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Foundation for Puerto Rico Presents Plan to Double Visitor’s Economy

SAN JUAN — Local nonprofit Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR) unveiled Thursday a five-year plan to double the size of the island’s “visitor’s economy,” which mostly comprises the tourism sector, but also extends to its indirect economic impact.

“Puerto Rico has a lot of dimensions that could allow it to attract a lot more visitors,” said FPR Chairman Jon Borschow during a press conference at the FPR Colaboratorio in Santurce. “We are a wonderful destination but are capturing only 0.3% of international travelers, an infinitesimal part of a global market that is growing at an accelerated pace.”

Borschow explained that the roughly 100-page document goes into the ways in which the island can increase the size of its visitors’ economy from its current levels of about $7 billion a year to almost $14 billion annually if the plan is aggressively adopted. “It is as simple as two plus two,” he noted. “Namely, increasing within the next five years the number of visitors that come to the island by two million.”

The plan also seeks to extend the average stay of Puerto Rico visitors for an additional two days, from the current average of 2.6 days to 4.6. In this regard, the island lags far behind nearby destinations such as the Dominican Republic, which boast average stays of more than eight days, while Hawaii and New Zealand have more than nine days each, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC ).

“Achieving [both goals] has the potential to generate an additional $7 billion to the economy, duplicating the actual tourism contribution, and create up to 70,000 job opportunities and entrepreneurial undertakings,” Borschow stressed.

Longer-term forecasts would place the size of Puerto Rico’s visitor economy at $18.5 billion in 10 years, compared with just $8.9 billion if current practices are kept, according to estimates from the WTTC and cited by the study.

The report, which is available for download at www.foundationforpuertorico.org, divides its strategy into five components, the first being to form networks and alliances between private and public sectors alongside nonprofits and academia. When asked by Caribbean Business whether a single organization would be responsible to coordinate such alliances toward a common goal, and if FPR would be willing to take on such a role, Borschow said such an integration of efforts wouldn’t be necessary under their plan. “This isn’t for a single [player] to take charge, but for all of us to contribute.”

The other strategic pillars espoused by the study include carrying out an effective worldwide marketing campaign, mainly through digital means; maximizing the visitor’s experience by improving service-oriented culture and access to diverse attractions; measuring results by establishing rigorous metrics and standards; and change local attitudes into a greater understanding of Puerto Rico’s strengths as a destination.

The study also looks into efforts that other destinations have carried out to spur their own visitor’s economy such as New Zealand, Ireland and the U.S. mainland.

The nonprofit will also hold a gubernatorial candidates’ forum, in which the six main candidates will discuss the issues put forth by the FPR through it latest study. The forum will be transmitted on radio broadcast through NotiUno 630AM Oct. 17 and 18 at 6 p.m.

The 25 Best Tourism Websites in the World in 2016

Choosing the world’s best tourism websites is more difficult in 2016 than it was the last time we picked our favorites in late 2013, but that’s not because there are so many better online experiences today in the destination marketing world.

It’s more challenging because tourism bureaus are all simplifying their websites on the front-end. The best sites are adopting a similar full-width modular design, flat architecture, and streamlined navigation structure due to the demand for speed and efficiency on mobile.

Bells and whistles are getting thrown out in favor of load times and intuitive user experience.

That’s not to suggest the best sites aren’t more sophisticated than ever before. It’s just that the real innovation is happening in the back-end.

The internal engines of today’s most modern tourism sites feature much more intelligent customer relationship management (CRM) platforms than a couple years ago. They’re capable of generating endless amounts of data analytics for strategizing content, developing more targeted partner promotions, and creating in-depth reporting.

SHIFT TO NEIGHBORHOOD STORYTELLING

The big trend in front-end design and content management over the last few years is a shift from static “billboard” websites — promoting tourism and hospitality partners with lots of banner ads and generic descriptions — to more organic story-driven portals that resemble travel media websites.

The launch of Visit California’s platform in January 2015 set the standard for the long-scrolling, photo-driven, content-first, mobile-first tourism website. In October 2013, visitcalifornia.com had 150,000 views for the month. In May 2016, the site had 1.5 million views, according to SimilarWeb.

