In case you missed our recent blog post, the HootBoard team had the pleasure of attending and exhibiting at the Destinations International conference back in July and we were able to learn quite a bit about the trends impacting both destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and the tourism industry as a whole. In the month plus since the conference, we’ve been fortunate enough to have been meeting with DMOs from around the country to discuss their unique challenges when it comes to visitor experience and engagement.
As we’re all well aware, destination marketing dollars are often focused on the need to drive visitors to a destination (the old heads in beds quandry) but for many locations, this leaves a gap when it comes to information on the ground. How are visitors finding their way around a destination and how are we, as tourism professionals, making sure that our visitors are making the most of what we have to offer them? We’re hearing echoes of this challenges in nearly all of our conversations – when a visitor has the entire web at their disposal, how do we make sure they’re getting the right information when they need it?
Here are 3 quick ways to help your visitors find the information they need in-destination:
Curate and Cultivate Information
First and foremost, visitors are looking for an easily digestible, curated source for their information. Sure, they can google anything at anytime on their mobile phone but visitors want information from a source they can trust and how can you guarantee they’re finding your website when they’re looking. You’ve done your best to highlight the best that your region has to offer on your site – don’t leave it up to a search query to get the information in front of your visitor when they’re in-destination. As the expert on your region, you’ll know where to find the bulk of your visitors – the best hotels, attractions, and meeting spots – and where to surface information to a ready and waiting audience.
Surface Information When It’s Needed
Because of the nature of tourism, your audience will already be collecting in the usual spots. As we mentioned – you already know the top 10 or 20 locations to reach visitors in your region. You essentially have a captive audience who will be looking to consume your curated information about the region. You can install brochure racks or visitor centers, place a volunteer guide, try a touchscreen kiosk – the important thing is to get information to these people when they’re looking for it. Imagine your visitors have just left your city’s most popular museum and they’re looking for a lunch spot – this is your opportunity to help them find one of your recommended locations. Surface the information that you want visitors to see when they want to see it and you’ll help everyone make the most of their visit.
Tailor the Information to Each Location
Lastly, don’t deploy the exact same information at each of your top visitor location. Today’s traveller is savvy and wants at least the feeling of some customization. If you’re recommending the same restaurant at each attraction, your visitors will lose the trust you’ve built by having an in-destination experience. Think about your goals and tailor the experience slightly to make sure you’re helping your visitors really find what they’re looking for at each location. Recommend nearby restaurants and attractions, help travelers take the next step on their journey, and most importantly – make sure they’re having a great time.