The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
This Website Helps Visitors Book Lake Vacations
by Paige Schamberg
Resources to Boost Your Destination Know-how
As travelers solidify their summer travel plans, it’s time for DMOS and CVBs to get updated on the latest news and trends. This week, we dive into a new website featuring lake vacations, talk about a unique trend in the travel industry, discuss the importance of Google My Business for stakeholders, learn more about community-based travel and more. Keep reading!
New Website Launched to Simplify Lake Vacation Planning
Lake lovers, rejoice! Two female entrepreneurs from Virginia, Andie Gibson and Jennifer Church, launched a website dedicated to helping visitors find lakes where they can plan their next getaway. According to Gibson, the website contains in-depth reviews of more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs across the world. The site, called LakeLubbers.com, allows users to search for vacation lakes by U.S. state or by country, and also allows users to access information such as fish species, things to do, background information, history, unique facts, hotel and vacation rental information and more.
“In addition to site-wide advertising, we’ll soon offer lake-specific options so businesses such as restaurants, wineries, breweries, hotels, marinas and real estate companies can reach customers making travel planning and lake relocation decisions,” Gibson said. “We’ll also integrate innovative options for lake vacation rental homeowners and property managers to easily and affordably market their properties.”
This is a great opportunity for DMOs and CVBs to put on their stakeholders’ radars. With such a travel-concentrated audience and an increasing number of users and contributors, this makes LakeLubbers.com and similar websites great platforms with marketing potential. This will be a rising company to watch in the months and years to come.
The Tourism Industry Is Bringing Mocktails Back In Style
Mocktails, softtails, zero-proof cocktails… whatever you like to call them, these drinks are popping up everywhere in the travel industry, from cruises to hotels, resorts to airlines and beyond. Popular opinion is changing as many travelers are viewing nonalcoholic options as first choices and it’s changing the meaning of partying.
“Partying doesn’t mean alcohol all the time anymore,” bar director Romain de Courcy said. At the Ritz Paris where de Courcy works and many other hotels across the U.S., managers are making nonalcoholic options more plentiful. And guests are drinking it up, literally. De Courcy estimates about one in five guests order a mocktail instead of a traditional cocktail.
As Americans on average drink less alcohol, inflation continues to drive up prices and bartenders craft more drinks with flavorful garnishes, unique glassware and dramatic presentation, more travelers are selecting these options. This doesn’t mean that visitors will be forced to forsake alcohol altogether (don’t worry, your breweries and wineries are safe!), this is an important trend to note for your stakeholders. Adding more nonalcoholic options to their menus may boost overall drink sales and help travelers feel less pressured to spend at your destination.
Community-based Tourism Leaves a Positive Impact on Local People and Places
When done properly, community-based tourism, or CBT, can revive and empower local communities, educate others about unique cultures, preserve special traditions and protect regional environments. With such powerful benefits, it’s important that DMOs and CVBs are making efforts to ensure that this type of tourism is present and alive at their destinations. According to this article from National Geographic, CBT is not as easy to achieve as you might think.
With a convoluted stream of information, travelers can easily be drawn into thinking that they are helping the local communities. But what happens when that “local” restaurant is owned by someone from a faraway city? Yes, the workers are getting paid, but the lion’s share of the funds aren’t being cycled back through the local area. And what about the food? If the majority of the food is imported instead of coming from nearby farmers, then the community is benefitting from the business to its fullest potential.
It’s vital for DMOs and CVBs to encourage more and more ways that tourism revenue can flow back into the community while also ensuring that residents are being empowered with skills, not just jobs. Promoting this kind of travel is what makes a destination thrive, so it’s important to clearly communicate with travelers how their travel decisions will impact the community.
Google Business Profile Showcases Your Destination’s Amenities
It’s important to use every tool you can to attract more visitors to your area, and Google Business Profile offers many opportunities to share what your destination has to offer. A well-developed, optimized Google Business Profile listing can help your destination rank higher in search results and give your area a competitive advantage using listing geography. This includes sharing detailed and clear information about each location including hours, address, descriptions, high-quality images and more. Also, with Google acting as one of the top review platforms out there, it’s vital for businesses and amenities to encourage more people to leave positive reviews and engaging with posted comments to build an active brand presence. With around 63% of visitors consulting reviews before making a decision, it’s more important than ever for businesses to make their listing a space for positive engagement.
Encouraging your local businesses and amenities to build or enhance their listing will help you promote your whole region. While someone may not check out a business listing for your DMO, it’s important for your stakeholders to be actively engaging with reviews and updating it with the latest information to prove their credibility. Once visitors see eye-catching images, positive reviews and an updated profile, it makes them more likely to visit. Read this blog to learn more about how DMOs can leverage Google Business Profile in their marketing strategy.
Instagram Ad Inspiration for More Conversions
If your Instagram advertisements aren’t yielding the results you want, maybe it’s time to revamp your tactics. The Social Media Examiner shares some tips to help your Insta efforts generate more conversions and more people visiting your destination. Here are some of our favorites:
- Don’t hide the lede. If you’re marketing to an audience who may already be familiar with your brand, it’s important to keep the message short and sweet.
- Using creative copy attracts attention. While clear copy makes the message obvious, sometimes creative copy, like puns and jokes, is a great way to share your brand’s personality and entertain your audience.
- Help visitors visualize what your destination has to offer. Don’t be afraid to highlight specific ways travelers can benefit from visiting your region and feature high-quality imagery.
- Offer incentives. Consider giveaways or featuring some stakeholder discounts to make visiting your destination sound even more appealing.
If your destination hasn’t considered Instagram ads in your marketing strategy, then now is the time. With a younger audience than Facebook, Instagram is full of eager Gen Z and Millennial travelers who can’t wait to start exploring. Also, Instagram’s focus on quality images makes it the perfect platform for showing off the beauty of your destination.