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5 Opportunities DMOs Have to Market to Value-Based Travelers


Marketing to value-based travelers requires a different perspective. In the past, many travel-related ads centered on price-based tourism and featured low costs as the main attraction. Now, that type of strategy often misses the mark when it comes to the value people want to see before booking.

Sustainability and value-based travel is a growing focus across the United States. For DMOs, this trend corresponds with new opportunities – ones that must come with a new strategy.

Here are 5 opportunities that DMOs have if they want to properly market to value-based travelers: 

1. Understand Their Preferred Activities 

It’s no secret that understanding your target audience is critical to any successful marketing campaign. To attract value-based travelers, you will need to identify exactly what they are looking for in your area. For example, if your ideal traveler has a family and loves outdoor music. Well, the local summer fair would be a perfect feature in your campaign! The fair has the right mix of family-friendly activities and live music from local artists to attract that ideal traveler.

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2. Speak the Language 

Destinations have valuable demographic information about their visitors, so take advantage of that. If your location is popular with tourists who speak a specific language, include that in your marketing efforts. 

It is not uncommon for tourist destinations to have versions of their website available in the most popular languages that their visitors speak. This practice removes the barriers that could prevent a potential traveler from understanding the value that your location offers.

3. Focus on Inclusivity 

Our communities are beautiful because they are a melting pot culture and history. For a DMO to create a campaign that connects with its target audience, it is important to remain inclusive. Make sure that your marketing strategy showcases how your destination caters to different groups of people. That way, potential tourists will find an attractive destination that welcomes marginalized individuals.

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4. Highlight Sustainability Efforts

Whether you’re a niched tourism destination or looking to maintain a thriving tourism scene, it’s critical to highlight:

  • How the destination supports the local economy 
  • How the destination provides public service
  • How the destination promotes outdoor recreation
  • How the destination fits into the larger community
  • How the destination works with local stakeholders to further develop the local culture
  • How the destination operates with environmental impact in mind

By including this information in online and offline campaigns, DMOs can implement heritage marketing strategies that connect with value-based tourists. Many state parks are adopting this approach. On the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ​Penn’s Parks for All page, their sustainability-focused strategy for state parks is outlined: 

  • Ensuring they are accessible and welcoming to all;
  • That the aging system is well cared-for; and
  • Adapting to climate change and for the changing recreation needs of visitors.

Sustainability efforts are at the heart of many state-level destination marketing strategies. Take a look at what Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf had to say about this new trend in tourism

“Pennsylvanians can be proud that our state park system is among the best in the nation, and our Constitution guarantees our right to a clean environment, now and in the future,” Wolf said. “The opportunity to enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities in state parks and forests was critical to our mental and physical health during the pandemic. As we get back on track, we need to ensure generations to come will have the same opportunities, and that all Pennsylvanians feel connected to their state parks.”

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5. Feature the Local Culture and Heritage 

Destination marketing must focus on the value that travelers will get from the local culture and history of the area. Meaningful experiences can come from anything: getting a local food favorite with the kids, getting the perfect photo in a state park, attending a cultural festival or visiting a natural history museum. 

Both digital and print advertisements and marketing efforts should draw a clear connection to these important aspects of your area.

DMOs: Are You Ready to Align With Value-Based Tourists?

To make the most of all the benefits offered by sustainable travel, you’ll need to carefully plan and strategize new campaigns. Make sure you check out news related to destination marketing with resources like the DMO Download for more information on the latest travel and tourism trends.
Learn more about heritage tourism and leveraging a marketing strategy for your destination with this on-demand webinar.

  • Nancy Roque

    A creative organizational freak, Nancy has been working in the marketing realm since 2013 – specializing in content strategy and creation, SEO, and consulting. She is a lover of all things coffee flavored, except for black coffee. A feminist and ally. A writer of strange fiction, technical web content, long-form guides, and blogs that cover topics like SEO, tourism, medical subjects, and the modern workplace. Nancy prides herself on working closely with clients to create effective content and marketing strategies all while following through with some killer puns.

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