The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
These Destinations Are Implementing Effective Marketing Strategies
by Paige Schamberg
Start the Year Off Right With the Top DMO News
Welcome to 2022! With a new year comes new resources to help you and your destination connect with visitors. Read how some DMOs are making a splash in the industry, learn what makes a destination smart and check out how you can design your website to convert users into visitors. There’s a lot of helpful information this week, so read on!
Connecticut Launches New Marketing Campaign for Winter Months
Connecticut is launching a new marketing campaign to draw in tourists during the winter months. “The State I’m In” campaign hopes to reflect a vibrant and diverse Connecticut to reach visitors through both English and Spanish channels. The integrated campaign will also feature:
- Billboards with authentic, user-generated images from visitors and residents
- A multi-platform social media campaign
- New content on the state’s official tourism website (which is currently trending towards 7 million web visitors for 2021)
- Earned media placements in public relations and email marketing publications
“As we begin the important process of refreshing Connecticut’s branding with this campaign, we need to update the perceptions people have of Connecticut — and showcase the exceptional quality of life we offer both visitors and residents,” The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s director of branding Christine Castonguay said.
These tactics will help “spotlight many unique and unexpected experiences” by featuring hundreds of Connecticut’s tourism-related businesses. This thorough and integrated plan will give Connecticut a big advantage in New England’s tourism industry.
This is a great example of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for DMOs, with the goal being wider audience reach and connecting with underserved populations. By sharing your message through an integrated campaign, you can open the door to a whole new demographic of visitors.
Visit Lake County Earns Illinois’s Cooperative Partnership Tourism Award
Visit Lake County, the official destination marketing organization for Lake County, IL, received an award for “Best Cooperative Partnership” during the state’s Excellence in Tourism Awards. The DMO’s summer marketing campaign featured partnerships with Six Flags Great America and Lincolnshire Marriot Resort to spotlight the county’s attractions and events.
“We are thrilled to be recognized. Lake County has so much to offer, from small businesses to amazing downtown experiences, and popular destination drivers like Six Flags Great America,” Visit Lake County President Maureen Riedy said.
The Lake County partnership meant that marketing efforts could show visitors that their area is a destination, too. This allowed their small businesses to benefit from Six Flags Great America’s tourism success and contribute to the overall economic development of the region.
Effective partnerships with both large and small attractions are a great combination when it comes to attracting a wider audience of laid-back travelers, large families and adventure seekers. Joining forces with your stakeholders means you can not only spread the word about your destination to new visitors, but also allow businesses through the region to benefit from tourism success.
Smart Destinations Follow These Five Pieces of Advice
Mabrian Technologies, a travel intelligence company, released their top five tips that make a destination technologically “smart.” In this article from Travel Daily News, Mabrian Technology’s Sales and Marketing Director Carlos Cendra shares that tourism’s pandemic recovery is found in “the proper use of “travel intelligence.”
“That’s because the use of data, based on an analysis of multiple sources of information, can help destinations to have valuable insights in order to anticipate market trends so that they can design both tourism marketing plans and strategies,” Cendra said. Some of Mabrian Technology’s advice, which is especially useful for DMOs across the U.S., includes:
- Identifying the right data sources and tools for your destination.
- Generating insights from real-time data and turning them into an actionable strategy.
- Establishing a data-driven culture in your DMO by monitoring and managing impactful KPIs.
- Responding to changes quickly and adapting as the industry evolves.
- Constantly monitoring and measuring the impact of your decisions on your destination and adapting accordingly.
Following this advice will help destinations track what is connecting best with online visitors in order to develop resourceful, sustainable and successful campaigns. Ensure you’re implementing data into your own destination’s decision-making processes to improve your marketing strategy.
Best Practices for Travel Tourism Websites
When it comes to communicating information to your visitors, there’s no contest: online is the first place they’ll look to learn more about your destination. That means your digital presence needs to be user-friendly, informative and attractive. This article from Forbes offers a straightforward look at best practices on developing a website that yields a high conversion rate, turning your users into visitors. Here are some top tips that DMOs need to note:
- Your website needs to have clean, intuitive search forms. Make sure your information is answering your visitors’ questions, from “where” to “when.” A highly searchable website means your users are more likely to see that your destination is just the getaway they’re looking for.
- Your website’s search results need to be clear and comprehensive. Using elements such as photo previews, a visible search bar and cookies allow users’ search experiences to be more personalized and increases the opportunity for conversion.
- Sell your destination as an experience. Visitors aren’t just looking for a place to go. They want an immersive and unique experience. Your website needs to include information that is conducive to the kind of getaway they want. Include pages about different travel experiences such as food, hiking, history and others that website users can choose from.
Implementing these practices into your website development will create a user experience that is clear, comprehensive and personalized. This shows visitors that you not only care about their online experience but also their in-person experience at your destination.
Market Your Whole Region, Not Just a Single Amenity
When visitors are planning a trip to a destination, there’s one simple truth: a destination with multiple attractions always sounds more exciting than a destination with one attraction. And with the right strategy, your destination can meet their expectations, too.
It can be easy for DMOs to fall into the habit of promoting only one attraction or amenity. But doing so isn’t the best use of your marketing budget because your destination has a lot to offer all kinds of visitors. By promoting your region’s historical attractions, you can open up a whole new demographic of visitors to your destination.
By marketing your restaurants, breweries, wineries and cafes, you can reach travelers who are chasing down their next flavor. Whatever you have to offer, there’s a visitor who is interested in making it a part of their getaway. Promoting your whole area offers the opportunity to market to all kinds of visitors so that your stakeholders and local economy will benefit.
Before settling on a marketing strategy with a limited promotions calendar, consider all your amenities and attractions and begin marketing them together as a whole experience. Your visitors will be blown away by how many things your area has to offer, coming back again and again in order to try them all.