Bound Blog

Make Travel Marketing Fun Again: Aiming for the Slay Factor

Picture of the author, Adriana Escalante
By Adriana Escalante
M10 30, 2019

Working with Destinations and CVBs changes you. When visiting a new city or state, I used to do a quick 10 second scan of Yelp to decide on a lunch spot. Now, I read a few blog posts and check out the destination’s instagram before settling on the best option for a bite to eat. And things to do? You better believe I visit the tourism site’s curated list of activities and attractions. All those changes are to be expected when you work closely with amazing destination marketers. 

But, one surprising element of working with destinations? You never watch movies or TV shows the same way. Instead of placidly enjoying a movie, I spend a portion of the movie dissecting why the heck anyone would visit the setting of the film. If you’ve watched horror movies, disaster movies, or even Hot Tub Time Machine, you’ve probably found yourself asking the same thing.  

So, in the spirit of Halloween, we are kicking off a multi-part series to tell you exactly how some of these ‘film-worthy’ destinations got their tourist traffic. Because we all know, there must have been some heavy handed marketing to get visitors to some of these spots (please STOP sending your children to Camp Crystal Lake!). And, I’ll show how some fun personalization can highlight the best of a destination for every persona visiting (get ready for some stellar Graphic Design work by yours truly). 

Our First Destination:
Sunnydale, California – Home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

If you’ve never spoken to me, you may not know about my enthusiastic appreciation for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In conversation, I try to wait till at least the 30 minute mark to reference the Slayer, the Scooby Gang, or Sunnydale High. But, most people know pretty quickly that I am a card-carrying devotee to Joss Whedon’s phenomenal series about a teenage vampire slayer. And when brainstorming for this blog series, I could think of no better representation of a multi-faceted, ‘why the heck would you visit’ destination than Buffy’s very own Sunnydale, California. 

Destination Background

Before I begin my dissection of personalization strategies for Sunnydale, CA, it’s important to know a little bit about the Buffyverse (yes- that is what it is called). The series begins by introducing Buffy Sommers, a teenager that’s been chosen to defend the world against “vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness.” In order to be most effective, she’s forced to move to Sunnydale, California where a portal exists that bridges ‘this reality and the next.’ This portal is called the Hellmouth and with it comes an abundance of supernatural activity. This means the area is teaming with ‘big bads’ like vampires and demons. But, the area is also full of humans just out there, living their everyday human lives. So, what brings both groups to the mix? And how would you market Sunnydale, California to such a diverse group of personas? With a little bit of personalization, obviously! So, let’s break it down persona by persona, starting with:


This persona group consists entirely of the regular ol’ fleshy bodied humans that you see walking around in your day to day life, assuming that you reading this are also a human. Humans typically eat plants and sometimes animals- but always cooked(unless wrapped in seaweed over rice). Most are up and about during the daylight hours and sleep at night. All standard human behavior.


Humans enjoy (and can be out in) sunshine and Sunnydale, CA has it in large supplies. Being in California, the weather is temperate and it doesn’t seem to snow. For humans, Sunnydale is a tight knit community that has a high school, a college, an adorable main street, a lively night-life district, and way too many cemeteries. 

If targeting to humans:

DO emphasize the sunshine-y weather and familial feel of quaint Sunnydale. 

DO NOT mention Hellmouth, vampires, demons, werewolves, or witches. 


Before I break down the Buffyverse’s vampires, let’s get one thing straight- these ain’t no sparkly, Twilight-style, Robert Patterson vampires. The Buffyverse’s vampires are ruthless, rough, and sometimes just waking up from a deep slumber (lots of bed head). Of course, they tend to drink blood. Oh, and they’re overwhelmingly soul-less. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t like to go out on the town for a little fun every now and then.  


Unlike humans, vampires don’t like the sun so emphasizing nightlife is important. Sunnydale has a bustling nightlife district that is frequented by humans and vampires alike. Additionally, unlike humans, vampires may prefer proximity to the Hellmouth. And, there’s at least 38,000 potential meals just walking around the city (Sunnydale Human Pop is over 38K). 

If targeting to vampires:

DO emphasize the weird plethora of cemeteries, the proximity to the Hellmouth, and the pre-existing vampire community that already resides in Sunnydale. 

DO NOT mention The Slayer or the sunshine. 


There’s really only supposed to be one Slayer so the targeting would need to be hyper specific. The slayer is always a teenage girl. She has super hero like abilities and is selected to defend the human world against evil supernatural forces. Typically she’ll be accompanied by a watcher who helps guide her in her journey. 


Targeting for the Slayer would be the equivalent of targeting meeting planners on a traditional DMO site. Because there is only one slayer, it’s important to get the messaging right. Specifically, an emphasis on the abundance of vampires and a CTA  that mentions defending the human world against darkness would all be effective. 

If targeting to slayers:  

DO emphasize the short commute to work (read: the Hellmouth and numerous cemeteries), room for professional development and the nightlife. 

DO NOT mention high slayer mortality rate or mean high school girls. 


Now, seeing all this personalized content, I get it. I understand why a human might move to Sunnydale. Look at that sunshine!  I also get why a Vampire may pay a visit. Tons of cemeteries and great things to eat. Personalization gives you the opportunity to put your destination’s best foot forward no matter who you are personalizing to. 

If you have more questions or just want to discuss the Buffyverse, we’re dying to hear from you. 

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