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With the impact of COVID-19 closing borders, international tourism is largely on hold in many destinations. This has reinforced the importance of domestic tourism in many parts of the world, especially those where international inbound tourism was the primary focus of tourism marketing efforts. From Ireland to New Zealand, Finland to Australia, Thailand to South Africa, national and regional tourism offices are pivoting to focus on domestic travel. Around the world and across North America, domestic tourism is central to the recovery of the tourism industry following a broad recovery from COVID-19.
As the “Future of Meetings” webinar and the related research highlighted, the meetings and convention industry is undergoing rapid change and disruption. The impact of new technologies, the increasing range of online meetings solutions and platforms, shifts in meeting preferences and a demand for new accommodation and venue options are just some of the changes impacting meetings, events and conferences. Destination Marketing Organizations and their industry partners need to respond by understanding these changes and areas of opportunity and investing in new solutions to meet the needs of meeting planners and ultimately, attendees.
Last year we flagged a breakthrough study on the role and impact of destination websites in driving visitation and spending in destinations (Blog post: Destination Websites that Drive Travel). With the support and facilitation of DMA West and its Foundation, and conducted by Destination Analysts, Miles was the sole sponsor of the largest-ever multi-destination website study into what drives travel to destinations. Almost 380,000 website users were surveyed over this full-year study. Since an estimated 36% of U.S. leisure travelers access destination websites in their trip planning (State of the American Traveler, July 2017), this study has given us a far better understanding of an influential part of trip planning resources used by travelers.
In general, we believe it is better for most destinations, hotels or activities to invest further in a robust, content-rich and fully responsive website that will work seamlessly across mobile devices, rather than investing in an additional, separate mobile app.
From our experience, the added complexity, cost and maintenance required to keep apps updated is usually not worth the small (and decreasing) benefits of an app over a leading-edge mobile web solution. Exceptions to this would be destinations or hotels/venues who have significant and recurring events or conferences where apps can offer specific benefits for attendees and be re-used for future events — or for destinations and businesses where mobile connectivity is a challenge and travelers may value accessing content offline in an app. There may be other use cases, but consider carefully these benefits against the cost of developing, maintaining and, most importantly, marketing an app to your travelers and guests.
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.