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Tech Program Helps Economically Distressed Counties With Tourism


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This week, learn about how this program at Tennessee Tech University is helping transform rural communities, how convention and visitors bureaus can operate in a future without cookies, and why digital analytics are a powerful tool for DMOs. Keep reading!

Tennessee Tech Program Helps Economically Distressed Counties With Tourism And Economic Development

This article discusses the Rural Reimagined program at Tennessee Tech University and its efforts to transform rural communities, focusing on the example of Monterey, Tennessee. Rafferty Cleary, the cultural administrator of Monterey, was inspired by the program’s work with Jackson County and sought to involve Monterey in a similar initiative. Rural Reimagined aims to revitalize rural communities through tourism branding and economic development, leveraging science, technology, and innovation.

The program partners with distressed, at-risk, and transitional counties to help them develop their tourism brands. Student interns contribute real-world skills such as photography, design, social media, and website development. In collaboration with local officials, residents, and students, the program assists in creating a holistic approach to tourism marketing that supplies communities with the resources they need to be successful.

Monterey has had great success in developing its brand and identity, including a focus on history, museums, and natural beauty. The initiative has contributed to over 500 businesses in the past six years and has been instrumental in improving the economic conditions of counties like Jackson County, which transitioned from being distressed to at-risk.

The program’s impact analysis and services are offered free of charge to clients, as the student workers’ salaries are funded through federal and state sources. The article underscores the value of student involvement, community collaboration, and strategic branding in revitalizing rural areas and fostering economic growth. It also includes endorsements from officials and administrators who have benefited from the program.

Overall, the case study of the Rural Reimagined program emphasizes the importance of collaboration, community engagement, and a strategic approach to branding that can transform rural destinations and foster economic growth. DMOs can draw inspiration from these principles to develop and implement effective branding strategies for their own regions.

Data Strategies For CVBs In a Cookieless Future

CVBs and destination websites are facing challenges due to the looming deprecation of third-party cookies, and how they can adapt their strategies to collect and utilize first-party data effectively. Despite ongoing inflation and economic uncertainty, people continue to travel, making CVBs and destination marketers essential sources of information for travelers looking to decide where to go and what to do.

The article highlights the following key points:

  1. Transition from Third-Party Cookies: CVBs traditionally relied on third-party cookies for targeting travelers but are now faced with the challenge of adapting to a cookieless future.
  2. Importance of First-Party Data: First-party data allows CVBs to gain a better understanding of their audience and personalize their marketing efforts. It is essential for CVBs to prioritize the collection of first-party data to adapt to the new marketing landscape.
  3. Tapping into Partnerships: CVBs can partner with accommodations and hotels to gather valuable first-party consumer data. Many hotel brands have successfully implemented first-party data marketing strategies.
  4. Maintaining Consideration and Engagement: Not all website visitors book immediately, so CVBs need to remain on travelers’ radars. Utilizing tools like Google Analytics and advanced data analytics can help CVBs create tailored marketing campaigns to engage potential visitors.
  5. Creating Lookalike Audience Profiles: CVBs can identify audiences that resemble their existing travelers and target individuals with similar preferences and behaviors, increasing the chances of attracting new visitors.
  6. Embracing Privacy and Security: CVBs should ensure data protection standards while utilizing first-party data, building strong relationships with their audience.

In conclusion, the future of destination marketing lies in the effective utilization of first-party data. By adapting their strategies and leveraging the power of first-party data, CVBs can overcome the challenges posed by the cookieless future and continue to attract and retain tourism effectively.

Digital Analytics Aren’t Boring, They’re a Powerful Marketing Tool

When it comes to using analytics, it’s normal for DMOs and CVBs to focus on membership growth and hotel bed tax numbers because that’s the data that stakeholders and board members want to see. But what about data that encompasses the entire visitor journey? This is just as important as that “bottom-of-the-funnel” data because it gives you a more holistic view of your marketing efforts. And when you see the big picture, it makes your future marketing tactics more effective and reassures your stakeholders that you’re headed in the right direction.

By treating your destination website as an e-Commerce platform, DMOS and CVBs can use this data to make data-driven decisions that convert users into visitors. This doesn’t mean literally selling. Instead, you want to inspire feelings of excitement about visiting your destination, giving your website users the wanderlust that will convince them to book a trip. This blog offers tactical tips that DMOs can take to “seal the deal” with their website users. Check out how these steps and insights can help inspire you to create future programs and build a sustainable calendar of experiences to keep your visitors coming back again and again.

  • 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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