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New Study Supports Concerns about DMO Organic Site Traffic; New Strategies on the Horizon

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...

Google’s “Mobile-First” Index: What Does It Mean For You?

In April 2014, Google’s “Mobilgeddon” was the bow shot – a warning to all sites that being mobile-friendly was imperative by favoring those that are in mobile search results. But up until now, despite the exponential growth of mobile search, Google’s index of desktop websites has been the basis of its search results. 

That is going to change. 

Google is currently rolling out a mobile-first index that will make mobile content, not desktop, the driving factor in rank, even for listings delivered to desktop users. This is still being tested, and how soon it is fully deployed will depend on the results of that testing – but Google is clear that there is no going back.

For sites that utilize responsive design, which Google promotes as the best option for creating a quality mobile user experience, this is an announcement that will have...

Is Google’s Expanding Role in Travel Undermining Organic Traffic Growth for Destinations?

New Review of 26 DMO Websites Reveals a Steady Decline

Strong year-over-year (YOY) organic search traffic growth is expected in an industry as content rich as destination marketing. However, with growing frequency we’ve heard destinations voice concerns that organic traffic to their sites has been flat, or even down, in recent months. 

Of course, we’ve seen the typical lineup of culprits for such trends such as site update issues, mobile friendliness and aggressive paid search budgets; but just as often we’ve seen no noticeable change in rank or search volume to account for traffic flux.

In SEO, typically there are a number of small factors that add up to a big search traffic difference, rather than a single, clear issue. Such is likely the case behind this downward trend in organic traffic growth. While there were a number of major algorithm...


Consumers Visit More Than 38 Travel Sites When Vacation Planning

We are all familiar with the travel planning funnel. Except…. 

Much like Billy from Family Circus, consumers don’t take the straight path – they do a lot of exploring along the way. The broad and winding route to travel purchase was recently tracked by Expedia Media Solutions and Millward Brown Digital in the study The Traveler’s Path to Purchase, conducted by Compete. This research documents the online consumption habits of the average U.S. vacation package booker during the 45-day period leading up to a vacation package booking online – specifically those who visited an OTA and a DMO (destination marketing organization) in the process.

By way of example, the report contains the 45-day saga of the...

The Big Tuna: How Destination Resorts Can Reel In New Guests

In 2009, I was offered the opportunity to be part of the newly-created Hospitality division here at Miles. I'll be the first to admit I was skeptical. After 13 years creating websites and online marketing programs exclusively for DMOs, I spoke content strategy and SEO, not ADR and Rev-Par. Turns out, that didn't matter. Because for millions of travelers, the resort is their destination.

Yet resorts rarely take the opportunity to market themselves like a destination. Traditional resort websites are all about selling the room and the facilities. Sure, they'll throw in breakfast or 30 minutes on a paddleboard, but the breakfast buffet...