Most destination marketing organizations serve multiple masters, from local governmental bodies to competing in-destination travel suppliers. But arguably no master should be greater than the visitor himself, the all-important customer bringing his dollars into the destination's tourism economy.
Destination Web sites play no small role in the travel planning and shopping process. But what drives travelers to visit destination Web sites? What are they looking for? While many DMOs place much emphasis on accommodations, travelers are also clearly looking for local insight into activities, events and attractions to enhance their experience when they get there. Visitors of DMO Web sites cited information on activities, events and local dining as important-or more important-than information on accommodations, according to the new report PhoCusWright's Destination Marketing: Understanding the Role and Impact of Destination Marketers.
Travelers are looking to destination Web sites for the same personalized expertise-not just hotel rooms. DMOs are ideally suited to cater to this clear need among travelers. Nobody knows the local market better. Whether their territory is a country, state or small town, a destination marketer has the best access to local travel information and insights.
While many DMOs focus on hotels, there are significant opportunities to increase trip spend by promoting and distributing activities, a product which is only beginning to receive focus from online travel agencies. Well over half of destination Web site users report that a site influences their activity selection, which was more frequently cited than hotel/accommodation selection. And when ranking the features they find to be integral to a destination Web site (see chart below), they favor information about activities and events-as well as special promotions and offers-more highly than accommodation information.
It is important for destination Web sites to offer all of these features for the travel consumer. Consumers are looking for the same breadth of local knowledge and level of expertise online as they would find in a welcome center.
PhoCusWright's Destination Marketing: Understanding the Role and Impact of Destination Marketers reveals consumer attitudes to destination marketers' online communications and reviews best practices in overcoming the challenges of the migration from traditional communications to a comprehensive online approach. Destination marketers, local hoteliers, attractions and tour operators can all benefit from a comprehensive online destination marketing strategy. The full report is available at www.phocuswright.com-order by July 31 to save $200 off the regular price ($695).