The DMO Download
A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.
Why Destination Marketing Often Falls Short
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This week’s DMO Download is packed with helpful knowledge and fascinating articles to help you do your job better. Read about how environmental concerns can influence tourism, how agri-tourism is driving Wisconsin’s economy, what the Metaverse means for rural destinations and more. Check it out.
Nevada Senator Announces Federal Funding to Protect Lake Mead Boat Ramp Access
Federal funding is being allocated to address the impact of drought on Lake Mead’s tourism economy. Senator Jacky Rosen made the announcement at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. She has been actively working to secure additional federal funds to mitigate the effects of declining lake levels on tourism.
The closure of most boat ramps at Lake Mead due to historically low lake levels has resulted in a decline in visitation. However, the conditions have improved recently due to a wet winter, raising the lake level and allowing five boat ramps to open by Memorial Day 2023.
Here are some takeaways for DMOs:
- Federal funding: The allocation of federal funds indicates that there is support at the government level to address the impact of drought on Lake Mead’s tourism economy. This can be seen as a positive development for DMOs, as it provides resources to mitigate the effects of declining visitation and maintain the tourism infrastructure.
- Advocacy efforts: Senator Jacky Rosen’s advocacy efforts demonstrate the importance of engaging with policymakers and advocating for the needs of the tourism industry. DMOs can take inspiration from this example and actively work with elected officials to secure funding and support for their destinations.
- Visitations and recovery: The decline in visitation at Lake Mead due to the drought underscores the vulnerability of tourism economies to environmental factors. DMOs should closely monitor and adapt to changing conditions, collaborate with stakeholders to promote visitations during periods of recovery and diversify their tourism offerings to mitigate the risks associated with reliance on a single attraction.
The situation at Lake Mead is a textbook example of how environmental challenges can affect destinations, especially those that rely on outdoor recreation to boost their economy. It’s vital for DMOs in these destinations to ensure they are making efforts to protect their amenities by securing funding and establishing parameters that will ensure their amenities are around for years to come.
Wisconsin Promotes Agricultural Tourism in Roadside Campaign
The Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association has announced a roadside campaign to promote agricultural tourism in the state. Large red signs with QR codes will be placed at rest stops, directing visitors to nearby farms and agricultural tourism experiences such as wineries, petting zoos, and berry patches. The campaign aims to highlight and promote agri-tourism spots to interstate travelers and is a partnership between Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation, the Agricultural Tourism Association, and the Disability Service Provider Network. Farmers participating in agri-tourism are excited about the campaign because it will make their farms more easily accessible to tourists and help create a collective platform for farmers. The partnership is also expected to increase traffic through Wisconsin’s rest stops.
Agricultural tourism can be a great opportunity for many rural destinations. Not only does it bring economic benefits to rural destinations by generating additional revenue and stimulating the local economy, but it also provides an opportunity for rural communities to diversify their income sources, reducing their dependence on traditional agriculture. In addition, agricultural tourism helps preserve rural culture and heritage, fosters community development and promotes education and awareness about farming practices and sustainability.
By embracing agricultural tourism, rural destinations can differentiate themselves and create unique selling points for their region, attracting tourists who are seeking authentic and unique travel experiences. It also contributes to environmental stewardship by promoting sustainable farming practices and raising awareness about conservation efforts.
Additionally, agricultural tourism helps extend the tourism season in rural areas, providing a more consistent flow of visitors throughout the year. This reduces reliance on specific seasons or events and enhances the long-term development and sustainability of rural communities.
Agricultural tourism offers rural destinations a range of benefits, including economic growth, diversification of income, cultural preservation, community development, education, destination branding, environmental stewardship, and extended tourism seasons. By leveraging their agricultural assets and promoting sustainable practices, rural destinations can enhance their appeal, create memorable experiences for visitors, and ensure the long-term development and sustainability of their communities.
Why Destination Marketing Often Falls Short and How It Can Be Better
Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations have a significant influence on travel decisions, especially when offered by friends and family. According to the survey, personal ties accounted for 85% of respondents’ choice of destination, while digital marketing efforts had less impact at 19%. This highlights the importance for DMOs to recognize that traditional marketing campaigns may not be as effective as personal recommendations in driving travel decisions.
Industry insiders offer valuable insights for DMOs to consider. Firstly, they should avoid relying on clichéd and repetitive imagery in their marketing campaigns. Instead, they should strive to create unique and authentic content that resonates with their local community and presents the destination in a compelling way.
DMOs should also focus on understanding the motivations behind travelers’ decisions and provide exciting opportunities and experiences that align with those motivations. By showcasing the “why” of travel, DMOs can establish a stronger connection with potential visitors.
It is also crucial for DMOs to consider underrepresented audiences, such as the 50+ female traveler, and tailor their marketing efforts to meet their specific needs and preferences. Additionally, DMOs should highlight authentic family experiences, catering to the needs and interests of families with young children. Incorporating recommendations from other families and building a trusted community can contribute to attracting and engaging these travelers.
DMOs should recognize the influence of personal recommendations and focus on establishing meaningful connections with their target audiences. By understanding consumer motivations and preferences, DMOs can refine their marketing strategies to better align with the decision-making process of travelers.
What Does the Metaverse Mean for Rural Destinations?
The Metaverse, a virtual world parallel to reality, is becoming a reality, and it is expected that a large percentage of people will be in the Metaverse by 2030. While virtual experiences are gaining traction, in-person travel and authentic experiences are still highly valued. Rural destinations can embrace this technology without replacing traditional tourism. DMOs and CVBs can utilize the Metaverse to offer an elevated experience and stay relevant in an ever-evolving industry.
Here are some takeaways for DMOs to consider:
- Embrace the Metaverse: Stay updated on the latest news and trends surrounding the Metaverse. Being an early adopter will allow you to test new marketing opportunities and establish a strong presence as the Metaverse grows.
- Utilize Virtual Experiences: Incorporate elements of the Metaverse into your marketing strategies. Offer virtual tours, allowing visitors to explore destinations before they arrive. Virtual experiences can help with wayfinding and familiarize potential visitors with the region.
- Get Creative with Meta Tactics: Create digital merchandising and advertising to engage users and spread awareness. Consider incorporating NFTs into giveaways and contests, providing incentives for ownership. Develop immersive digital experiences that showcase historical amenities or re-create the past. Encourage stakeholders such as hotels, museums, and festivals to offer “try before you buy” experiences.
By embracing the Metaverse and implementing these tactics, rural destinations can attract a wider audience, provide unique experiences, and ensure their relevance in the rapidly evolving world of tourism marketing.