The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

Sojern Reveals First Of Its Kind Destination Marketing Report


DMO Resources to Round Out the Year

In this month’s DMO Download, learn about a first-of-its-kind destination marketing report, Gen Z’s increasing influence on the tourism industry, the difference between place and destination branding, and so much more. Keep reading!

Sojern Reveals First Of Its Kind ‘State of Destination Marketing 2024 Report’

Sojern, a digital marketing platform specializing in the travel industry, released the “State of Destination Marketing 2024 Report” which is the first of its kind and based on insights from nearly 300 DMOs, government departments and affiliated tourism entities worldwide. The report explores effective marketing strategies for engaging travelers and offers a glimpse into the future of destination marketing. Produced in collaboration with Digital Tourism Think Tank (DTTT) and supported by organizations such as Brand USA, Destination Canada, and the European Travel Commission, it provides insights into the latest trends and challenges faced by destination marketing organizations (DMOs).

Key findings from the report include:

  • Economic Challenges: Economic uncertainty, inflation, and the cost of living are significant factors impacting destination marketing strategies, with over 50% of respondents considering these areas crucial for careful planning.
  • AI Adoption: The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in destination marketing is increasing significantly. DMOs anticipate AI’s impact in areas such as content creation, predictive analysis, forecasting, data analysis, and marketing content personalization.
  • Digital Paid Media Investments: The majority of DMOs (96%) are making significant investments in paid media as a key component of their marketing strategies. Social media advertising, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and native advertising or sponsored content are highlighted as prominent channels.
  • Data and Privacy Challenges: Data provides significant value in marketing planning, but DMOs face challenges such as the lack of data integration, high data acquisition costs, and limited access to quality data. With Google’s deprecation of first-party cookies, DMOs are adapting strategies to focus on social content and obtaining more first-party data.
  • Environmental and Social Priorities: DMOs are adapting their strategies to align with sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion trends. European DMOs are leading in prioritizing environmental sustainability, while many DMOs emphasize social diversity and sustainability in their strategies.
  • Co-op Marketing: Seventy-eight percent of global DMOs are actively investing in co-op marketing campaigns, collaborating with local business stakeholders to promote travel destinations. Motivations for co-op campaigns include boosting marketing investment, expanding audience reach, and cost-sharing.

The article underscores the importance of adapting to industry changes, focusing on data, and cultivating robust capabilities in destination marketing strategies amid the dynamic and competitive travel landscape.

Generation Z's Growing Influence in the Travel and Tourism Industry

Gen Z’s influence is continuing to increase in the travel and tourism industry, emphasizing an ongoing transfer of wealth and power as Baby Boomers retire. A report by, titled “Generation Z in Travel and Tourism – Thematic Intelligence,” delves into how the preferences and characteristics of Gen Z impact various sectors within the travel industry, with a specific focus on travel intermediaries, lodging, and airlines.

One significant aspect highlighted in the article is the role of social media, particularly platforms like Instagram, in shaping the travel journey for Gen Z. The article underlines the importance of businesses, including DMOs and travel companies, utilizing social media tools to align with ‘Instagrammable’ travel trends that influence destination perception and inspire potential travelers.

Gen Z’s distinct expectations and needs from businesses are discussed, with a particular emphasis on sustainability. Companies in the travel and tourism sector are adapting to meet these demands as they recognize the significant buying power of this generation.

Leading players in the travel industry have incorporated online platforms, responding to changing consumer preferences driven by increased internet usage. Case studies are included to analyze how countries and companies have responded to the growth of Gen Z, providing insights and recommendations for the travel sector to effectively connect with Gen Z and drive revenues.

The thematic report is part of an integrated global research platform that tracks themes across companies and sectors, allowing businesses to identify important trends early and gain a competitive advantage. The article suggests that stakeholders across the travel and tourism supply chain have an opportunity to capitalize on Gen Z’s preferences, and there are notable examples of companies successfully doing so.

Place Vs. Destination Branding: Their Vital Role In Economic Development

The article delves into the critical role of both place branding and destination branding in fostering economic growth within regions. It underscores the importance of establishing a distinctive regional brand identity to attract investment, businesses, tourists, and talent, serving as a fundamental step in any comprehensive investment attraction strategy. The piece thoroughly explores the nuances between place branding and destination branding, shedding light on their unique purposes and when each approach is most effective.

Place branding is described as a strategic and holistic effort to project a distinctive identity for a geographical entity, such as a nation, region, or city. This approach leverages multifaceted characteristics, including culture, heritage, infrastructure, business environment, and lifestyle. The article provides the example of the successful “I Amsterdam” campaign, illustrating how it aimed to consolidate and globally promote Amsterdam’s identity, resonating with both tourists and businesses.

On the other hand, destination branding is outlined as focusing solely on geographical entities as tourist destinations. It aims to nurture a compelling and unique visitor experience, emphasizing attractions, activities, amenities, and overall visitor satisfaction. The “Incredible India” campaign is cited as an example of destination branding, showcasing India’s diverse and culture-rich offerings to attract tourists.

The article outlines key distinctions between place branding and destination branding, considering scope, audience, collaboration, and industry emphasis. Place branding takes a holistic approach, targeting a diverse audience, including residents, tourists, and businesses, with objectives extending beyond economic development. In contrast, destination branding specifically targets tourists and emphasizes showcasing specific attractions.

Economic development professionals are advised to carefully consider objectives, target audience, and available resources when choosing between place branding and destination branding. Place branding is deemed suitable for long-term economic health and community-wide image enhancement, while destination branding is more fitting for attracting tourists in the short to mid-term. The article suggests that the choice between the two approaches is not mutually exclusive, advocating for an integrated strategy to attract investment and foster economic development.

DMOs should note the strategic regional branding’s importance in attracting investment, businesses, and tourists. Effective place and destination branding, it emphasizes, can enhance a region’s visibility, competitiveness, and overall appeal, contributing significantly to economic growth and prosperity. The article concludes by teasing upcoming installments that will delve deeper into the place branding and destination branding processes, providing a comprehensive guide for economic development professionals in implementing these strategies in their investment attraction and marketing efforts.

Putting Your Destination On the Map

Google Business Profile is a powerful tool for DMOs who are looking to increase awareness about their destination and earn credibility with visitors. Without an optimized GMB listing, visitors won’t be able to easily find your destination’s amenities. Searchers can see a business’s hours, reviews, photos, location and more with GMB, making it a valuable asset in destination marketing. If visitors can’t find the information they need about a certain amenity, it significantly decreases the likelihood that they’ll visit it.

One misperception about Google Business Profile is that it’s only relevant for local searchers. While it is important for local searches, these profiles can be found from all over the country. Visitors who are planning a trip in the near future will be looking up potential locations to visit while at your destination. Don’t let your stakeholders pass up on an opportunity to catch a visitor’s eye with clear information and quality photos.

Encouraging your local amenities and businesses to create and develop their GMB listings boosts your area’s organic search results. Spread the word about the value of GMB for your local stakeholders and watch the online and in-person traffic increase.

  • 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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