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Manage growth, define the DNA of your destination and reach the right guests.

‘Be careful what you wish for.’ This is a phrase that has been repeatedly used by Chris Doyle of the ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association). How right he is, as you can see in the ever louder discussions taking place about so-called ‘overtourism’. In many regions the steadily rising numbers of bookings are leading to symptoms of overload. How these might be counteracted is explored in this article.

Is the number of bookings the correct measurement?

An increase in the number of bookings is a matter of great pride for those in the tourism sector and mass tourism- as promoted by international tour operators and low cost airlines- is an easy way to lure ever more people to visit a particular destination.

But is the number of nights stayed really a good measurement of anything? Should it not be instead more about the value that is created locally? Or even the amount of money that ultimately stays in the region? What effects does mass tourism have on this region and what do the locals think of it?


Growth has to be managed

Current developments show that unrestricted growth is not a goal-oriented solution and this is especially so when this growth is not targeted in any way.

Many destinations currently fail to have a target group in mind, or they might loosely define a guest profile, but have no real foundation for why they made this decision. Yet this step is so fundamentally important when it comes to creating value.  The more you focus on a particular group of guests, the better you can optimize the services you offer them.


Find out the DNA of your destination

‘What is my destination about and how does it differ from others? Which guests would find it particularly attractive?’ – These are the very first questions those working in the tourism industry should be asking themselves.

In the digital age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to form a meaningful brand. The unique selling point (USP) that marketing managers talk about starts to lose its relevance in a global context. The scenery is beautiful everywhere. Hiking, cycling and good food is also available everywhere. But guests need it: THE reason. It is that which makes someone ultimately choose one destination over another.

The reason will not be the same for every guest – this is where target groups become relevant. Only when a destination understands the ‘DNA’ it has, i.e. what it comprises and why people would want to travel there, can it deliver the guests THE reason to visit.


Digitize your DNA

As is so often the case, the database comes into play here. Because meaningful visitor guidance can only take place if all the necessary information is digitized and maintained in a central system.

Next to the guest data is the DNA of the destination, i.e. the complete touristic offering (hiking trails, attractions, events, etc.), which is all fundamental to the successful management of your guests. You can read here how guests voluntarily provide their data.

Having collected and combined information means you can now engage different target groups with different content. That way you can use many ways to balance out hotspots and evenly distribute the visitors to a region.


10 To Dos for a successful transformation