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How Busy Destination Marketers Can Save Time This Summer

Summer 2022 is in full swing and it’s expected to be the best season many destinations have seen in nearly three years. With shots in arms and many travel restrictions lifted, travelers the world over are ready to finally take the trips they’ve been waiting for. 

U.S. Travel Association forecast data from June shows the total volume of trips to the United States in 2022 (including domestic and international) is forecasted to be 13% over 2021 and come in at 96% of 2019 levels. Similarly in Canada, 68% of Canadian travelers are likely to take a leisure trip this year, according to a recent survey from Rakuten. While we can’t predict the weather, we still think it will be a hot summer for destination brands eager to welcome back travelers. 

Our team at CrowdRiff knows the challenges destination marketing organizations (DMOs) continue to face every day as you continue to navigate the evolving nature of the pandemic, market conditions, and world events. That’s why we want to help you save every second you can by working smarter, not harder as we head into the busy season.

Let’s jump into these five tips for how you can save time on day-to-day tasks so you can focus on long-term growth and strategies.

Let travelers bring content to you through user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is something that every destination marketer should be taking advantage of as both a time-saving and cost-saving tactic. Using UGC also helps ensure you’re sharing content that’s relevant and helpful to travelers. 

A great way to access a pool of UGC with minimal effort is to run a photo contest with your audience. Travelers do all the hard work while you watch beautiful photos and videos pour in and choose which ones tell stories that align with your content calendar - easy!

UGC can also be used to gauge what travelers are interested in right now. Visit Monmouthshire is a great example of a DMO that uses UGC to quickly react to conversations on social media so that it’s ready to pivot its content to what people are interested in seeing more of.

Another great example is South Dakota Tourism:

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Let data be your guide

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let us drop a little reminder that data is another powerful tool you have at your disposal to help you make decisions quickly. Although most DMOs already use data to inform content needs and decisions, the possibilities for how to use data and what’s available to you are endless.

While privacy concerns and regulations should always be accounted for, Tourism Jasper is a great example of how geolocation data can be used to help your marketing. Tourism Jasper of Jasper, Alberta used geolocation data to find out the correlation between weather conditions and visitation to different areas within Jasper National Park and ski areas. This data helped the DMO figure out when to up their marketing spend depending on weather conditions so that they cut costs and saved time on marketing initiatives that wouldn’t be successful. 

Another great time-saving tactic is to reach out to your partners to start a data sharing partnership. You may learn that your partners’ audience's interests differ from your own, and there may be an opportunity to learn and test different content ideas with each other. 

Don't forget: Sign up for insight alerts through Google Analytics for an easy and free way to track your marketing efforts.

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Take marketing automation for a spin (if you already haven’t)

Marketing automation can be a lifesaver during busy times and lets DMOs automate things like email communications to capture leads (or the travelers you want to visit), and improve targeted messaging and social engagement. We love this quick guide from Simpleview that runs through why marketing automation should matter to destinations. 

With marketing automation, your team can test email subject lines, optimize email templates, and organize and segment your email lists. That way, whenever you launch or send something to your audience you know that it is set-up for success from the very beginning. 

Repurpose content

Make your content really work for you! Before you start work on creating a new piece of content, ask yourself if you already have something that could be repurposed to fit with a new campaign. Adding new images, updating dates, and adding new event details could be all your content needs to be ready for your new initiative.

Planning out a content calendar in advance will help you see what content you need and where you can repurpose old pieces. You can also use your calendar to create and schedule social posts in advance so you’re not cramming at the last minute. 

Similarly, make sure to post your content on all of your content channels and utilize all content formats to stretch the life of your piece. Whether that’s uploading an image across all social channels, or taking quotes out of a video and adding it to your website, your audiences consume content in different ways so you should cater to that! 

Invest in partnerships 

If your local partners succeed, your DMO succeeds. It’s more important than ever to invest in these partnerships to bring your communities closer together. Though it may require more heavy lifting at the beginning, good relationships with your partners will save you time down the line.

We tip our hats to the work that DMOs like Destination British Columbia are doing. The DMO is running a Travel Deals campaign where local businesses throughout the province can post up to three offers (like packages, unique experiences, or discounts) on the campaign website with no cost for partners to participate. 

But beyond your local tourism business partners you promote everyday, think about how you could partner with other DMOs in your area to maximize your impact ( if you’re a country, state, regional, or provincial DMO, think how you could work with smaller DMOs that you probably already help promote anyway). 

A great example is how Atout France, the country’s national DMO, and several smaller DMOs throughout France, recently joined forces to work with Expedia Group Media Solutions to create targeted campaigns across Expedia Group’s brands. The campaigns saw their Instagram activity engagement increase by more than 200% – more proof of how much you can benefit from working together rather than competing. 

We also love the thinking behind North Carolina’s new North Carolina Bound platform. This is the first time North Carolina DMOs are teaming up to collaborate on a single platform to grow tourism revenue in the state and measure their impact in real-time. The platform will provide DMO members with insights that will help them make the best decisions about where and how to invest in marketing. 

One of the biggest goals for any DMO is to positively impact their local economy, and there's no better way to do that than banding together to increase visitors to their area.

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One more thing: always save for a rainy day

The pandemic was a big lesson in staying agile, and the same advice that financial advisors give also applies to destination marketing content: save up content (think evergreen themes and topics) for emergencies. We’ve all had unexpected gaps in our calendars or had to change tact at the last minute and knowing what your “greatest hits” are can save you time when you need it most. 

Similarly, when going through your UGC, don’t be tempted to scrap content that doesn't fit into your current campaign - you never know when it could be needed!

Hungry for more tips? Check out our webinar on time-saving strategies and hacks for small and medium-sized DMOs.