The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
Hawai’i Approves Funding for Maui Recovery Marketing Plan
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This week, learn about why folks were moving south during the pandemic, check out the top marketing strategies in tourism, Hawai’i’s quick response to the Maui wildfires, and more. Keep reading!
Why People Moved to the Rural South During the Pandemic
There’s a new trend in rural migration in the United States. Out of all the people who moved from larger cities to rural areas in 2021, two-thirds chose to settle in the rural South. This trend is identified through an analysis of IRS data, which tracks where people moved and where they came from. The Southern rural counties attracted a significant share of those who relocated from metropolitan to nonmetropolitan areas, and the region that followed was the Midwest.
People are migrating to the southern United States for a combination of push and pull factors. These factors vary among individuals and families.
Climate is a significant pull factor, with the southern states generally offering milder winters, more sunshine, and warmer temperatures compared to northern states. This can be particularly appealing to retirees seeking relief from harsh northern winters. Additionally, the cost of living in many southern states, including housing expenses and property taxes, tends to be lower than in some northern states and major metropolitan areas, making it a budget-friendly choice for those looking to reduce living expenses.
Furthermore, employment opportunities are drawing job seekers, as some southern states and cities have experienced economic growth in various industries, including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, and energy. For retirees, the favorable tax policies for seniors, pleasant climate, and abundance of retirement communities make the South an attractive retirement destination. The high quality of life, with access to natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural amenities, also contributes to the appeal. Some individuals are motivated by family and social ties, relocating to be closer to loved ones already residing in the region.
Moreover, political and cultural factors play a role, with individuals seeking states that align with their own values and preferences. The rise of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has empowered people to live where they choose, including desirable areas in the South. Access to quality educational institutions, including universities and schools, may attract families to certain southern states. Finally, the urbanization and modernization of many southern cities offer urban amenities and job opportunities while still allowing residents to enjoy the southern lifestyle. Overall, these varied factors contribute to the diverse population of newcomers to the southern United States.
The migrations described in the article, where people are moving from larger cities to rural areas, can have various impacts on the rural economy. These impacts can be both positive and negative, and they often depend on several factors including the scale of migration, the characteristics of the migrants, and how well local communities and economies adapt to these changes. DMOs and rural destinations need to be aware of these factors as well as the positive and negative impacts on their communities.
Top Marketing Strategies In The Hospitality And Tourism Industry In 2023
This article delves into the dynamic and competitive landscape of the hotel and tourism industry in 2023. It emphasizes the need for effective marketing strategies to engage with today’s travelers and gain a competitive edge.
- Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is a powerful strategy to connect with the target audience on a personal level. It stresses the importance of showcasing the human side of the brand, featuring real people, stories, and interactions. Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to establish authenticity and relatability, fostering stronger relationships between the audience and the hotel or destination.
- Influencer Marketing: Influencer partnerships are vital in expanding reach and credibility. Collaborating with relevant influencers allows brands to tap into the influencer’s dedicated and trusting follower base. This strategy exposes the offering to a broader demographic, creating awareness among previously untapped audiences. Influencers, seen as experts in their niches, provide trusted recommendations, enhancing the brand’s reputation.
- Video Marketing: Video marketing is hailed for its immersive and captivating nature, offering a more profound experience than static images or text. It is particularly effective in conveying the intangible aspects of a destination or hotel stay, such as the atmosphere, warmth, and unique experiences. Video content engages viewers for longer periods, increasing brand engagement. Examples of effective video content include destination tours, staff interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage.
- Keyword Advertising: Targeting receptive audience segments who are already interested in travel-related topics is important for DMOs. By using keyword advertising on search engines, social media, and other websites, businesses can reach individuals actively seeking information related to the destination or brand. These ads serve as reminders to potential customers, reigniting their interest and encouraging conversions. Including strong calls to action and incentives like discounts or complimentary products can further drive conversions.
