When a traveler visits a new destination for the first time, they often don’t know where to look to find out what’s going on, what’s coming up and where the go-to hot spots are. In other words, there’s no Yelp for events.
As travel marketers, many convention and visitors bureaus (CVB) and destination marketing organizations (DMO) aim to inform their visitors of just that — the missing details that can make a trip more memorable. But what’s the best way to share this information? Which platforms are your visitors using? While the specifics can change from place to place and audience to audience, there are tried and true formats that help get your message across.
With all the moving components of a travel marketing strategy, marketers often overlook the basic necessities that comprise a solid foundation to any tourism marketing plan. From newsletters to social media to event calendars, each of these tools collect the data needed to target core audiences, plan for engaging events and create effective content.
Across the wide spectrum of marketing tools available, newsletters are one of the oldest, but most effective, as they maintain consistent contact with both existing and new audiences. As an added bonus, subscribers have most times opted into receiving communications from you via email, so they want to hear what you have to say. Take this as an opportunity to share not just upcoming events and news, but fun facts about your destination and travelers’ tips that will confirm customers’ decisions to return — or visit for the first time.
You’re on social media and so is your audience. This is often the first place they’ll look for information on your destination, attractions and events. Striking the right balance of conveying information in a professional yet approachable manner on social can be tricky, but most CVBs and DMOs are up to the challenge. Just think — what would you want to know if you were visiting a destination for the first time? Answer the unasked questions, and you’ll have a satisfied social audience.
Some of the most compelling things about your destination are the events that you and local partners host, whether they’re one-off showstoppers or regular, recurring events. But how can visitors and those new to your area learn about these events if they aren’t in one centralized location? Employ an online, user-friendly calendar to list all your events and details in one easy-to-access place so that locals and tourists alike can rely on your site as an up-to-date resource of the latest happenings. The right event calendar will provide SEO value to get your destination found by more people in search engines, and robust event content that will convert viewers into visitors.
These three tools not only present your information to your audiences in a well-organized format but, crucially, also collect data for use in future marketing efforts. Newsletter platforms like MailChimp and TinyLetter will collect metrics on open and click-through rates for you to assess the success of your mailings. Social media monitoring services like Buffer and Hootsuite and even the native social platforms themselves can tell you the best time to share your news with your followers and when you received the most engagement. And the right event calendar will track social shares, RSVPs, geographic demographics and more, allowing you to plan and market for audiences most interested in your content. All of these things can inform future marketing efforts — but only if you’re using these tools in the first place.
In marketing, sometimes simple is best. Sometimes when we’re focused on the latest technology and the newest forms of communication, we lose sight of our original goals. Each of these elements works alone to inform your visiting audience about the exciting opportunities and events taking place at your destination. Taken together, however, newsletters, social media and calendars provide a holistic look at what’s going on, and present it in a variety of formats that are readily digestible by visitors. Make sure you’re not forgetting the small but core efforts that will help put your destination on the map.