The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
Communicating Your Destination’s Sustainability Efforts Is Critical
by Paige Schamberg
Lots of Fascinating Resources This Holiday Week!
There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the news this week. Learn about Georgia’s all-terrain wheelchairs, when sustainable tourism doesn’t hit the mark, Thanksgiving travel trends and so much more. Keep reading!
The National Parks Are Introducing All-terrain Wheelchairs
In another win for travelers with disabilities, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources introduced all-terrain wheelchairs in partnership with the Aimee Copeland Foundation. Other states that are a part of this initiative, such as Colorado, Michigan, South Dakota and now Georgia, are releasing fleets of off-roading adaptive equipment to allow disabled visitors to experience trails that were previously inaccessible.
“I’ll finally be able to go on these trails for the first time in my life,” said 32-year-old travel blogger, Cory Lee, who shares his adventures on Curb Free With Cory Lee. “The trails are off-limits in my regular wheelchair.”
Each state’s program has different requirements and rules concerning the program. In Georgia, those who wish to reserve a wheelchair must take an online training course in advance. Upon completion, their certification is forwarded to the foundation and the park. Visitors need to plan their off-roading adventures in advance, giving the foundation 72-hour notice and the park 48-hour notice.
This is a great example of how tourism destinations can help visitors have unforgettable experiences. Take time to think outside the box about how you can make your unique offerings more accessible for all types of travelers.
This Is When the Sustainable Tourism Movement Can Cause Problems for Destinations
Caring about your destination isn’t just attracting large crowds of visitors. Sometimes, destinations can serve their area best by educating visitors on how to care for the destination, too. This is the situation that Travel Lake Tahoe Nevada finds itself in this year after a popular online travel guide, Fodor’s Travel, released an article telling people to not visit Lake Tahoe at all.
“Lake Tahoe has a people problem. In the midst of the pandemic and the great migration, there was an influx of people moving to the mountains, as well as people with second homes in the area coming to live in Tahoe permanently. And it caused traffic along the lake to drag, as well as keeping the roads and beaches full,” the guide reported.
The number of travelers is threatening Lake Tahoe itself by increasing the level of pollutants in the clear, cobalt water, according to the guide. As a result, the travel guide practically begs people to avoid Lake Tahoe entirely. Travel North Tahoe Nevada’s CEO, Andy Chapman, says that although the destination is facing some challenges, he disagrees that avoiding Lake Tahoe is the solution. Jesse Patterson is the Director of Strategy for the environmental advocacy nonprofit called Keep Tahoe Blue. She agrees with Chapman’s assessment.
“Fodor’s is right that we get a lot of visitors and it takes a toll on the environment and the local community, mainly with traffic and trash,” Patterson said. “Everyone has to come and see the lake, but we ask that they leave the lake better than they found it, by parking their car once and getting around by public transport and ski transport and carpooling and picking up litter if it’s yours or yours. . . That’s the Keep Tahoe Blue lifestyle.”
This situation is a cautionary tale for traditional tourist locations to take sustainable tourism seriously, working with stakeholders to develop actionable plans for preserving the integrity of the destination. Having a strategy for communicating your destination’s sustainable tourism plan and sharing efforts to stakeholders is critical. Without one, you place yourself at risk of being misrepresented by others, similar to Lake Tahoe’s case. Sustainable tourism doesn’t mean you need to eliminate tourism altogether. This can put your destination’s economy at risk and reduce resources needed to enact sustainable tourism efforts. Instead, have open conversations with your stakeholders, residents and visitors to ensure you’re doing all you can to preserve your area’s natural beauty and resources.
AAA Predicts Nearly 55 Million Americans Will Travel for Thanksgiving
2022 is expected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA began tracking in 2000. Most travelers will be driving to their destinations, with 49 million hitting the road for the holiday. Around 4.5 million Americans are flying to their Thanksgiving destinations, a significant increase compared to last year’s numbers. Some Americans are traveling by bus, train or even have cruises booked for the long weekend.
“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”
This is important to keep in mind this weekend. Many travelers will be visiting their relatives and may be looking for some things to do with their families throughout their stay. Promoting family-friendly amenities could be a great way to encourage visitors to engage with your destination.
A Defined Brand Identity Can Lead to Long-term Success
The Venango County Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), an organization specializing in manufacturing and commercial activity in the area, wanted to transform 100 Seneca Cornplanter Square into a thriving commercial space for future generations. Once a bank building in the heart of the Oil Region, the historic landmark was ready for a change after remaining vacant for two decades. The goal was to promote the location to potential commercial and retail tenants interested in renting out the space for business endeavors.
To achieve this goal, a new brand identity needed to be established, which included an updated logo and tag name. It was also necessary to implement a multimedia strategy to gain awareness and gather leads for future tenants. Some of the objectives set forth by Bull Moose Marketing for VCEDA were building a brand presence to gain community awareness, creating an optimized website, launching social media channels to develop an organic presence, and growing target audiences through paid channels.
Through research, strategy and creative development, Bull Moose Marketing helped VCEDA reestablish the 100 Seneca building with a new identity as an up-and-coming commercial space for business owners and entrepreneurs in and around northwestern Pennsylvania. Two campaigns were built: an awareness campaign and a restaurant campaign.
The awareness campaign, created to promote 100 Seneca Cornplanter Square to commercial and retail tenants, garnered 38,506 impressions with foot traffic of 938 to their website.
The restaurant campaign, promoting space for a commercial kitchen/restaurant space, gained a total of 47,685 impressions with 883 clicks to their website.
This is a great example of how DMOs can leverage their branding strategy to achieve specific goals. Not only was the VCEDA able to establish credibility among its target audience, but was also able to implement a synergistic approach to its digital marketing. This resulted in their significant campaign success and contributed to their overall marketing goals. Destinations can also achieve long-term success by generating an effective marketing strategy. Establishing your destination’s brand identity only takes you a portion of the way toward success and efficiency, the marketing strategy ensures a long-term plan for future success.
4 Things You Need To Know About Google’s Helpful Content Update
Google has a new helpful content update and here’s what you need to know: the site is making an effort to improve the content quality of search results shown to searchers. To do so, a site-wide signal has been put in place that examines and measures the quality and relevance of the content. The better the quality, the higher it will rank when searched online.
If you want your content to rank higher with searches, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Focus on people first. Sharing content that is educational and user-friendly allows for a higher ranking.
- Avoid writing for search engines. Instead of focusing solely on using words that rank better, focus on the substance of the content you are writing about.
- Use SEO best practices to bring additional value. Increasing the visibility of content is important and creating engaging content that also ranks well is the goal.
- Remove unhelpful content. Remove or alter any past content that does not meet Google’s content guidelines to assure your content ranks higher.
Why is this important? Globally, 92% of search engine market shares are held by Google, meaning that a majority of content will be examined through Google’s content update. Utilizing Google’s update will help improve your ranking and increase visitors to your website. To optimize your rank and foot traffic, it is important to adhere to the site’s content standards.
Here are a few tips on how to optimize your content for the new content update:
- Share trustworthy information
- Post well-written content
- Address your target audience
Your credibility and visibility are essential components to have, especially in the age of digital marketing. The more helpful your content is, the greater your chances are at increasing your visibility and gaining traffic to your website.