The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

Utah Tourism Goes Global With New Marketing Approach

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Read the First DMO Download of the Year

Kick off the new year with the latest heritage tourism news. Learn about how Utah is going global with their marketing efforts, Cape Cod’s tourism destination marketing district, the biggest social media trends for 2024, and more. Check it out!

Utah Tourism Solidifies International Presence With New Marketing Approach

Utah is recognized as an appealing off-the-beaten-track destination in the United States, known for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures. In 2023, the state continues to build on its assets to attract international visitors, with a specific emphasis on Indian tourists.

However, the article highlights a significant challenge faced by Utah Tourism in 2023—the limited visa interview openings across key markets like India, China, and Mexico. The slow recovery of the Chinese market has particularly impacted Utah’s tourism, especially in destinations equipped for charter bus tours. To navigate these challenges, Utah Tourism has strategically invested more marketing dollars in the Indian market, leveraging influencer content created by rising star content creators Aakash Malhotra and Larissa D’Sa. The office has repurposed this content across various mediums, including social media campaigns, video presentations, and media pitching, to showcase the state’s attractions, especially during the winter months.

In addition to efforts in the Indian market, Utah Tourism has expanded into the Mexico market in 2023. The office has doubled its marketing budget, participated in the Brand USA Sales Mission, collaborated on co-op marketing activities with tour operators, and hosted a familiarization tour (FAM) for the first time. The proximity of Utah to Las Vegas and substantial interest from Mexican travelers have made this expansion into the Mexico market opportune.

Despite the challenges and changes in visitor dynamics, Utah Tourism remains optimistic about the future. The recovery across international markets has been positive, and they project significant growth in spending and total visits by 2026. The positive signs include a 36% growth in spending from the Indian market in 2022 compared to 2019. Utah Tourism sees these indicators as encouraging and expresses confidence in the future outlook for tourism in the state.

Rural DMOs who are considering focusing on international markets need to consider a variety of factors including an assessment of local appeal, unique selling points, infrastructure readiness, budget considerations, community involvement, collaboration opportunities, market research, and government support. A balanced approach that considers both local and international opportunities may be a great option for some rural destinations.

New District Could Boost Tourism in Cape Cod

The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce struggles with budget constraints for promoting tourism and the creation of a tourism destination marketing district. The proposed district aims to generate additional revenue as allowed by Massachusett’s 2021 economic development bill, Through this new district, the Cape Code Chamber could collect approximately $3.5 million through a surcharge on local hotel and motel bills, which would be applicable to hotels with 15 or more rooms, but requires the support of 62% of qualifying hoteliers. Currently, the Cape Cod Chamber is pursuing approval from all 15 Cape communities before moving ahead with the creation of the district.

DMOs can learn from this story about the importance of seeking innovative funding mechanisms to overcome budget constraints for tourism promotion. The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce’s initiative to create a tourism destination marketing district demonstrates a proactive approach to generating additional revenue through a surcharge on hotel and motel bills. This strategy allows the local tourism industry to contribute collectively to marketing efforts. DMOs facing budget limitations may find inspiration in exploring similar funding models, fostering collaboration among local businesses, and engaging in partnerships to amplify their promotional activities. The story also underscores the significance of aligning community interests and garnering support from stakeholders for the success of such initiatives.

Social Media Trends for 2024

This article discusses the top travel trends on social networks in 2024, providing insights for tourism brands. The trends include a preference for authentic and embodied content, with a shift towards raw and unretouched visuals. Community engagement is moving towards private conversations, impacting public posts and requiring marketers to adapt. LinkedIn is highlighted as an essential platform, evolving into an excellent B2C channel for destinations and tour operators. Generative AI, particularly in content production and retouching, is identified as a significant development. Ad activation is inevitable in 2024, signaling a “pay to play” trend dominating social networks.

Four takeaways for rural DMOs:

  1. Authentic Content Creation: Rural DMOs should focus on creating authentic and unpolished content that reflects the genuine experiences and unique aspects of their destinations. This approach aligns with the trend favoring sincerity and can resonate well with audiences seeking genuine travel experiences.
  2. Embrace Private Communication: Recognizing the shift towards private conversations, DMOs can explore more intimate channels such as private groups or messaging apps to engage with their audience. Building personalized connections and understanding how users seek information and share updates can enhance community engagement.
  3. Leverage LinkedIn for B2C: DMOs in rural areas can maximize their presence on LinkedIn, not just as a B2B platform but also as an effective B2C channel. Sharing relevant and engaging content tailored to the platform’s professional audience can help showcase the destination’s human resources, projects, and commitments.
  4. Strategic Advertising Investment: Acknowledging the “pay to play” trend, rural DMOs should consider allocating budgets for well-crafted advertising campaigns. While organic reach still matters, investing in advertising measures can significantly amplify the visibility and impact of their promotional efforts on social networks.

Rural DMOs can thrive in the evolving landscape of social media trends by prioritizing authenticity in content creation, embracing private communication channels, strategically leveraging LinkedIn for B2C engagement, and recognizing the importance of advertising investment. By aligning with these key insights, rural DMOs can enhance their digital strategies, foster meaningful connections with audiences, and ensure a compelling and competitive presence on social networks in 2024 and beyond.

A Comprehensive Marketing Strategy Made All the Difference With This Destination

Visit Crawford, the destination marketing organization for Crawford County, Pennsylvania, was struggling to communicate their offerings to potential visitors. A disjointed marketing strategy and a lack of resources left the organization with ineffective ads, a limited digital presence and an unfamiliarity with its target audience and community brand. When new leadership took the helm, Visit Crawford realized that they needed to outsource their marketing efforts to achieve the results they needed.

Visit Crawford collaborated with Bull Moose Marketing to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that helped leverage the county’s heritage tourism offerings, cultural touchstones and rich history to help the region stand out. Beginning with a variety of workshops, the organization worked with us to identify the region’s unique value proposition, target audiences and other key points to help build a strategy that would put Crawford County on the map as an ideal tourism destination. This yielded a unified brand voice and strategy, increased engagement on social media, more stakeholder participation and more.

This shows how a comprehensive heritage tourism marketing strategy can make all the difference in a DMO’s marketing efforts. Learn more about how Visit Crawford and Bull Moose Marketing collaborated to overcome challenges and achieve goals here.

  • 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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