far west as Haida Gwaii, touching every coast in our search to represent an industry that touches every corner of the country.

Employer Compass: To empower employers, we produced seven short training videos offering insights for tourism employers that feature easy-to-understand tidbits of information to help improve various management skills.

Kinetic Type: For more bite-size content, each Employer Compass video is accompanied by fully animated videos that lean on animated images and text to offer one or two key takeaways at a time.

Career Pathways: To encourage existing tourism employees to progress their career, we shot testimonials from people working in tourism, sharing how they thrived in the industry and why they continue to work in tourism.

Top Tips for Employers: For a peer-to-peer approach with employers, we asked leaders in tourism to offer quick tips on attraction and retention.

Logo, Photography and Typography

We took some visual cues from Discover Tourism’s original logo – a sense of intrigue, adventure and approachability – while utilizing a clean, modern font and combining letterforms with contrasting shapes.

Photography needed to highlight an eclectic mix of experiences across the five tourism industries and while also meeting a variety of criteria (subject matter, location, etc.). We created three categories for sourcing imagery that would support each audience, platform and piece of content.

Hero shots depicted employees in their work element, with day-in-the-life images positioning employees front and centre. Sense of Place photography depicted Canadian landscapes and tourist destinations to show off unique workplaces in the industry. And Textural/Abstract images complemented web content and animated typography videos.

To communicate unique opportunities and pathways within tourism, we curated an eclectic mix of fonts and created a hierarchy of typography to bring both visual interest and structure to the design and web content featured on the site.

Execution

UpHouse teamed up with Office/Bureau, an Toronto-based creative studio, to bring the rebrand to life via the Discover Tourism website. We updated existing resources to match the brand’s new look and feel, while creating new designs for interactive web tools and resources to guide job seekers through a journey to their ideal career. For employers and managers, we prepared written guides and video resources focusing on attraction and retention of employees by recommending processes for successful hiring, onboarding, cross-training, mentorship programs and more.

Leading up to the launch, we also built a promotional kit introducing the rebrand, with materials for Tourism HR Canada to send their partners and use themselves, including social media posts and captions, hashtags, video teasers and blog posts.

Our contractors were not just vendors to us for this project, instead, they provided their expertise as true collaborators. In total, we partnered with 25 contractors, from editors, animators and directors of photography to makeup artists and Cree language translators.

A computer screen displaying the Discover Tourism homepage.

Outcome

In April 2023, the refreshed brand was introduced in English and French media releases through Canadian Newswire via Cision, with the announcement receiving an estimated $118,000 in publicity from more than 13.5 million potential views online and in print.

 

Lessons Learned

There’s no substitute for authenticity. And there’s no better way to tell an authentic story than through video — especially unscripted video. If you typically communicate your message directly from your organization, consider seeking out voices of those who have been positively impacted by the work you’re doing, and let them tell your story for you in a way that only they can. It will add legitimacy to your business while giving your audience a human face to connect to.

Plan in advance to ensure that what’s being caught on camera can be cut and edited to meet your needs, whether that’s being shared to your website in multiple languages, on broadcast television, via social channels in vertical formats, at your tradeshow booth or point of sale screen without sound or all of the above. Video is rarely a small investment and while it may seem like a daunting commitment, with a good strategy behind every visual and beat of the story, video content can be impactful, long-lasting and versatile in ways that no other piece of content can.

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