- Re-Engaging Former Guests: Fostering loyalty among previous guests is deemed crucial for sustained success. Marketing emails are a powerful tool to re-engage former guests and incentivize rebookings. These emails can be highly customized based on guest profiles and preferences, offering tailored incentives such as free child-care services or airport transfers. Re-marketing to previous guests not only encourages repeat bookings but also contributes to brand building and recall.
Ultimately, staying abreast of evolving marketing strategies in the hotel and tourism industry to enhance brand visibility, engage the target audience, and drive business growth in the face of growing competition.
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Approves $2.6 Million in Funding for Maui Marketing Recovery Plan
The Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) Board of Directors approved $2.6 million in funding for the Maui Marketing Recovery Plan. This recovery plan is a response to the devastating Lahaina wildfires and aims to rebuild travel demand from the United States market to Maui.
West Maui, which has been significantly affected by the wildfires, is a crucial part of Hawai’i’s tourism economy, contributing 15%. The fires have resulted in an estimated daily loss of $9 million in the area, according to the Hawai’i Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.
The Maui Marketing Recovery Plan, known as the Mālama Maui campaign, will focus on attracting mindful travelers to accessible areas of Maui, including various towns and regions. The campaign aims to convey messages of gratitude to visitors who continue to support Maui by patronizing local businesses, restaurants, and activities. It also emphasizes the importance of respectful and responsible travel, especially in the wake of the disaster.
The campaign’s messaging will be shared by Maui residents (kama‘āina) through various marketing channels, including earned media, digital media, and social media. Additionally, existing partnerships with sporting events supported by HTA, such as the PGA Tour, Maui Invitational, and LA Clippers training camp, will help amplify the campaign’s reach. The campaign will also focus on educating travel agents and meeting planners on mindful and respectful travel, as they play a critical role in guiding their clients.
The HTA, as a state agency, has been actively involved in responding to the emergency caused by the wildfires. They have coordinated visitor evacuations, established assistance centers, and provided information through various media outlets. HTA continues to support the state’s response and recovery efforts, including temporary housing for disaster survivors and efforts to encourage mindful visitors to return to Maui.
DMOs can glean several valuable lessons from the article about the HTA’s response to the Lahaina wildfires:
- Immediate Response is Crucial: DMOs need to be prepared for emergencies and disasters that can affect their destinations. Immediate actions, such as evacuation coordination and setting up assistance centers, are vital in ensuring visitor safety and managing crises effectively.
- Financial Preparedness: Having funds set aside for emergency situations is critical. The HTA allocated $2.6 million for their recovery plan, emphasizing the importance of financial preparedness to respond swiftly.
Responsible Travel Promotion: DMOs should emphasize responsible and mindful travel, especially in the aftermath of disasters. Encouraging visitors to support the destination and respect local communities is essential for sustainable tourism.
- Long-Term Recovery: Recovery efforts should not be short-term. DMOs need to plan for the long-term recovery of their destinations and ensure that mindful visitors continue to return.
In essence, DMOs can learn from the HTA’s proactive and multifaceted approach to crisis management and recovery, emphasizing the importance of safety, communication, financial readiness, and community support in preserving and rebuilding a destination’s tourism industry.
5 Ways to Market To Value-based Tourists
Trends are showing that visitors aren’t as impressed with travel ads touting the lowest costs. Instead, travelers are looking for something deeper: they’re looking for meaningful experiences that are environmentally sustainable and community-minded. Enter value-based tourism.
Marketing to this type of traveler requires different tactics than traditional methods. Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Identify exactly what value-based travelers are looking for in your area. Is it music? Is it food? Once you nail this down, you’ll be able to create campaigns specifically targeted toward this niche.
- Make your content accessible by speaking their language. If there is more than one language spoken in your region, designing your website to have multiple languages can allow you to reach a whole new audience.
- Highlight what your destination is doing to create a sustainable environment for the economy, community and surrounding nature. When visitors see that you are dedicated to preserving your region, they will be more likely to book a visit.
It’s important that DMOs and CVBs are marketing to this type of visitor because the trend is only likely to increase. More travelers are prioritizing the quality of the destination and experience over the price, so take care to highlight what efforts make your destination unique.