We already know that today’s traveller is becoming less likely to plan their trips in advance and more likely to make decisions on the fly. Couple that with our ever-present connection to information (via our smart-phones) and today’s DMO is faced with new challenges when it comes to sharing information with today’s visitors. These challenges call for new approaches in marketing and engaging visitors to stay ahead of the curve and to ensure that we’re controlling the story when it comes to what our visitors see and consume about our destination. Don’t let Google dictate how visitors come to engage with your destination – control the message and make sure that your visitors are finding the best that you have to offer.

 

Create a Lively, Engaging Website and Social Media Channels

These days a great website and a social media presence is just the cost of entry for our industry but it bears repeating! Your website will become the backbone of your brand and can be great for your SEO so don’t underestimate its importance in your strategy for controlling the message to would-be visitors. Ideally, you’ll pop up first in google searches which will aid in controlling that message right off the bat!

Make sure that your DMO’s voice rings true on every page and that you make it easy for folks to find and retain information. Highlight your local events, businesses, and attractions and link to your social media channels. Make sure those social media channels are updated frequently and with user generated content as often as possible. These properties are the face of your brand and you want them to be friendly, informative, and helpful.

Don’t Just Market – Engage Your Visitors

Now that you’ve got the basics in your website and your social media channels, it’s time to take it one step further. Today’s visitor doesn’t want to be talked TO, they want to be talked WITH. As travel and tourism brands, we should be aiming to create community and engagement whenever possible. Do your properties have ways for visitors and residents to contact you and submit their own stories, experiences, and content? If not, you’re missing a bit opportunity to create engagement with your audience.

Don’t stop at marketing; engage your audience. Try asking them questions through surveys or polls. Put out a call for submissions of photos after events. Imagine a visitor searching for your destination’s hashtag on instagram and seeing a page full of fun photos from your visitors. The goal is to get your visitors excited about your destination and use that excitement as a draw for others. Without engagement, marketing can fall flat.

In-Destination is The Final Step

Lastly, don’t forget about the vital piece of in-destination marketing and engagement. We all spend countless hours and dollars getting visitors to our destinations only to leave them without resources once they arrive. Enter the highly popular google search term “What to do in {enter destination name}.” With the right resources in-destination, a visitor won’t have to rely on google to tell them what to do and you won’t run the risk of them finding something in a nearby region, having an over-crowded popular attraction (and others that never see any visitors), and unhappy visitors. Using in-destination engagement mechanisms to aid visitors in their information search isn’t just a cake topper, it’s the literal icing – without it the experience feels unfinished.

Want to talk in-destination experience with the HootBoard team? Drop us a line! And be sure to sign up for our newsletter for future articles.