Over the years, we have found the Digital Summit in Atlanta to be one of the best annual digitally-focused industry conferences available. Several Stampers attended the 2019 Digital Summit and afterwards put their heads together to summarize the digital strategies that we feel will have the most impact on the travel and tourism industry in the coming year.
Local SEO efforts are increasingly important for destinations looking to deliver relevant content to current visitors and to help convert transient travelers passing through. To rank highly in “near me” Google searches, your DMO should ensure that your destination is:
- listed in appropriate registries
- generating regular content
- verifying that listings for restaurants and attractions in your area are current
- including accurate Google Place ID location information.
This will ensure that when someone is currently located in your city or conducting “near me” searches that your resources show up and direct those travelers to the best your city has to offer. Read more about the impact of SEO here.
Mobile optimization shouldn’t be limited to just your website. If your DMO sends out a regular newsletter, keep in mind that it is projected that the majority of email recipients in 2019 will engage with that email on their mobile device. Ensuring that your newsletters are responsive, well-designed and well-thought-out is important for capturing (and maintaining) the attention of your target markets. Read more about this and other mobile email usage stats here.
We’ve covered The Power of Video for Your Destination and many other video-related topics in several previous Insights entries, but we can’t say enough about taking advantage of video as a content delivery medium. It has been repeatedly proven as one of the most effective and efficient forms of digital message delivery. Use it to generate brand awareness with the aim to achieve brand recognition among your target markets. They should recognize and retain your logo, brand identity and tagline or mission statement and be able to recall and easily find your video content when planning their next trip. Access these ten short videos to learn more about how to encourage digital media conversations about your destination.
We’ve covered YouTube’s popularity with younger demographics and many other video-related topics in several previous Insights entries, but we can’t say enough about taking advantage of YouTube as a content delivery platform due to its endurance, searchability and broad demographic reach to elevate brand awareness among potential visitors. Read more about online video trends here.
Your destination is a product that you want potential visitors to consume. And year after year, Instagram proves to be a marketing powerhouse—especially for destinations. This image-based platform can be one of the most effective tools for showcasing your destination’s beauty and experiences. Help facilitate and curate photos captured from your destination by visitors through labeled photo locations, backdrops and signs that promote the view and use of hashtags. Watch this 2-minute video about Curating Instagram Influencers.
Nope, that’s not a typo. Marketers who segmented their email databases to further maximize the user experience noted a 760% jump in revenue. Sending a one-size-fits-all e-newsletter is a sure-fire way to end up in a user’s trash or junk folder. Your target markets expect to be served information tailored to their interests. For example, if your DMO is sending the same email blast to meeting planners, leisure travelers and business travelers, you may want to revisit your strategy. Read more about effective email marketing here.
Engaging in “Review Marketing” is an effective way to help control your brand’s narrative. To do this, advise your tourism stakeholders on how to curate their online reputations and make them aware of how negative online chatter affects your destination’s overall appeal. Like most consumers, travelers typically only consult a handful of recent reviews before deciding whether or not to visit a destination. So make sure all reviews—and social media comments—don’t go unanswered. Read more here.
Bounce rates refer to the rate at which a user first lands on a website and leaves without visiting another page. The longer your website takes to load, the higher the probability that users will simply move on to try to find something better and faster. Your goal should be to keep users engaged through the imagery and content, make it easy for them to learn about your destination, fulfill desired Calls to Action (such as requesting a brochure, subscribing to your newsletter or booking a visit) all in a highly-optimized web container. Dive deeper into this and other marketing stats here.
Your website should set the stage for your destination’s entire online (and offline) presence. In addition to good functionality, it should be strategically laid out, well-designed and should tie directly into and support your DMO’s overall marketing efforts. If it’s difficult to navigate, outdated, cluttered, inconsistent, or any combination of these, it’s doing more harm than good to your brand’s credibility. To learn more about how to make your website work its hardest for you, hop over to our Insights about the importance of design hierarchy and implementing an effective interactive strategy.
At this point in time we shouldn’t have to say it, but an active social media presence is paramount to brand awareness and engagement. Allocating as little as 6 hours per week to social media marketing has been proven to increase website traffic. And by social media marketing, we mean cultivating a sound social strategy that leverages the strengths of each platform to address the interests and needs of your target markets. For more information on how to do this, head over to my article on social media best practices.
These strategies all support the overarching theme that fresh, customized, quality visual content, as well as ease of access and use of that content is no longer a luxury—it’s an expectation for anyone using the internet these days. Don’t become one of the numbers of organizations that gets left behind by not keeping up with these consumer-focused digital strategies. If your DMO is struggling in any of these areas, reach out to me to see how we can help you leverage what you are already doing into a more effective digital destination marketing strategy.