Four Things Hoteliers Can Learn From Their DMOs

Smart hoteliers keep a close eye on their local destination marketing organizations (DMOs). It’s a crucial part of understanding and identifying where your own marketing tactics can ultimately align with those of a given DMO.

Why take this approach? Well, when the messaging of both your DMO and hotel are aligned, you can stop overlapping your efforts, leading to much higher efficiency.

Here are four things hotel marketers can learn from their DMOs:

1. Respect the funnel.

A good DMO knows its job and does it, by building awareness, creating demand and planting the seeds of consideration in the minds of potential visitors. It’s top-of-funnel stuff, and a big job that requires a correspondingly large media budget.

But never forget: DMOs don’t care if a traveler books through Expedia or Tripadvisor or your hotel; as long as that traveler books a trip, then the DMO has done its job.

On that same note, it’s not a hotel’s job to generate demand to a destination. It’s the hotel’s job to interrupt travelers who’ve already decided upon a given destination and get them to book directly with your property before they book with an OTA or one of your competitors.

“It’s the hotel’s job to find interested travelers who have shown signals that they want to go to that destination and convert them,” said Laura Galindo, director of content marketing for Tambourine.

That philosophy should dictate your hotel’s marketing efforts. Top-of-funnel, brand advertising is expensive, and hoteliers should be sober-minded about when and where to shift their ad dollars. 

“There are so many bottom to mid-funnel tools and strategies for hotels to leverage. They should exhaust those first,” said Galindo.

Instead, stay in your lane, and do what you do best. Stay competitive with your rates, maintain rate parity and max-out on your brand keywords. Implement reservation recovery and improve your remarketing game. If you’re doing all that well, and still have a budget to spare, then you can add a layer of brand awareness and feel good that it’s the logical next layer.

2. Double-down on search and travel intent.

If your DMO is doing its job, sending a wave of prospects into the research phase, be on top of those potential customers when they search for flights and travel options to reach your destination. Travel intent marketing is growing in popularity, and the technology driving this trend is only getting better.

“Some of these platforms are starting to tie travel intent marketing directly into social ads,” explained Galindo. “We’re really seeing the ability to leverage travel intent data in more interesting ways and find those users on more and more platforms.”

3. Pay attention to those airlines.

DMOs are constantly acclimating to the whims of the airlines that support them. Perhaps an airline just opened a new direct flight, allowing for new opportunities for your destination to get in the game. If your destination is going to build a campaign and push into that market, your hotel can layer its campaigns on top of the DMOs campaigns.

“For example, the Houston Airport just opened up a direct flight to the Bahamas. That’s a new opportunity for the Bahamas, and they are pushing a lot of money in that arena to generate demand,” said Galindo. “When something like that happens, hotels can follow suit, so pay attention to where those new opportunities are.”

Example of Bahamas Tourism pushing new direct flights from Houston


4. Your location is your product.

DMOs know what their product is, and the really smart DMOs dig deep to tell stories about their destination and their people, including diversifying their product with as many different story angles as possible, such as the potential opportunities visitors have for adventure, or for relaxation, or for authentic local interactions.

Bahamas Tourism celebrates Harbour Island’s picturesque Dunmore town.


Hoteliers can take note: “If we know that travelers are choosing the destination well before they choose your hotel, then it only makes sense to position your hotel as the epicenter of that location,” said Galindo. “Build content and tell stories about your city, neighborhood, and district. Also, don’t be afraid to tell stories about your people too, such as your chefs, concierge, and bartenders.”

St. Regis San Francisco highlights local events and attractions



About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 34th year, is located in New York City, Carlsbad, and Fort Lauderdale.
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