Breathe new life into your DMO’s existing plan with these of-the-moment updates.
By Tina Kelly
With technology advances and shifting consumer priorities, the landscape of your destination marketing strategy no doubt feels like it’s in constant flux. But that doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your entire plan every time a new trend comes along. If your core strategy is solid, a few simple strategic changes may be all you need to refresh your approach for 2024.
1. Consider a Co-Op Campaign
With co-op marketing, destinations can pool marketing budgets and messaging with local tourism partners, allowing them to scale campaigns and help resource-constrained tourism businesses tap into larger marketing efforts. According to Sojern’s State of Destination Marketing 2024 report, nearly 80% of DMOs are actively partnering with local businesses, hotels and area attractions on campaigns in order to reach a larger audience.
2. Restructure Your Paid Media
If you’re only taking a seasonal- or event-specific approach to your digital marketing spend, it may be time to reconsider. Because travel intent begins long before customers actually book their trip, savvy destination marketers are increasingly turning to always-on campaigns to ensure that their destination stays top of mind with their target audience. The result is a 33% lower cost per action for U.S. destinations that run always-on campaigns.
3. Use Generative AI to Your Advantage
While for many, generative AI is a fun toy to experiment with, industries from healthcare to journalism are beginning to harness its potential — and travel is no exception. Artificial intelligence can help DMOs significantly improve their marketing strategies and tactics by efficiently analyzing an abundance of data. This allows marketers to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and improve strategic decision-making and campaign implementation.
Rather than relying solely on influencer partnerships and user-generated content, building out your own robust library of high-quality content gives users one location to turn to for in-depth information on your destination.
4. Create Video that Converts
Branded content continues to be an integral part of any destination marketing strategy, and with the increased popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels, on-demand serialized video content has become a key content type for DMOs. Take, for example, Brand USA’s multi-part, long-form video series that showcases various U.S. destinations through a range of lenses — from film to history to sports.
5. Realign Your Audience-Specific Messaging
If you’re still thinking of millennials as 20-somethings bankrupted over their love for avocado toast, it’s time to update your target audiences — and how you communicate with them. As millennials age, their buying power is increasing, and Gen Z is quickly becoming a consumer base to contend with as well, making it more important than ever to integrate these demographics’ interests into your marketing. According to research from Expedia Group, these interests include:
- TV-inspired trips. More than half of travelers say they’ve researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it on a TV show or movie, and 1 in 4 admit that TV shows and films are even more influential on their travel plans than they were before.
- Tour tourism. Nearly 70% of survey respondents say they are more likely to travel to a concert outside their own town, with over 40% saying they’d travel for a concert as an excuse to visit a new place and 30% reporting they would travel outside of their home city for a concert because tickets were cheaper elsewhere.
- Dry tripping. More than 40% of travelers say they are likely to book a detox trip in the next year, and half of travelers say they would be interested in staying at hotels that offer easily accessible alcohol-free beverage options.
6. Invest in Owned Content
Rather than relying solely on influencer partnerships and user-generated content, building out your own robust library of high-quality content gives users one location to turn to for in-depth information on your destination. It is more critical not than ever, after the rollout of Google’s Helpful Content Update, to create owned content that is unique and features expertise. This content can then fuel your various social media channels, paid search ads, native campaigns and email marketing with storytelling.
7. Audit Your Social Media Efforts
Before you spend time creating content for every single social platform, you need to figure out which ones are worthwhile. Truth is, not every organization needs to be on every platform and, most times, it’s better not to be on every channel. It’s more important to focus on the ones that’ll drive results for you. If you already have social media accounts, the best tool to help you prioritize them is Google Analytics. This allows you to see which channels drive the most traffic to your website and which get the most engagement.