A short list of New Year’s Resolutions for DMOs in 2017.
- Get maximum impact out of video.
Consumers want to see video of your destination. Actually, they expect it. Video has the power to inspire more than any other medium. Moving images, music, people, laughter and special effects all combine to tell some powerful stories. Potential visitors want to be inspired. Twenty seconds of a GoPro strapped to a dog’s collar just doesn’t provide the necessary level of story telling. Before doing the cute stuff, be sure your destination has the best, most compelling, brand-building video(s) that your DMO can afford.
- Finally commit to social media.
I’m continually astonished at the number of destination marketers who either: a. do not yet grasp the power of social media; or b. think that because they are posting something on Facebook every now and then that they have it covered. Well, 2017 may just be the year to get it right. Post interesting and engaging content. Interact with people. Keep it fresh and fun. If you (or someone in your office who is posting on behalf of the brand) are not having fun with social media, that’s a darn good indicator that the public isn’t engaged either.
- Get your brand voice and strategy right.
For just a moment, forget what you think about your community and what it has to offer. Do you know what visitors associate with your city or town? Do you know how they perceive it compared with other nearby destinations? What are their favorite and least favorite things about your community? Your destination’s brand is not what necessarily what you say it is. It’s what others say it is. If you don't know or have any doubts, it’s probably time to bring in a branding specialist. Do yourself a favor and choose one who will follow the research and then find a creative and unique way to tell your brand story.
- Stay informed.
The tourism industry offers more continuing education opportunities than one person can possibly attend. Pick one or two and commit to attending their conferences where you will learn new things — like some of the many other resolutions I could list here if I thought that anyone would read a blog that long, like mobile marketing trends, programmatic campaigns, analytics, content marketing, and more. Plus, you'll get to network with other professionals who are quite likely struggling with the same challenges in the their destination that you are in yours. Help each other.
Have a happy and prosperous new year. Hopefully, the travel and tourism industry will continue to be a leader in job creation and economic growth all across the country.