The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

How Can Destinations Prepare to Attract Travelers Over the Coming Decade?


Heritage Tourism News

We hope you all had a happy Fourth! We may have taken yesterday to spend time with our family and friends, but don’t think we’ll skip a week getting you the news you need. In this edition, learn why cities targeting travelers in the suburbs, how to manage an online presence, how DMOs can align their marketing budget with marketing strategy, and more.

These Cities Want Suburbanites to Come Back

This article from Skift discusses the challenges faced by tourism officials in large U.S. cities in attracting suburban residents as visitors. Officials in these areas are concerned about two main obstacles. First, suburbanites often perceive cities as unsafe due to the prevalence of crime, and changing this perception is difficult. Second, with many people working from home in the suburbs, there are fewer opportunities for them to engage in additional activities in downtown areas.

Before the pandemic, suburban residents would commute to the city for work and also enjoy various activities like concerts, theater, sports games, and rallies. These activities not only kept businesses running but also contributed to the vibrancy of the city, which in turn benefited tourism. However, the rise of remote work has led to reduced foot traffic from suburban residents, affecting businesses that rely on tourist patronage.

The article highlights that suburban residents play a role as ambassadors for their nearest large urban destinations, as they influence whether visitors from out of town choose to explore the city. Local news reports and media coverage about crime-related issues contribute to the negative perceptions held by suburbanites about their nearby cities. In some cases, local residents actively discourage travel to the city, further impacting tourism.

To address these challenges, some cities are investing in campaigns to change perceptions and encourage suburban residents to visit. For example, Choose Chicago launched a campaign called “Go Live Chicago,” emphasizing the performing arts and theaters in the city. Meet Minneapolis had campaigns like “Minneapolis Momentum” and “See What All the Fuss Is About” to combat negative commentary and showcase positive experiences.

Additionally, destination marketing organizations hope that large-scale events and attractions will entice suburban residents to visit the city, demonstrating that it is still enjoyable and safe. Examples mentioned in the article include the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade in Portland and a Taylor Swift concert in Chicago.

The Key to Effective Destination Online Reputation Management

Guest reviews play a vital role in effective destination online reputation management for DMOs. As this article highlights, travelers heavily rely on online platforms and reviews when researching and planning their trips, making online reputation crucial for attracting and retaining visitors. The rise of online review platforms and social media has empowered travelers to share their experiences and shape the perception of a destination through virtual word-of-mouth. DMOs need to understand the influence of guest reviews and leverage them to build credibility, trust, and confidence among potential visitors.

Modern travelers have become researchers first and buyers second, spending significant time gathering information before making decisions. Fast, relevant, and genuine content is crucial during the search phase, and travelers value both positive and negative reviews to form a realistic image of what they can expect. DMOs can tap into the value of guest reviews by engaging visitors throughout their entire discovery journey, from the booking phase to the post-stay experience. Understanding their target audience and unique selling points helps DMOs customize marketing campaigns and offer personalized recommendations.

DMOs can harness the power of guest reviews to improve quality standards, monitor and enhance visitor satisfaction, and foster a culture of excellence among accommodations. They can actively engage accommodations by providing guidelines, workshops, and recognition programs based on guest feedback. Moreover, benchmarking against competitors and analyzing guest reviews provide actionable insights and enable DMOs to position themselves effectively in the market. By embracing guest reviews and incorporating them into their online reputation management strategies, DMOs can attract more travelers, improve quality, and stay competitive in the travel industry.

How Can Destinations Prepare to Attract Travelers Over the Coming Decade?

HospitalityNet shares the findings of Amadeus’ Traveler Tribes 2033 global study, which identifies four distinct traveler tribes and their future behaviors. The research suggests that DMOs can prepare for the coming decade by understanding each traveler tribe and adapting their strategies accordingly.

The first traveler tribe identified is the Pioneering Pathfinders, who prioritize sustainability and planning ahead. DMOs can attract this group by promoting extended stays and off-season travel, as well as showcasing their tech and sustainability efforts through virtual reality and AI-enhanced marketing.

The second tribe is the Excited Experientialists, who seek unique and thrilling experiences. DMOs can engage with this audience by promoting exclusive accommodations and experiences that are only available in their destination, leveraging first-party data and ad-serving technology to reach undecided travelers during their research phase.

The third tribe is the Memory Makers, characterized by their caution, affordability, and loyalty to well-known destinations. DMOs targeting this group can focus on marketing campaigns that highlight picture-perfect escapes paired with affordability, targeting specific age groups and advertising through travel agents’ preferred booking channels.

The final tribe is the Travel Tech-fluencers, young business travelers with a forward-looking perspective and concerns about cybersecurity and sustainability. DMOs can tailor messaging to this tribe, emphasizing the benefits of remote work in their destinations and simplifying the selection of sustainable solutions. Promoting digital nomad visas and partnering with eco-friendly accommodations and restaurants can also attract this group.

Three important takeaways for DMOs from the article are:

  1. Understanding Traveler Tribes: DMOs should analyze and understand the characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of different traveler tribes to tailor their marketing and engagement strategies effectively.
  2. Personalization and Unique Experiences: DMOs need to focus on offering personalized experiences and promoting unique attractions and accommodations that align with the interests of specific traveler tribes. This can help differentiate destinations and attract the attention of target audiences.
  3. Sustainability and Technology: Sustainability and technology play key roles in attracting future travelers. DMOs should emphasize sustainability efforts and leverage technology, such as virtual reality and AI, to enhance storytelling, improve the visitor experience, and communicate the environmental impact of activities and accommodations.

It’s important for DMOs to consider these tribes when planning and executing marketing campaigns.

How DMOs Can Align Marketing Budgets With Marketing Strategy

While destinations may sell themselves once visitors arrive, marketing is crucial to attracting tourists in the first place and requires financial investment. This article highlights the economic impact of the travel and tourism industry and the need for continued marketing efforts to keep destinations top-of-mind for potential visitors.

To secure funding for marketing, DMOs should start with an actionable marketing strategy that focuses on consumer behaviors. They should identify target audiences, conduct market research, and select the most effective marketing channels to reach their desired tourists. Allocating a substantial portion of the budget to digital media, as it is a popular and successful choice among DMOs.

It’s important that DMOs understand audience profiles and adapt marketing plans accordingly. The article encourages DMOs to prioritize tactics based on their impact, use current metrics, and consider co-op marketing opportunities and partnerships with other attractions. Evaluating advertising packages based on cost, reach, and return on investment is crucial, as DMOs often need to do more with limited resources.

DMOs need to consider the importance of maintaining and increasing destination marketing funds. It references examples of states that suffered from budget cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the positive impact of increased marketing budgets on traveler spending and tax revenue. Overall, investing in a well-planned marketing strategy is essential for the success and future of a destination.

  • 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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