What Does Digital Transformation Look Like for Destination Marketing Organizations?

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Digital marketing for destination marketing organizations

As we continue our series on digital transformation, we’re going to discuss the impact Covid-19 had on destination marketing and some strategies Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can use to transition into a more digital-focused era. By now we’ve all come to terms with the fact that Covid-19 shifted our world into a primarily digital one years ahead of where we were going before the pandemic. This is especially true of the travel industry, which took a huge hit to their businesses initially as we were all forced to quarantine indoors. As destination marketers were forced to pivot to primarily digital advertising, new strategies had to be adopted to continue their business in the years to come. Here are some strategies DMOs employed starting with the pandemic to shift into the digital arena.

Arrivalist/Big Data

At PRIME we employ a team of true date nerds, which was particularly helpful when it came to navigating the pandemic for our DMO clients. As people who love to not only see data and analyze it but are always looking for new ways to leverage that data into better marketing, we discovered Arrivalist. Arrivalist bills itself as a visitation intelligence company that provides actionable insights on consumer behavior, competitive share, media effectiveness, and market trends. In lamens terms, their software can be integrated into your website so that you can keep track of visitors to your website and whether or not they actually visited your destination. This gives you insight into where visitors are coming from, how long they stay, and whether or not that visitor responded to your digital marketing. Arrivalist provides you with real-time data, which can allow you to make more educated decisions when it comes to where you target your marketing spend. 

Digital marketing for destination marketing organizations.

Using More User-Generated Content 

In an era dominated by social media, authenticity has become key to succeeding in any industry but this is paramount for destination marketers. One way of creating a more authentic experience on social media is to use User-Generated Content (UGC). UGC allows your followers to see what it might be like to experience your destination for themselves. It also allows you to showcase more of your destination without having to hire photographers and models to come out and shoot every area in every season. You can even use geotagging (at your discretion) so that visitors can find that special spot and experience it themselves if they decide to visit.   

 

Digital marketing for destination marketing organizations

 

Supporting Sustainable Tourism Efforts

While sustainability in tourism doesn’t look like other aspects of digital transformation, it is the next step in destination marketing and one all DMOs should be considering or implementing already in their marketing strategies. Due to the wonderful connection that the internet provides us, the list of areas of the world that are undiscovered tourist destinations grows smaller and smaller by the year. Take our client, Visit Bozeman. Bozeman, Montana used to be a great escape for people who wanted some world-class skiing or outdoor adventure but didn’t want to deal with the crowds of Vail or Lake Tahoe. For the past 10+ years, Bozeman’s tourism industry has seen an absolute boom which has put a strain on the already accelerated growth of the town. With that in mind, Visit Bozeman partnered with local nonprofit organizations and created their Be Good to Bozeman campaign. This campaign urges tourists to give back while they visit, whether it's picking up dog poop on a hike or collecting loose fishing wire when you’re out on the river. Be Good to Bozeman urges visitors to recreate responsibly as it is the only way to preserve the destination for future generations. 

 

Shifting your destination into the digital era can be a tough task, especially if you don’t have much experience with digital marketing. At PRIME, we employ a team of digital marketing wizards who can help propel your DMO into the digital landscape. Drop us a line. 

 

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Gregg Alexander

Principal, Director of Digital Marketing


Gregg is an advisor, a strategic content marketer, and an analytics authority. He serves as the digital marketing director and the head of operations for PRIME, a marketing and design agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is a communication expert who uses inbound marketing, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, media placement, email marketing, and marketing automation to engage target markets for PRIME's clients.


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