June 21, 2017, by Gilad Berenstein, CEO of Utrip
Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) offer potential visitors valuable information about a destination’s best services, attractions, activities and lodging options. DMOs are genuinely passionate about their destinations and uniquely qualified to promote local experiences to visitors.
In today’s world of social media, Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews, and ubiquitous information, it is as important as ever for DMOs to serve as a traveler’s source for authentic, personally-relevant knowledge. In fact, in January 2017, more than one-third of US travelers reported using a DMO website to plan and/or research travel. These sites are still some of the most trusted resources for potential visitors, and DMOs must maximize their effectiveness to continue to create a meaningful impact in today’s digital world.
In 2016, the DMA West Education & Research Foundation, in collaboration with Destination Analysts, conducted a year-long study on DMO websites to examine user trends and measure the effectiveness of this marketing resource.
Unsurprisingly, the study clearly showed that DMOs are still relevant and an integral part of the travel ecosystem. Further, the study’s authors identified a list of trends and opportunities that if capitalized on can increase a DMO’s effectiveness and supercharge the economic impact a DMO provides its community.
- About two-thirds of DMO website users are potential destination visitors (as opposed to local residents, meeting planners, etc.), and nearly 98% of these potential visitors are either interested or have already decided to visit the destination. This means almost all site visitors are either viewing your website in order to find out what to do in destination, or they are considering your destination as an option and their decision will be strongly influenced by what they discover on your site. As such, your DMO website must appeal to both user types by providing discovery and planning capabilities, each personalized for a specific traveler’s interests and desires. How are you engaging your audience at various stages of the travel lifecycle and showing off all that your destination has to offer?
- 78% of travelers who used a DMO website for planning and/or research did visit the destination and in fact, ended up taking 2.4 trips on average to that destination. If your website can promote your destination and its collection of offerings, not only are people likely to visit, but they’re likely to visit multiple times. Are you keeping your site visitors interested by ensuring your digital experience has up-to-date, relevant content that’s tailored to each user’s unique preferences?
- Over 67% of website users increased their trip length by an average of 1.7 days because of content they found on the DMO’s site, and a majority of travelers stayed at commercial, in-destination lodging. This obviously creates a direct economic impact for the destination as an extra 1.7 days means additional revenue for the destination itself, its members and other businesses in the community. Both DMOs and their member organizations benefit greatly from having a superior digital offering. How are you promoting your destination’s many experiences and encouraging visitors to plan longer trips?
- On a 10-point scale, users rated their likelihood to recommend a DMO website to other potential visitors as an 8.1 on average. This network effect has a far-reaching impact. Imagine the ripple when your website visitors recommend your site to their friends, who after visiting it, would also be more likely to book a trip and eventually multiple trips. The key here is to ensure your website can offer a personalized, authentic experience to each of these users in order to achieve maximum conversion. Are you prioritizing personalization as you look to improve your digital offerings?
It’s evident that your website can help create significant economic impact for your destination. After all, the study shows that average visitor spend per new DMO website user is almost $37. To convert more site users into actual destination visitors, DMOs should consider digital resources that leverage personalization and fresh content, and also better promote a destination’s countless experiences.