Top Ten Things Tourism Marketers are Thankful for this Thanksgiving
By Joy Lin
In this year’s U.S. Thanksgiving installment, we look at ten things that destination marketing professionals are thankful for. Whether CVB, NTO, STO or tourism board, I hope we can all agree that we’re lucky to be in our line of work:
1. Economic Turnaround
We’re officially out of the Great Recession doldrums of travel. Despite shrinking disposable income and greater financial scrutiny on business travel, this year finally saw travel hit some of the highest levels since 2008, and STR predicts that 2015 will see the highest hotel occupancy rate in the history of its reporting.
There is little in the travel space that has revolutionized tourism marketing as much as search has. In a lot of ways it has evened the playing field, providing destinations that otherwise are not top of mind with travelers an opportunity to be discovered by the newly empowered buyer. By the same token, well-known hotspots also take advantage of providing travelers a way to rediscover a previously visited place and renew the experience each time.
3. Ambassadors and Evangelists
In DMAI’s Destination NEXT study illustrating the destination marketing industry for the years ahead, social media surfaced as the single biggest trend changing the way we interact with consumers. The ability to influence perception, opinions and behavior through destination ambassadors and evangelists has allowed DMOs to make tourism marketing personal. DMOs are building loyal communities, and incite meaningful conversations about travel in their destinations unlike ever before.
4. Hotel Occupancy Taxes
We’re an industry that dreams big. No DMO, not even the largest and best funded, ever has enough to do what they aspire deep down to do. All this aside, we are still fortunate to have the funding that we do, especially considering that in the U.S. and Canada public investment in destination marketing comes in the form of hotel taxes that contribute to the tune of 75% of total DMO revenues.
5. New Wealth
Some of the highest spend from inbound travelers is coming from China and Brazil. While gateway cities and other major destinations benefit greatest from this burgeoning segment, with new visa policies in place, secondary markets can take advantage of marketing to return visitors that outspend many other foreigners.
What a great time for enriched media. Video is fast-gaining on the heels of images as the preferred medium to tell stories in tourism marketing. From YouTube campaigns to drone tours, from unpolished, user-generated clips to well-funded productions, videos have given DMOs a simultaneously rich and blank canvas when it comes to telling their destination stories.
Events of any kind – whether a corporate board meeting or a festival, a tradeshow or a little league championship – represent a multi-billion dollar impact to communities around the world. DMOs have long been in the business of working closely with meetings and event professionals to attract this level of business to their destinations, that ultimately translates to more jobs supported than the U.S. auto industry, and equally significant tax revenues to government at all levels.
For more on this: Top Ten Ways to Attract More Meetings in 2015
What a boring word for something that actually makes each destination unique. We’re extremely fortunate to work in an industry where one’s “inventory” includes South Beach, the Guggenheim, Franklin’s Barbecue, street art, or jazz. A destination’s assets set each of us apart, and it’s our privilege to position that brand in travelers’ minds.
We feel extremely lucky to work in an industry that supports one another in remarkable ways. Despite the fact that to a certain extent we are all competitors, we are a close-knit community of professionals that truly want to see each other succeed.
10. Working in (hands down) the best industry out there.
While the previous nine reasons to be thankful are one professional’s opinion and observation, I think we can all as an industry agree on this last one. Destination marketing is the best industry that combines passion for a place, driving quality of life and connecting with people who simply love to explore, experience and discover.
As you go around the table giving thanks, let’s show destination marketing some love.
What do you feel grateful for in your profession?
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com