Destinations rely on tourism dollars to fund local governments and business economies, and DMOs/CVBs are the key drivers for bringing in this vital revenue. In 2018 alone, tourism generated more than 88,000 jobs in the city of Houston, $1.2 billion in tax revenue, and accounted for $12.6 billion in direct spend. Simply put, no destination can thrive without tourism.
Here’s a short list of proven strategies that will guide your approach to marketing for hospitality and tourism more effectively:
1. Establish a distinctive persona
One way travel marketers are reshaping their strategy is by personalizing and investing in their own brand.
Many have positioned themselves away from the traditional ‘DMO’ and ‘CVB’ titles in favor of something more welcoming and actionable, like ‘Visit Music City,’ or ‘Experience Scottsdale.’ Along with clever names, successful CVBs are rolling out visually stunning creative campaigns and targeted marketing to compel potential visitors to click and book.
Another proven way to attract interest is through direct social engagement, and creating personalized, sharable experiences. For example, running an Instagram story photo contest encourages your followers to get involved (offering travel discounts as an incentive doesn’t hurt, either!) Or, commissioning a local artist to create a graffiti art wall adds a shareable photo op for visitors while boosting your organic following across social platforms. Win-win, if you ask us.
2. Know your audience
Younger generations are quickly becoming the most influential, and travel marketers are following suit by shifting the ways they think about the customer journey. By next year, Gen Z (currently ages 4 to 24) will be the largest generation. With up to $143 billion in buying power and a constant connection to social media, this is a group with a lot of pull when it comes to shaping travel trends. Within the Millennial and Gen Z demographics, two-thirds of travelers are destination indecisive, meaning they are likely to gravitate toward a destination based on its social media presence, brand persona, and targeted marketing that speaks to them.
3. Mix business with pleasure
“Bleisure” is more than just a buzzword that references the popular trend of mixed business and leisure travel. Even though business travel is a main revenue source for DMOs, today’s meeting planners are looking for more than just a convention hall — they’re looking for hosting cities that bring something different to the table. And while they need to know things like meeting room square footage and A/V capabilities when coordinating an event, what they really want to see is all the fun, off-the-clock things to do that make a destination unique, and create a memorable experience for their guests.
Market leisure activities with business travelers in mind. Blurring the lines between work and play is a key tactic that appeals to a growing audience segment. Whether it’s a curated list of the best team building activities in town, a guide to the top happy hour spots to unwind after 5, or family-friendly hotels that encourage bringing the spouse and kids along — business travelers lean toward destinations that take the time to curate experiences with them in mind. And once there, they’re more likely to extend their trip into the weekend, bringing in added revenue for the destination.