Managing data instead of advertising
Spending money on traditional advertising is not the future of destination marketing and this article seeks to explain how these changes are taking place.
A new discipline for destinations
Currently, a destination’s performance is measured by marketing budgets, spent largely on ineffective advertising. This will change in the future with the growing importance of online relevance and positive guest experiences and how these concepts are optimized and managed. Of course a budget for achieving this is necessary too, but it needs to be utilized differently- and that is done through an entirely new set of disciplines for which different skills are required. Digital Leadership is key to this and sets the foundation for creating a truly digital destination.
Digitizing the world first, followed by the guest
The means for “moving away from wasteful advertising” and “towards a more targeted and determined campaign” are data, something that is critical to digital processes. It should be the goal of every destination to digitize all of their content and data. The guests should also be considered part of that process, as they leave electronic traces that should be utilized. What does a guest look at on the website? What deals are they viewing and booking? In fact, the digital trail becomes even more detailed after a booking has been made. The use of online media provides a lot of data: which restaurants, shops and cultural sites are they visiting? Where are they renting equipment? What sort of reviews are they writing? This information should be collected to build a virtual profile of the guest for the purposes of creating a campaign that is direct, individual and accurate.
A new to-do list for management
Destination managers have to maintain the quality of both the service and the digital information that is being given out in order to ensure a genuine experience on the ground. This is not a one-off thing. Information has to be continually updated in respect of things like menus, refreshments, timetables, opening times, prices, etc. All of the products and services need to be digitally documented and be able to be booked online. Current conditions should also be communicated and kept up to date, such as any closures, dangers or general advice. The guest must have ready access to correct information at any given point.
Direct communication with the guest is important
Until now, many destinations have worked with a formula of traditional advertising and are not in direct contact with their guests. The Internet- and the mechanisms it brings such as being able to rate, comment and send emails- offer now the possibility of a more direct interaction. Feedback from guests must be dealt with promptly and effectively, irrespective of whether it is about a complaint about disinformation or poor service, or is a commendation. Queries must be satisfactorily answered and ideally not just for the information of a single guest, but rather through an open FAQ forum so that answers will be available online for future users.
The important thing is not to wait, but instead to start now with re-evaluating your budget.
10 To-dos for a successful transformation
- Leave your comfort zone – build digital leadership
- Merge the content within one database
- Digitize your part of the world
- Open up your content for it to be distributed
- Digitize your guests by incentivizing to share their data
- Manage data instead of advertising
- Measure experience and the customer journey
- Manage growth, define the DNA of the destination and attract the right customers
- Give the residents added value by making them ambassadors
- Improve the experience at site