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In this era of “fake news” (how is that even a thing?) it’s now more important than ever for destinations to ensure the information they’re sharing with potential visitors is as accurate as possible. Sure, businesses close and phone numbers change – consumers understand that. But nothing will damage your credibility faster than publishing “official” travel guides and websites riddled with untrustworthy information.
And we’re not talking about easy-to-spot problems like misspelled words or misplaced commas, but actual information that is flat-out wrong. You’d be surprised how often we see it, which is why content at Miles goes through a rigorous, independent fact-checking process even after it has been approved by our teams, our clients and all other parties involved.
How rigorous? Take this seemingly simple paragraph, for instance …
“Frenchy’s, located on Clearwater Beach, serves a grouper sandwich that’s been voted “Best of the Bay” by the area weekly, Creative Loafing. Order your sandwich fried, grilled or blackened (my personal favorite) and try to get a seat outside for a sunset view over the Gulf of Mexico.”
Last year, based on hearing from so many DMOs that organic search traffic to their websites was struggling year over year, Miles conducted a review of 26 destinations’ website traffic data. Though a limited sample size, the results indicated that there has been a downward trend in growth of organic website traffic since 2014.
Since then, we continue to hear a mix of success stories and concerns surrounding organic search traffic. Since we love a good mystery, we expanded last year’s review to include 36 destinations and added full data from 2016 and the first six months of 2017.
While I wish that the results provided an “ah-ha” moment to share with you – a clear trend or a solid answer – the data came out like this:
Wow, what a mess! An organic traffic roller coaster of sorts. Some sites
Complex. Fragmented. Comprehensive. These are just some of the adjectives that can be used to describe how travelers plan their trips in 2017. Here at Miles, we have coined the term “Hyper Informed” to describe the travel media landscape and the sources of information that travelers now access.
At Miles, we have been monitoring the media use and travel planning behaviors of travelers for more than 10 years with our research partner Destination Analysts. Their State of the American Traveler quarterly survey of U.S. leisure travelers has consistently tracked a rise in the range and complexity of media that travelers are accessing. This has a created a Hyper-Informed Traveler: More visitors are using more sources of information than ever before in the history of our industry.
Print usage by U.S. travelers remains at near record levels in 2017 (see our recent white paper, “The Value of Print”), but there has been a bewildering explosion in the types of digital media that travelers are accessing. Usage of all
The third quarterly edition of The State of the American Traveler expands from its past look at different generations of U.S. travelers to look more broadly – and narrowly – at U.S. leisure travelers. The team at Destination Analysts, with whom we have been working for 10 years as the sole sponsor of their State of the American Traveler research report, define and describe six U.S. traveler segments in detail.
The State of the American Traveler – Traveler Segments Edition features these six traveler segments:
- Baby Boomer vs. Millennials
- Parks & Monuments Travelers
- Festival & Special Event Travelers
- Sporting Event Travelers
- Affluent Travelers
- DMO Resource Users (users of official DMO websites and/or visitor guides, etc)
Each segment is described in terms of demographics, media
It was the 103rd annual convention of the organization, which is the world’s leading industry body representing DMOs including CVBs, state and regional tourism organizations and national tourism offices. The convention, however, is the first for the organization under its new name and branding: Destinations International (formerly Destination Marketing Association International or DMAI).
As the official marketing agency of Destinations International, Miles Partnership worked closely with the organization on their new branding, which stemmed from a range of research, creative review and testing, and international benchmarking, followed by the refinement and implementation of the final brand.
The convention was also only the third in the long history of Destinations International Conventions to move outside the U.S. – to the eclectic, innovative event capital of Canada: Montreal. Home to Cirque du Soleil, the
For more than 100 years, print was the foundation of destination marketing. The Official Visitor Guide is almost as old as DMOs, which trace their origins back to the earliest convention and meetings bureaus set up in the late 1800s. Visitor guides published by cities, states and countries became a staple of visitor planning in the years after World War II — marketed via print or television advertising and a toll-free number available for consumers to order the guide. Orders for visitor guides became a major metric against which DMOs measured success in their marketing and campaign activity. Here at Miles, our origins as travel marketing experts go back 60-plus years. In the early decades of our company, print formed the primary way in which destinations presented and delivered travel information and content to prospective visitors.
Featured in the Global All-Stars session at the Destinations International Annual Convention 2017 was Dylan Thuras, co-founder of Atlas Obscura.
Atlas Obscura is a widely popular website, book and tour company that connects travelers with the “hidden gems” and out-of-the-way locations in destinations across the world. From the forgotten historic ruins to hidden works of art and thriving local bars hidden down back streets, Atlas Obscura celebrates the special, quirky and largely unknown attractions and activities of destinations.
In conjunction with Atlas Obscura, Miles held a competition around Dylan’s presentation at the Destinations International Annual Convention. More than 60 destinations submitted their own hidden gems sourced from their locals, visitors and staff. Dylan and his team at Atlas Obscura assessed all entries to rank their uniqueness, interest and obscurity – coming up with five finalists, a winner and a wider list of runners up. All of the finalists will be listed on Atlas Obscura and the winner will be highlighted as the place of the day. All of the
Copenhagen’s new destination strategy declares “The End of Tourism As We Know it.” Colorado’s iconic Hanging Lake goes viral on social media — creating a surge in visitor numbers, parking chaos, congestion and threatening water quality. Bloomberg News describes New Zealand tourism with a headline; “Too Many People Are Going to New Zealand. And That’s a Problem,” noting the country’s visitor boom has “put infrastructure [and the] environment under pressure.” The Head of Marketing for Amsterdam CVB, Frans van der Avert, notes, “We don’t spend even €1 in marketing Amsterdam any more… we don’t want to have more people. A lot of smaller historic cities in Europe are getting destroyed by visitors.”
Three major causes are fueling this unprecedented growth in tourism: the burgeoning middle class in developing countries, a big expansion in airline connectivity (at historically low prices) and a shift by consumers aspiring