The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

How Can Destinations Plan for the Nighttime Economy?


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This week, learn about how planning can help destinations benefit from nighttime economies, why diversity is important in tourism leadership positions, why the U.S. hasn’t fully recovered from Covid-19, and how marketing strategies – not tactics – are vital to your destination’s success. Keep reading!

How Can Destinations Plan for the Nighttime Economy?

For rural DMOs, this article implies that they, too, can benefit from considering and investing in the nighttime economy. While the examples in the article focus on downtown areas in cities, the concept of the nighttime economy can be relevant to rural destinations as well.

The nighttime economy refers to economic activity that occurs during the evening and early morning hours. This includes businesses such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and performance venues, as well as the various industries that support them, like food suppliers, transportation providers, and event production companies.

For rural areas, investing in and promoting a thriving nighttime economy can have several advantages:

  1. Economic Impact: A vibrant nighttime economy can boost local employment opportunities and generate economic output for businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. This, in turn, can lead to increased revenues and tax income for the region.
  2. Tourism and Attraction: A well-developed nighttime economy can attract tourists and visitors, encouraging them to spend more time and money in the area. This can help to diversify the tourism offerings of rural destinations and extend the duration of tourists’ stays.
  3. Retaining Residents: A lively nighttime scene can contribute to the quality of life for local residents, making the area more attractive and enjoyable to live in. It can also encourage the retention of younger populations who seek active nightlife and leisure options.
  4. Cultural and Social Growth: A thriving nighttime economy can promote cultural activities, performances, and events that showcase the local arts and entertainment scene. This fosters a sense of community and encourages social interactions.

To capitalize on the potential benefits, rural DMOs can consider proactive planning, developing strategies to encourage the growth of the nighttime economy while also addressing potential challenges such as noise, safety, and coexistence with residential areas. By recognizing and nurturing the nighttime economy, rural destinations can create a more dynamic and appealing environment for both residents and visitors.

The Travel Boom Hasn’t Been Inclusive And One Woman Is Seeking Solutions

Stephanie Jones, founder of Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance and Blacks in Travel & Tourism, has been advocating for more Black representation in leadership positions within the sector and is making efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the US travel and tourism industry. She has created Black cultural heritage tours to support local businesses and attract tourists to communities of color. Jones aims to develop a pipeline of Black leaders in the tourism industry and seeks to unite Black professionals through initiatives like Blacks in Travel and Tourism.

For DMOs, this article highlights the importance of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the travel and tourism industry. DMOs can learn from her efforts to address the underrepresentation of Black professionals in the US travel industry.

Key takeaways for DMOs to note include acknowledging the disparities in diverse leadership within the tourism sector, promoting Black cultural heritage tours to support local businesses and enrich tourism offerings, and advocating for the inclusion of Black voices in travel recovery and policymaking discussions. Collaborating with other organizations and forming alliances can lead to new opportunities and insights.

Supporting training and educational programs for future Black tourism leaders is essential for creating a more diverse talent pool. DMOs should be intentional in promoting diversity and inclusion within their organizations and decision-making processes.

Overall, DMOs can draw inspiration from Stephanie Jones’ initiatives to foster a more inclusive and diverse tourism ecosystem within their regions.

Why Hasn’t the U.S. Made a Full Tourism Recovery?

The U.S. tourism industry has made significant progress in its recovery from the pandemic, with increased bookings for hotels, car rentals, and tours. However, it still faces challenges in achieving a full recovery. One major factor is the decrease in Chinese tourists, which has hindered the industry’s recovery, and efforts to attract them back depend on restoring flight schedules and increasing visa applications. Additionally, struggles with overseas markets and business travel are impacting the industry’s recovery, and changes in marketing platforms, such as the potential ban of TikTok, could disrupt efforts to attract international travelers. DMOs should pay attention to these issues to develop effective strategies and collaborations to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable tourism recovery.

There are several key lessons from this that DMOs should know to navigate the challenges and opportunities in the tourism industry’s recovery:

  1. Diversify Target Markets: The decrease in Chinese tourists highlights the importance of diversifying target markets. Relying heavily on a single market can leave DMOs vulnerable to sudden disruptions, such as travel restrictions or geopolitical tensions. DMOs should work on attracting visitors from a wide range of international markets to ensure a more stable and resilient tourism industry.
  2. Be Adaptable in Marketing: Marketing platforms play a crucial role in attracting travelers. DMOs should be adaptable and responsive to changes in marketing platforms, such as the potential ban of TikTok. Being able to shift advertising efforts to other popular platforms quickly will help maintain visibility and engagement with potential visitors.
  3. Promote Responsible Tourism: As the industry recovers, DMOs should also prioritize responsible and sustainable tourism practices. Striking a balance between attracting tourists and preserving the destination’s natural and cultural assets is essential for long-term growth and community well-being.
  4. Leverage Technology and Data: DMOs can benefit from using technology and data analytics to understand traveler preferences, behavior, and market trends. Data-driven insights will enable more effective marketing strategies and targeted campaigns to attract the right audience.
  5. Embrace Innovation: Innovation in the tourism industry will be critical for adapting to changing circumstances and consumer demands. DMOs should embrace new technologies, digital marketing strategies, and innovative tourism products to stay competitive and relevant in the evolving travel landscape.

Overall, DMOs should remain proactive, flexible, and strategic in their approach to recovery, addressing challenges while seizing opportunities to foster a sustainable and thriving tourism industry.

Marketing Tactics Are Not a Strategy for Heritage Tourism

Having a strategic approach to heritage tourism marketing is vital, especially for the rural DMO. While marketing tactics like promoting events and attractions are essential, they should be part of a larger strategy that focuses on long-term goals and not treated as a strategy themselves. Smart marketers start promoting a community and its assets well in advance, creating an integrated marketing plan that goes beyond events. This strategy involves collaborating with community businesses and stakeholders to draw tourists to the entire area, not just one attraction.

This article showcases examples of successful heritage tourism marketing strategies that have led to significant growth in small towns. By investing in a well-thought-out marketing plan that considers various aspects of the community, such as commerce, real estate, and history, towns can attract tourists, businesses, and new residents.

In conclusion, heritage tourism marketing requires a strategic approach that looks beyond short-term tactics and focuses on building a sustainable and thriving tourism industry. By investing in well-planned marketing strategies, destinations can maximize their potential and see substantial growth in both tourism and community development. Learn more about the power of data-driven marketing strategies here.

  • Paige Schamberg

    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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