The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
How to Save Small Colleges In Rural Communities
by Paige Schamberg
Get the News You Need
From rural tourism to economic development, this DMO Download is packed with need-to-know information for DMOs from everywhere. This week, read up on an updated look at travel influencers, the state of rural jobs, how small colleges impact rural communities, and so much more. Keep reading!
DMOs Shift Towards Influencer Partnerships to Promote Travel
Influencers, who have large followings on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, are becoming an increasingly important part of destination marketing. Instead of relying solely on traditional advertising methods like billboards or magazine ads, DMOs are partnering with influencers to create content that showcases their destinations to potential visitors. Influencers are becoming an increasingly important part of destination marketing: As social media continues to grow and evolve, influencers are gaining more and more influence over consumer behavior. DMOs can no longer afford to ignore this trend and should consider partnering with influencers to promote their destinations.
Here are some additional takeaways from this article:
- Authenticity is key: Consumers today are skeptical of traditional advertising and are more likely to trust recommendations from people they perceive as authentic. Influencers are often seen as more authentic than traditional advertising channels, making them an effective tool for promoting destinations.
- DMOs should focus on building relationships with influencers: Successful influencer partnerships require more than just paying an influencer to post a photo or video. DMOs should focus on building long-term relationships with influencers, providing them with unique experiences and opportunities to create compelling content.
- Metrics matter: Like any marketing initiative, DMOs should measure the success of their influencer partnerships. They should track metrics such as engagement rates, reach, and conversions to ensure that their campaigns are delivering the desired results.
By taking these insights into account, DMOs can adapt their marketing strategies to better engage with travelers and promote their destinations effectively.
This influencer trend is likely due to the growing impact of social media and the increasing importance of authenticity in marketing. Influencers are seen as authentic and relatable to their followers, and their endorsements can carry a lot of weight. By partnering with influencers, DMOs hope to reach new audiences and generate interest in their destinations.
Rural America Added 738,000 Jobs Last Year
The 2020 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy, with job losses and business closures affecting millions of people worldwide. In the United States, rural areas have not been immune to these effects, but a recent report from the Daily Yonder suggests that rural job growth has been positive over the last two years. According to the report, rural America added 738,000 jobs during this period, representing a welcome sign of recovery. However, the report also notes that rural employment has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that there is more work to be done.
- Rural job growth can support tourism and economic development: More jobs in rural areas can lead to increased consumer spending, which can in turn support local businesses and tourism. DMOs can leverage this trend by promoting local attractions and businesses, emphasizing the benefits of supporting the local economy.
- Recovery may take longer in rural areas: While rural job growth has been positive, the article suggests that it has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. This may mean that it will take longer for rural areas to fully recover economically. DMOs and economic development agencies may need to adjust their expectations and strategies accordingly, focusing on long-term growth rather than short-term gains.
- Collaboration and innovation are key: To drive economic development in rural areas, DMOs and economic development agencies may need to collaborate with other organizations and stakeholders and adopt innovative strategies to attract visitors and businesses. This might include leveraging technology to reach a wider audience, promoting unique experiences that can only be found in rural areas, and developing partnerships with local businesses and organizations to create more compelling offerings.
Overall, this article suggests that there is potential for growth in rural areas, but that it may require collaboration, innovation, and a long-term perspective. DMOs and economic development agencies in rural areas can use this information to inform their strategies and efforts to promote tourism and economic development.
The Government Is Rescuing Rural Colleges
Small colleges can play a crucial role in rural communities, serving as important economic drivers and cultural centers. They also make tertiary education more accessible to rural students by offering opportunities close to home. However, as this Washington Post article suggests, many small colleges in rural areas are struggling to stay afloat. To make their small colleges more sustainable, rural communities might consider the following strategies:
- Diversify revenue streams: Small colleges in rural areas may have limited revenue streams, relying heavily on tuition and government funding. To make their colleges more sustainable, communities might explore opportunities to diversify revenue streams, such as partnering with local businesses, offering online courses, or investing in research and development.
- Expand community engagement: Small colleges can be important community anchors, providing cultural and educational opportunities for residents. To make their colleges more sustainable, communities might consider ways to expand community engagement, such as hosting community events, collaborating with local organizations, and offering continuing education programs for adults.
- Foster innovation and entrepreneurship: Small colleges can be incubators for innovation and entrepreneurship, providing resources and support for students and community members to start businesses and develop new ideas. To make their colleges more sustainable, communities might explore opportunities to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, such as creating a business incubator, offering entrepreneurship courses, or providing seed funding for new businesses.
- Collaborate with other institutions: Small colleges in rural areas may be able to achieve greater sustainability by collaborating with other institutions, such as other colleges, universities, or research organizations. By pooling resources and expertise, communities may be able to better leverage their small colleges and promote growth and development in the region.
Overall, making small colleges more sustainable in rural communities will require a collaborative, innovative, and forward-thinking approach. By exploring new revenue streams, expanding community engagement, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and collaborating with other institutions, rural communities can help ensure that their small colleges continue to thrive and contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of the region.
Empathy Is the Key in Getting Your Visitors to Feel Comfortable
It’s old news that the pandemic has impacted the travel industry immensely. But not all change is bad. If there’s one good thing that’s come from the pandemic, it’s the increase in flexibility. Though born out of necessity, this flexibility has allowed visitors to have more control of their travel situations in a world where control is hard to come by.
If destinations aren’t willing to give visitors the opportunity to change their plans at the last minute, it’s less likely that they’ll book in the first place. While Covid-19 has become a part of daily life, other life changes ranging from the common cold to even a death in the family can leave families needing to cancel or postpone their trip. If they can do this with little consequences, then they’ll begin to gain more trust in your destination.
This is just one way that destinations can show their visitors empathy, but there are many other ways to allow them to feel comfortable with your region. From technology to clear communication, DMOs need to be making strides to build reliable and empathetic reputations amongst travelers. Read more here.