The DMO Download

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

This Technology Will Shape Tourism in 2023

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The Latest News and Stories in Tourism

This week is full of interesting case studies and tourism outlooks. Learn how street regulations are hurting one city’s restaurant scene, ways the tourism industry can improve in 2023, technology shaping the industry and more. Keep reading!

This City Chose Parking Over Restaurants and It’s Hurting Local Tourism

Philadelphia, PA, like many other cities during the pandemic, opened up its streets and sidewalks so restaurants could stay open during quarantine. Even after the strict Covid-19 guidelines were loosened, these restaurants and eateries were able to accommodate large crowds and find tables for maskless or safety-conscious guests. Temporary permits were granted to allow for non-permanent structures and heating devices in the cold months and zoning rules were relaxed to allow for more flexibility. Not only did this help business thrive, but also created a whole new dining experience for residents and visitors to enjoy.

But, now Philadelphia restaurants are outraged and saddened as the city cracks down on outdoor dining. As written by one local restauranteur, Mike Strauss, “The Streets Department eventually updated the rules for outdoor dining in Philadelphia with fees and insurance requirements beyond the reach of any restaurant. After pushback from the restaurant community, this original proposal was readjusted with a final ruling in October 2022, with permitting and design hoops that essentially made it impossible for most restaurants to meet the requirements by the January 9th deadline.”

Many restaurants that were once thriving because of their street seating will now face some serious concerns. It’s yet to be seen just how much this will affect Philadelphia’s restaurant world, but there will no doubt be consequences. This is an example of how local legislation can affect tourism-related activities and harm the local leisure scene. It’s important for DMOs and tourism authorities to take a stand when regulations harm instead of help their communities. Read more about this story here.

How the Travel Industry Can Improve

Travel Pulse talked to travel advisors, hospitality workers, tour company representatives and other tourism professionals to discuss sales, sustainability and DEI and how the travel industry can improve on these challenging subjects. After many interviews and discussions, these are the main areas where travel needs to shape up according to the experts:

  • Sales – Although there’s been a huge push for authentic experiences, the travel industry is falling short when it comes to promoting them. Visitors are craving real connections with their destination, but the industry still isn’t delivering. For heritage tourism, this is a great opportunity to really sell your rural destinations and give the people what they want.
  • Sustainability – Ah yes, we’re still talking about sustainability. Despite the countless articles and publications about sustainable tourism, this one area where the industry can still improve. Developing and promoting more sustainable ways to experience the world is still a key initiative, because it’s what travelers are looking for and because it preserves these experiences for future generations.
  • DEI – Many travel professionals report that they’ve seen a decline in diversity, equity and inclusion in tourism marketing and travel development. It’s important that your destination is paying attention to how they are practicing inclusivity through programming and marketing.

Does your destination need to improve on these topics? If so, then the new year is a perfect time to revisit your destination’s goals and strategy.

This Tech Will Change the Tourism Industry This Year

Despite a pandemic and surging travel costs, technology continues to emerge to help improve the traveler experience. Tourism Review highlights some of the upcoming trends that travel and tourism professionals can look forward to in 2023:

  • Hotels – More and more accommodations are putting power in the hands of their guests through apps. With apps, hotels are able to promote more amenities and special offers to both future and current guests. More travelers may encounter automated hotel workers who will take care of their luggage, respond to room service and other day-to-day hotel operations.
  • Travel – Cars, planes, trains and cruise ships are all making technological advances to stay ahead of travelers’ demands. From self-driving cars and better travel security to high-speed trains and contactless technology, visitors will be encountering new ways to come to and from your destination.
  • Travel Habits – Security, robotics, AI and virtual reality are all poised to affect the industry in amazing new ways. Recognition technology will help streamline security checkpoints, robots are answering travelers’ questions and AI is helping tourism professionals determine traveler preferences. Lastly, virtual reality is making tourism look like a sci-fi novel by opening up new destinations to visitors – both real and virtual.

There’s no doubt that technology is having a massive impact on the travel industry and heritage tourism is no exception. With access to chatbots, apps, interactive websites and more, the future is at rural communities’ fingertips. Keeping up on the latest news and trends gives you the knowledge and understanding you need to make informed decisions about your destination’s technology.

Here Is Real Proof That Micro-influencers Can Boost Your Marketing Strategy

Visit Crawford, the tourism authority for a rural county in western Pennsylvania, had several marketing goals they needed to achieve. But, after developing a well-planned influencer strategy, Visit Crawford engaged with a micro-influencer whose interests aligned not only with the county’s offerings but also with the key personas that Visit Crawford was targeting. Here are some other major goals the campaign accomplished:

  • Secured over 90 original Crawford County photography assets
  • Published four blogs targeting niche audiences
  • 100+ unique engagements per influencer post
  • Over 5,000 lifetime blog views

This engagement allowed Visit Crawford to test the water with new niche audiences as well as securing more owned assets and increasing engagement. For DMOs in rural regions like Crawford County, engaging with a micro-influencer might be the answer you’re looking for. If you’re interested in diving into this topic and exploring what it could offer your destination, check out this webinar or this blog to learn more about influencer marketing tactics and trends.

  • 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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