At our December “The Year in Review and Year Ahead” webinar, Phocuswright’s Douglas Quinby identified 10 key trends for destination and tourism marketers. Building on five of these key trends, Miles’ Chris Adams summarized specific examples, recommendations and resources for action for destination and tourism managers and marketers.
As you head into 2018, use these recommendations and resources as inspiration for your New Year’s marketing resolutions:
#1: Plan Content and Campaigns Around Hyper-Informed Travelers
During the webinar, Douglas highlighted how digital technologies and marketing is now at the center of travel. However, beyond this trend is the broader reality of an increasingly fragmented and complex media and travel planning environment. Visitors are consuming more media and accessing more sources of information that ever before – so much so that we have coined the term “Hyper-Informed Traveler.” These hyper-informed travelers make more than 120 website visits prior to booking and access a complex range of digital media (plus, more than half still access print in trip planning or execution). Destination and tourism marketers need to ensure they are planning content and campaigns to work across this complex media landscape. To help, we have summarized four best practices and a range of resources in a recent blog, “The Rise of the Hyper-Informed Traveler.”
Resource: "The Rise of the Hyper-Informed Traveler" blog post from Miles
#2: Develop Metrics That Matter
The biggest single opportunity for destinations with data is to define the specific online content, features or functionality that drive actual visitation to your destination. We call these “Signals of Intent to Travel” (SITs). Now, with the help of the two largest-ever multi-destination website conversion studies ever conducted – one on 13 CVB websites in 2016/17 (supported by DMA West) and one running now with eight state tourism websites, both conducted by Destination Analysts and sponsored by Miles – we’ve got better insights than ever before on the content and features that drive visitation and spending. Setting up your own goals that are meaningful SITs (ideally supported by custom research on your website) means you are measuring all of your content and campaigns against metrics that matter. With big data partners such Adara, Sojern and Arrivalist, who offer visitation metrics using transaction or mobile data, there is also a range of increasingly sophisticated third-party sources to access as well.
Resource: The Impact of DMO Websites: DMO Website User & Conversion Study Executive Summary from Destination Analysts, facilitated & supported by DMA West and sponsored by Miles Partnership.
#3: Implement Mobile Design Best Practices
Mobile is also increasingly at the center of reaching and engaging with visitors in most destinations all over the planet. From our benchmarking work across North America and in the Pacific, we know over 60% of destination website users are on mobile devices – however, there is a sharp drop in mobile users accessing the site while in market. It is critical to invest heavily in content and features that serve visitors throughout the trip planning process – including in market – such as featuring great event listings, hidden gems in your destination, top lists on things to do plus dining and entertainment options. You can watch a short 12-minute webinar Miles’ Senior Interactive Producer Jen Duncan on Six Best Practices in Mobile Design.
Resources: Six Mobile Web Design Best Practices webinar from Miles; Next-Generation Mobile webinar, research and slides from Destination Analysts and Miles, November 2017; "Do I Need a Mobile App?" blog post from Miles
#4: Activate Your Virtual Visitor Center
One significant opportunity for destinations to engage more fully in the transformed marketplace of in-market tours, activities and attractions are visitor centers. There are thousands of them in destinations all over the planet – but to date most have only modestly embraced new technologies and new platforms to reach and service visitors – including how they seek, plan and book activities and tours. Looking at social and mobile technologies (sometimes called the “Virtual Visitor Center”) including the mobile content recommendations above is a major opportunity for destinations to retain relevance to visitors before and during their visit to your destination.
#5: Harness What’s New in SEO with Voice Activated Search and Quick Answers
Our final recommendation is to reevaluate your content and SEO efforts in this new environment of voice search and intelligent assistants. This means deeper, richer content to satisfy longer, more complex search queries, including long-tail search terms (e.g.: “Free things to do with kids in Denver”). One immediate opportunity is structuring your data (schema markups and rich snippets) so your content is more likely to be picked up as a Quick Answer in organic search results – which appear first in Google – and are used on intelligent assistants such as Google Home. Check out Miles’ ongoing blog series on SEO for what’s new and the latest best practices.
Resources: Miles’ collection of blog posts on what’s new in SEO including Google’s evolution of search and tips for optimizing voice activated search; “Lessons from 1,000 Voice Searches (on Google Home)” article from Moz