The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
Alaska Is Taking a Fresh Approach to Marketing
by Paige Schamberg, Diana Mirzayeva
Read The Latest Heritage Tourism News
Lots of interesting stories this week! Learn about how Alaska is promoting indigenous tourism, one of Cleveland’s most famous homes, how marketing strategies drive heritage tourism and more. Keep reading!
This New Guide Allows Tourists To Appreciate Native Alaskan Cultures
With breathtaking views, unique wildlife and some of the last untamed wilderness in the world, Alaska has always been a hotspot for tourism. While the Northern lights and whale spotting have attracted the most attention over the years, the state is making efforts to change that. The demand for more authentic visions of the world is giving Alaska the perfect foothold into showcasing the region’s native culture. To promote this, their travel guide will now feature an insert that’s dedicated solely to opportunities for visitors to learn more about Alaska’s native cultures.
According to Emily Edenshaw, President and CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, and board member of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, there is significant room for improvement to meet tourist demand for information about Alaska Native cultures. But the new travel guide insert will help bring tourists the “real Alaska” experience they’re hungry for in an authentic and respectful way, offering a broad view of Alaska Native cultures, languages and societies — from the World Eskimo Olympics in Fairbanks, to the Cama-i dance festival in Bethel.
This is a great example of how DMOs can work with local cultural organizations to create and showcase special ways to share their heritage. Data shows that visitors are craving authentic experiences, especially ones that feature local indigenous history and culture. Don’t be afraid to focus on your destination’s unique people and places. Not only does it tell their story, but gives visitors insight into the overarching narrative that your destination has to share.
‘A Christmas Story’ House and Museum Is For Sale in Cleveland
The house from everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story,” was filmed at a real house in a real neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. After 20 years of running the house as an attraction and hotel, owner and founder Brian Jones decided that it was time to sell.
“I am selling because it is simply time for me to move on to a new adventure in life after 20 years in this endeavor,” current owner Brian Jones wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday morning. “It has been an honor to be the steward of such an amazing piece of Americana.”
He hopes that the new owner will take the attraction to the next level. The whole campus is being sold, which includes the house itself, the gift shop and museum, two parking lots and more. Despite the upcoming shift in ownership, the house and museum will remain open during normal business hours and be available for overnight stays. The home attracts over 75,000 visitors annually.
It can be nerve-wracking when a popular attraction goes up for sale in your destination. This is when making strong connections with your stakeholders is vital to ensure that they’re on the same page when it comes to tourism in your area. Making sure that your stakeholders are buying into the tourism vision for your destination can influence them into finding the right buyers to continue on the path to success with you. Learn more about stakeholder buy-in (with our own famous movie references) here.
Heritage Tourism Starts with A Marketing Strategy
Heritage tourism areas rely on visitors traveling to experience a destination’s local artifacts, activities, and stories that are representative of the area. These amenities tend to define a location by providing a unique selling point to a destination and setting it aside from others. Tourism and quality of life are enhanced by utilizing a destination’s natural resources, but it doesn’t stop there. For your destination to succeed, you must target the right audience with the right marketing strategy.
To establish a marketing strategy for a destination, there are a variety of goals that must be met. Your marketing strategy should be:
- Aligned to objectives of the larger organization(s)
- Focused on SMART goals
- Built using logic and research
- Identifies clear actionable initiatives
- Unifies the brand and how it’s presented
- Dictates the most impactful tactics
- Helps in finding the right technology tools
- Tied to measurable performance
Once there is a good basis for understanding where a destination currently stands, DMOs can then work on creating a strategy that not only highlights their strengths but also capitalizes on opportunities that may have not been as evident before. Every destination is unique because they all provide distinctive experiences for visitors. Visitors are willing to pay for and travel to that distinctive experience provided by a destination, but it’s up to the destination to increase awareness about what the region has to offer!
It is also essential to utilize platforms your target audiences are currently using. In order to successfully market a destination, people need to know who you are and what you are doing. Getting a message out to platforms is important, but making sure audiences are also able to easily find that content during their visitor journey process is essential to a successful marketing strategy.
To learn more, check out our webinar about marketing a heritage tourism area.
Your Blog Page Should Be Optimized for Conversions
One of the key purposes of your website is to convert online visitors into real-life visitors. The easier it is to navigate your website and the more enticing your content is, the more likely a visitor is to devote more time on your website and potentially achieve a conversion. One of the most effective ways to increase foot traffic to a website is to optimize your blogs. This increases your content’s visibility on search engines and, perhaps more importantly, builds trust with your audience by displaying credibility.
Visitors continue to interact with sites that they trust. Establishing credibility and trust between your organization and visitors is essential if you want to see conversions and consistent growth within your destination. The more optimized your blogs are, the more time visitors will spend on your site, which can lead to a conversion.
Here are some ways to optimize your blog page for conversion:
- Assign categories to simplify navigation.
- Feature recent articles on your homepage to demonstrate consistency and credibility with up-to-date content.
- Proper calls to action are the most important component of optimizing your blog for conversion because it gives your visitors the next step for engagement.
- Create a two-column layout. This allows you to share more content and make it easier to read for website users.
- Social buttons to encourage sharing to allow for boosting brand awareness and increasing traffic to the blog.
- Add your blog to the main navigation so visitors can easily find the blog when on your site.
- Demonstrate consistency with a solid publishing schedule to show that your content is relevant and reliable.
- Create an article template to maintain consistency, creating a specific, recognizable layout when formatting your blogs.
- Attention-grabbing headlines – catching the reader’s attention is essential as it entices the reader to continue reading what your blog has to say.
All of these steps put your content on the map for potential visitors. Not only do they optimize your individual content pages, but your website as a whole, increasing destination awareness and allowing more visitors to engage with your brand online. Learn more about destination websites in this blog series or this webinar.