The DMO Download

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

This Sleepy Downtown Turned Itself Into a Popular Tourist Destination

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Never Fear, More Resources Are Here

Looking to stay on top of the latest economic development and heritage tourism news? We’ve got a great lineup of stories and articles to help you keep you ahead of the game this week. Check out the Memorial Day travel forecast, how one Pennsylvania small town turned itself into a popular destination, how you can get stakeholder buy-in on branding and more. Keep reading!

Take a Look at the Latest Memorial Day Travel Outlook

Memorial Day travel is expected to near pre-pandemic levels this year. Nearly 39.2 million people are taking to the sky and roads this year despite rising fuel costs and inflation. Research from AAA estimates that 3 million people will fly and 34.9 million will travel to their destinations by car. Here are some more key takeaways from the report.

  • Over 39 million travelers will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend.
  • 1.3 million will use other modes of transportation such as buses, trains and cruise ships.
  • Car travel increased by 4.6% since 2021 and airline travel by as much as 25%.
  • Consumer spending is forecasted to increase by 9%.

This is important information for DMOs and CVBs whose communities have many Memorial Day weekend offerings. While Americans are still willing to spend money on travel, it’s important to keep in mind that many families will still feel financially restricted. Consider highlighting free or inexpensive amenities or ways to enjoy the weekend. Also, the trend of closer-to-home travel continues, so many potential visitors might be from in or around your region.

This Sleepy Downtown Turned Itself Into a Popular Destination

In the town of West Chester, Pennsylvania, vacant storefronts and evidence of property crimes were common sights in their downtown area. But, that was all 20 years ago. Now, this town has revived itself into becoming the epitome of idyllic small-town living. With highly walkable downtown streets and over 60 bustling restaurants and as many, if not more, boutiques and shops, this an economic development rags-to-riches success story.

So, what changed? A range of factors came into play including a nearby growing university, a busy courthouse (West Chester serves as the Chester County seat) and an increased public interest in small-town life. These elements mixed with a tireless passion and work from the local community and business owners to turn their town into a hotspot for shopping, dining and entertainment.

West Chester serves as an encouraging example of how hard work and dedication can bring destinations back to life. It’s been a long road to recovery, nearly 20 years, and this community is still working towards more economic and cultural development. Whether you’re a DMO, CVB or economic development authority, establishing the framework for a scalable marketing strategy can help attract the business owners and visitors needed to have an equally successful revitalization. Learn more here.

Explore the ‘Definitive’ History of Short-term Rentals

In this feature from Skift, reporter Dennis Schaal takes a deep dive into the history of short-term rentals across the world, from their first inception to their rise in popularity during the pandemic. Interviews with key players, such as executives and founders of vacation rental empires, shed some light on how this industry has changed over time and where it could go in the future. In this first part of the reporting, DMOs and CVBs can learn about their origin story and the brain behind the movement.

For DMOs and CVBs, this is a valuable read. As these accommodations become more and more popular amongst travelers, it’s important to stay informed. Whether your destination is looking to attract more vacation rental owners or navigate your current ones, this will help expand your knowledge. Also, keep an eye out for part two!

The Avengers Show Us What We Need to Know About Stakeholder Buy-in

We learn from stories— and that’s why movies are such powerful teaching tools. So when Bull Moose Marketing’s VP of Client Strategy, Ron Mattocks, told us that he learned about stakeholder buy-in from The Avengers, we weren’t surprised.

It takes a village to give visitors a good experience, so getting stakeholder buy-in is essential when it comes to developing a good, consistent destination brand. Your brand represents your whole community, making it vital to involve the community in your branding efforts. Getting everyone on board is not always easy. But, as The Avengers show us, it’s possible for independent and talented individuals to join together and become one unstoppable force. In our latest blog, Ron highlights the seven important steps The Avengers took in achieving this trust and reveals how DMOs can apply this to their relationships with their stakeholders.

As a DMO or CVB, getting buy-in can feel like an impossible task. But, with the right attitude and these tactics, you can lead the charge for your community’s new brand with a strong team behind you. For even more branding insights, check out our on-demand webinar.

Set Step By Step Goals for Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

It’s important to set goals in your marketing efforts. They help you track which tactics are successful and which ones should probably be nixed. You can also see which posts are resonating with your audience and help you keep up with other trends amidst your following. In this video, Hubspot gives you some insight on social media platforms and how they can help (or not help) marketers. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Social media platforms aren’t designed for your organization’s goals. They’re designed for their business goals.
  • You can measure your social media efforts through a variety of metrics, but the biggest ones are organic reach, engagement, ROI and visitor feedback.
  • When starting to measure your goals, don’t get overwhelmed by trying to set a bunch of goals all at once. Instead, pick one or two and start working towards those.

If you’re a DMO or CVB who isn’t sure about how effective their social media is, then this is an important (and quick) video to watch. Knowing which metrics to track will help you understand what’s working and what’s not, leading to a more effective strategy and a more engaged audience.

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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