The DMO Download

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

Rural Destinations Can Use the Metaverse, Too

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A DMO Download You Won’t Want to Miss

There’s a lot to check out in this week’s DMO Download. From Metaverse tactics for rural destinations to culinary tourism trends to travelers’ desire for deeper experiences and more, keep reading to check out the newest stories and resources to help DMOs achieve success.

What Does the Metaverse Mean for Rural Destinations?

With the word “meta” popping up in headlines in every industry, the Metaverse is staking its claim on the world. Especially in travel, there are real, tangible opportunities to jump on this trend and take steps toward a new chapter in marketing history. While large DMOs and tourism businesses are making the most noticeable waves in Metaverse tourism, rural DMOs and CVBs don’t need to feel left behind. There are lots of opportunities for them to capitalize on this trend and get their feet in the digital door.

The Metaverse gives DMOs and CVBs in rural communities the chance to market to new audiences, offer better wayfinding, develop deeper experiences for visitors and expand their digital presence. While larger, urban DMOs and tourism agencies might have big budgets for such investments, there are also funding opportunities for smaller destinations to stay in the game.

However you decide to get on the trend, there are lots of positive results that will reward creative thinking and hard work. And the most beautiful part is that, since the Metaverse is a new trend and largely unexplored, the opportunities are endless for hardworking DMOs to pave the way for future efforts. Read more about this trend and useful tactics to implement into your marketing strategy here.

Culinary Tourism Projected to Grow by 31 Billion USD

The culinary tourism market is expected to grow by over $31 billion by 2025. According to this article, the trend is spurred by an increased interest in the relationship between culture and culinary arts. As destination marketing organizations are growing their arts, cultural and culinary festivals and offerings, this kind of travel gives them even more opportunities to market to cultural travelers and foodies.

This trend offers DMOs and CVBs opportunities to highlight their region’s own festivals and unique dining options. Take stock of all your delicious dining experiences, breweries, wineries, distilleries, bakeries, coffee shops, etc., and share them with potential visitors. Travelers love food and drink, and the visitors at your destination will be no different. This also offers DMOs an excellent opportunity to partner with a micro or nano-influencer to try new places or new dishes in your region and share it with their social media followers. Create dining itineraries for visitors tailored to specific cuisines or dining styles and share high-quality photography of your area’s food options. One thing is certain: when your visitors come, they will be hungry!

This CVB Is Taking a Unique Approach to Marketing Their Area As a Meeting Destination

The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau (in Kansas, not New York) hosted the “Oh Manhattan Road Show” to showcase why their destination is a great place to hold events. The event, held at Kansas State University, allowed attendees to learn about Manhattan’s unique offerings and hosting opportunities. Not many visitors are aware of what Kansas has to offer beyond the big cities.

“Kansas is a great place to enjoy and certainly we want them to choose Manhattan, but the reason we went into the Kansas City area was so that we could help tell that story. The road doesn’t stop at Lawrence,” the CVB’s Executive Director, Karen Hibbard, said.

Not only does the CVB promote the region, but also puts together welcome packets, organizes welcome speeches and publicizes the region’s event schedule. Since the beginning of 2022, the area has already held 31 meetings and generated a $3 million impact on the area. This is a great example of how DMOs and CVBs can think outside the box when it comes to promoting their destination.

Travelers Crave Deeper, Cultural and Community-based Travel

If the headline didn’t already give you butterflies of excitement, then let us be the ones to tell you that this is great news for heritage tourism! Travel Weekly reports that travelers are seeking different and deeper ways to experience destinations, positioning cultural tourism as the rising star of the industry.

“Cultural tourism has so many different perspectives and aspects, but overarching it’s the connection of people, cultures, community and the ability for interaction on a very personal level,” President and CEO of the U.S. Cultural and Heritage Marketing Council, Richard Peterson, said.

Research is also showing that cultural travelers range widely in profiles, ages and backgrounds, although typically they are more affluent, travel in small groups and plug into the destination’s community. Adventure travel, ecotourism, wellness travel and culinary tourism all fall under this up-and-coming trend, giving DMOs opportunities to market their destination more holistically, rather than focusing on one amenity or type of traveler.

Jumping on this trend begins with a comprehensive marketing strategy. This allows you to use all your marketing resources effectively and gives visitors (and stakeholders) a well-rounded perspective on your destination. Learn more about how you can implement a marketing strategy to enhance your heritage tourism efforts here.

How to Succeed in Email Marketing

If not done correctly, email marketing can be discouraging and yield few results. But, using the right tactics and staying flexible can reveal an audience craving for more great content! This video and article from Hubspot give you the ins and outs of email marketing so you can send your subscribers better emails… and hopefully lead to more visitors! Check it out:

  1. Build a segmented list. By creating a targeted list of recipients, you can send them content tailored to their needs. The more specific the content is to the recipient’s interests, the more likely they are to open the email and start clicking.
  2. Use personalization. Even something as simple as inserting the recipient’s name or including a brief note from the executive director can increase engagement. People want to feel like they have a personal connection with your brand, so consider ways that you can make your audience feel special.
  3. Focus on subject lines. There are so many ways to catch your audience’s attention, so opportunities for great subject lines vary greatly depending on your audience. Using A/B testing can help you narrow down which subject line voice is most effective in piquing your audience’s interest.
  4. Use a simple layout and copy. As someone once said, “simple pictures are best,” and this also applies to email marketing. Busy design and loads of text can scare subscribers away, but simplicity can keep them coming back for more. Keep your email to the point, short and sweet.
  5. Clean your list. Periodically removing subscribers that aren’t engaging with your content after a specific amount of time. No one wants to be spammed, so limiting your correspondence with folks who aren’t interested might actually have them coming back later because they aren’t annoyed by your perseverance. Also, depending on your emailing platform, it can also save you money.

If you’re not implementing these tactics into your email marketing strategy (or aren’t using email marketing at all!) then now is the time. Email marketing allows DMOs and CVBs to not only keep their visitors updated on their destination’s happenings, but also allows them to have an informed and engaged audience beyond their city limits.

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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