The DMO Download

A weekly digest on economic development and cultural, heritage tourism news.

Don’t Fall For the Latest Fake Review Scam

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Don't Miss the Latest Heritage Tourism News

There are a lot of great stories to explore this week! Read about a fake review extortion scheme, why travelers are willing to pay for more inclusive choices, how to prepare for your Google Ad Grant application and so much more.

Are These Fake Reviews or an Extortion Scheme?

Lately, an extortion scheme has been floating around in the restaurant world, leaving some to wonder if the travel industry is next on their list.

Looking almost like blackmail, restaurant owners in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and others are being threatened with mass postings of one-star reviews unless they turn over a number of online gift cards determined by the scammers. And restaurants aren’t the only ones who are heavily reliant on internet reviews, leaving some experts to wonder if this terrible trend will continue in the travel industry.

This isn’t the first time that fake reviews have hurt destinations. With research showing that 20-40% of travel site reviews are fake, it’s no surprise that this could affect the travel industry next, but it’s important to know everything you can about this scam since it’s a new approach to an old situation. While there is no singular way to handle this, it’s important to take time and consider some action plans in the event it could happen to you.

Travelers Are Willing To Pay For More Inclusive Choices

Expedia released new data showing that 7 in 10 travelers are willing to pay more when making a travel choice that is inclusive to all types of travelers. Despite this traveler sentiment, only 54% of those surveyed said they have seen travel options that are accessible to all abilities and types of travelers.

This gives destinations a great opportunity to give visitors exactly what they’re looking for and still stand out from the crowd. This can look as simple as representing more types of travelers in your marketing materials or even engaging with influencers that fall into these categories. People want to see others like them enjoying what your destination has to offer. Not only does this show them that you have activities that they can enjoy, but also that your destination is a welcoming environment for them.

A Downtown With More Housing Than Commerce Is On Pittsburgh’s Horizon

Several large housing projects are underway in downtown Pittsburgh, including a plan for 254 apartments to be constructed. While the number of residents in the area has decreased since the pandemic, the hope is that more housing will attract residents who are looking for downtown city life within walking distance of their homes. Now, the downtown area has the fifth highest percentage of commercial real estate in the country, but many of these spaces sit empty as remote work becomes more commonplace.

“The fundamentals of Downtown are extremely strong. People want to live in walkable neighborhoods and love the accessibility that Downtown provides to cultural and sporting events. Working from home will make that more appealing to come. They want the opportunities to get out in the city and meet new people,” Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, said.

The Downtown Conversion Pilot Program looks to solve this situation by converting unused commercial real estate into affordable housing for young professionals and young families. Not only is this a huge benefit to downtown revitalization, but also serves as an environmentally-friendly solution to housing concerns in the city. This is a great example of how adaptive reuse can affect community revitalization. Once this project is completed, it will help boost traffic to local businesses, beautify the area and make Pittsburgh a better place to work and live.

Read This Before Applying For the Google Ad Grant

The Google Ad Grant gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 a month in Google Ads, which means that it’s imperative to make sure your organization does everything it can to win it! Google Ads are an excellent way to get your destination in front of potential customers. It can help you:

  • Raise awareness about your destination’s offerings
  • Draw in more visitors to your website and digital content
  • Give you metrics to measure your marketing efforts
  • Allow you to reach people who are actively looking for your amenities and members

These grants make a huge difference to destinations with limited marketing budgets for qualifying nonprofits and charities. To make sure your organization is eligible and to learn more about the grant, check out our checklist.

This Is the Content You Should Be Using In 2023

As summer begins to slip into fall, it’s time to start planning for next year’s content. Marketing Insider Group shares the top trends that they predict for the coming year. It’s important to start planning ahead to ensure that you’re on top of the latest content trends, especially as visitors start to look ahead to future travel. Interactive content will be a must in 2023, including lookbooks, quizzes, contests and games, solution finders and so much more. Here are some other key takeaways:

  • Blogs earn more site visitors and views.
  • Video traffic will account for 82% of all online traffic by the end of this year.
  • Interactive content stands out significantly from static content produced by most brands.
  • Infographics are shared 3 times more than any other type of content on social media.
  • User-generated content will play a big role in visitor engagement.

Your visitors want to see interesting and relatable content. Spend time this year carefully planning next year’s content strategy to make sure you’re reaching your audience in a way that will keep them engaged and excited about what your destination has to offer.

Paige Fay
Content Production Manager at Bull Moose Marketing. A lover of literature and a sunshine enthusiast who probably drinks too much tea. Connect with me on LinkedIn @paigeschamberg

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