As the weather heats up and summer moves closer, destinations in the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for the holiday season.
Even if protocols look different and preferences have changed, travelers are ready to go - and they’re ready to go away for a while.
Bookings of more than four days have skyrocketed, with 61% of travelers booking longer stays compared to 31% in 2019.
Up to 90% of holiday packages within the U.K. are sold out, 64% of Italians want to plan a getaway before August, and France is looking to lift travel restrictions, even for international travellers, at the beginning of May.
While the situation can change quickly, it’s clear that travellers are regaining confidence in their ability to go on a safe holiday.
While destinations and tourism boards are certainly poised to capitalize on traveler intent, many are still under immense pressure. Hotel, airline, and other travel revenue has yet to recover, leaving destinations to support stakeholders that are operating on reduced budgets.
Collaboration is key to success, and even small destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are pushing for coordination amongst brands and stakeholders. However, collaboration that captures bookings requires more than a common goal. It requires a modern approach to destination marketing with big data and digital tools.
Big data lays the foundation for the future
Big data isn’t just for technology companies and data scientists. While it’s easy to think big data is too difficult, new technologies have made it far more accessible, and usable, also for DMOs. DMOs can leverage big data through analytics, martech and reporting.
Specifically, this means using data to inform campaigns, marketing platforms to deploy those campaigns, and taking a “test and learn” approach to continually understand campaign performance.
In spite of the big data opportunity, many tourism boards aren’t leveraging martech. New martech tools will prove to be the missing link to really harnessing big data for digital marketing.
Unlike traditional campaigns, martech tools enable real-time marketing. DMOs can build audiences, test campaigns, and create an end-to-end strategy that can be optimized every step of the way. This level of real-time, data-driven marketing sets DMOs up to deploy successful, personalized campaigns.
With new insights for analysis that go beyond simply website traffic, DMOs can finally say NO to “spray and pray” marketing, and instead leverage technologies to better plan marketing budgets as well as track the economic impact of investments.
In Europe, partnerships with The Data Appeal Company help DMOs to predict demand, stay updated on the latest trends, and confidently decide how to invest marketing budgets.
In the U.S., combining data with partners like ArrivalList helps DMOs in measuring the impact of marketing spend measuring real-time how travellers exposed to the campaign interact with a destination. DMOs can then use those insights to make the right changes to drive better results.
The digital co-op
Co-op marketing certainly isn’t new, but modernized tools have give rise to the digital co-op. And these new co-ops are enabling DMOs to work with stakeholders and deliver measurable results. Unlike before, DMOs can now leverage AI technologies and real-time data to gain visibility into aggregated impact to the destination, showing clear ROI.
In addition, DMOs can help stakeholders drive individual goals, from increasing direct bookings to better coordinating online destination marketing campaigns.
Now, brands are catching on to the benefits of collaboration. Slovenian Tourist Board launched a co-op program to help its DMOs by positioning the country as a clean and safe travel destination.
European Travel Commission (ETC) launched a co-op program to partner with private entities or DMOs to boost consumer confidence in Europe as a travel destination in the wake of COVID-19.
In addition, Milan and Partners invested in tools, including a digital marketing platform, to bring stakeholders online and position Milan as a destination beyond traditional shopping trips.
Big data, new tools and the digital co-ops all enable unprecedented levels of collaboration between DMOs and stakeholders.
As destinations and travel brands alike work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution continues to boost travel confidence, big data and the digital co-op will prove to be a critical piece to turning traveller intent into bookings.
Armed with better data and deeper insights, DMOs can deploy campaigns that accommodate budgets of all sizes and drive real, measurable results.
Read original article