We are asked regularly about the benefits of Marketing Action Plan (MAP) development. Because this process is so specific to each individual destination, we began offering a free hour of MAP consulting to 3 DMOs each month. During one such consultation with a +/- 1,000 room destination that has strong occupancy by business travelers and contractors during the week, the discussion naturally turned to how they could increase their leisure traveler visitors during the weekends to grow overall occupancy levels. But, since they are a smaller destination, they have limited lodging options to offer leisure visitors and they have limited funds with which to attract them. Our suggestion: get granular.
While most clients are aware that digital marketing firms can get granular with their technology (we certainly do), DMOs often fail to identify and then actively guide their digital marketing providers to segment their target markets in granular ways. The Marketing Action Plan development process digs deeply into your occupancy trends, any available research, your first-hand knowledge, and ideally leverages your stakeholder’s insights into your destination to help identify granular opportunities for incremental growth. And by more fully understanding the occupancy growth opportunities of your destination combined with what attracts visitors to your destination, you can get more granular with your marketing efforts.
Start by segmenting your primary MAP target groups into specific persona subsets. Most often this involves defining several subsets of leisure travelers, but this approach will also work for several other target groups depending on the offerings of your destination.
For your reference, below are two examples of very specific leisure traveler subsets identified during MAP development assignments we have completed recently for different destinations. In these cases, we proposed very granular (both affordable and effective) marketing processes for each of these subsets:
- In the first case, road biking enthusiasts were identified as a viable persona subset for this particular destination. While this target audience is admittedly large world wide, we leveraged research that revealed how far they were typically willing to travel for road biking experiences. By getting granular with this Leisure Traveler target market and focusing ad spend within a specific geographical radius, the DMO will be able to make their budget go the extra mile and effectively reach one of their target audiences that could help grow year-round incremental occupancy.
- For another DMO, we identified birding enthusiasts as a potential subset of the Leisure Traveler target market. While this had a lot to do with the geography of this destination, the demographics and travel habits of this Leisure Traveler subset also aligned with this destination’s occupancy growth opportunities. While this persona is already pretty specific, we proposed that the DMO could get even more granular with their marketing approach by understanding the migratory patterns of the specific species of birds found in their area to build an editorial calendar to manage a highly-targeted digital strategy that could take full advantage of occupancy opportunities.
We get it—getting granular with your marketing will take extra effort. But doing so can help drive occupancy growth by effectively engaging your target markets in highly specific, personalized, relevant, and timely ways. Take advantage of one of our free one-hour MAP development calls to help you formulate ideas to get granular with your own marketing. To book an upcoming consultation, contact Susan Bryan.