The best tourism storytelling prioritizes three things:

One, tourism bureaus are describing their individual neighborhoods much better, and they’re developing proprietary mobile-friendly maps customized to the destination, versus relying on Google Maps’s limited functionality in terms of design.

The neighborhood-centric focus does a lot of things. It delineates the selling points of a destination in a more nuanced way, broadens the identity of the destination for more diverse audiences, customizes the destination experience for individual viewers, and answers the demand for authentic local travel.

Equally interesting, the maps provide a visual home base from which to navigate through the site. It’s a more visceral, human way to explore a destination versus a basic list, and it drives higher time-on-site engagement.

Two, destination marketers are getting much better at diving deeper into their consumer segmentation profiles and developing more nuanced content based on that intelligence.

For example, culinary tourists can be broken down into a dozen sub-groups, from farmers market fans to foragers, so content should speak to those individual travel preferences.

Three, there’s a surge toward longer-form videos profiling local residents who are proudly promoting their destination in a natural, authentic voice.

Visit Scotland and Visit Zurich are two good examples of tourism bureaus employing the locals to help sell the destination with their personal stories.

Virtual reality and 360-degree video are obviously making a growing impact on destination marketing, but they don’t impact website design so they’re not addressed here.

More than a few websites moved in and out of our 2016 list as we researched hundreds of destinations. Miami, New Zealand, Copenhagen, Vienna, Britain, South Africa, Iceland, and three Canadian tourism bureaus were considered, but we wanted to cap this list at 25 bureaus. Email go@skift.com if you have any other suggestions.

So, here they are, organized geographically in no particular order. Whereas our last overview of the 20 best tourism websites focused solely on innovative visual design, this list prioritizes websites with the best user experience overall, especially on mobile; the most modern modular layout, seamless navigation, and impactful visuals; and the most nuanced multi-format storytelling.

A fourth, more subjective criteria, involved how all of the above work together to make you want to go visit the destination, and more importantly, actually use the website to research the entire travel experience.

TOP 25 TOURISM WEBSITES

  1. Nashville Music City: If you don’t think you like country music or Tennessee, you will after watching The Story of Nashville. The 43-minute film is the best we’ve seen at defining a destination’s spirit and soul, and there’s also a video series describing each of the city’s neighborhoods.
  2. NYC & Company: New York’s brand new portal was designed from the ground up to portray New York as five individual cities with hundreds of unique neighborhoods in one. Each of the boroughs has exhaustive travel content, including a wide range of fun live videos with neighborhood locals.
  3. Visit California: VisitCalifornia.com uses content to direct traffic to partner websites better than anyone. There’s also a ton of compelling video, such as the California Dream Eater series that bases its programming on crowdsourced social media recommendations.
  4. Experience Columbus: Great on mobile and super fast, Columbus, Ohio’s tourism site highlights the city’s neighborhoods, festivals and events, and trendy food and beverage scene with a Millennial fetish for anything local and artisanal.
  5. Travel Oregon: Travel Oregon’s new “You Might Like Oregon” campaign suggests that some people like Oregon and some people don’t, because Oregon isn’t trying to be something for everyone. There are some super fun video shorts attached to this campaign.
  6. Visit Seattle: The new website’s VisitSeattle.tv video studio is creating highly-watched music news videos promoting local bands, who perform at eclectic venues around town to drive exposure to underserved local neighborhoods.
  7. Discover Los Angeles: This website has a great map with indepth descriptions of each neighborhood to direct visitors through the city. The map also supports the groovy Get Lost In L.A. campaign designed to inspire visitors to explore neighborhoods beyond the iconic attractions.
  8. Visit Dallas: Visit Dallas wanted to better define itself among its competitive set in the leisure and meetings markets by profiling all of the different neighborhoods in the city. Launched last month, the new website has a big map high up on the home page that should be copied by every bureau.
  9. San Francisco Travel: If ever there was a city that needs to define the individual character of its neighborhoods, it’s San Francisco. The website features good map functionality on the homepage, and there’s also valuable Airbnb-supplied content where hosts contribute their favorite local hangouts.
  10. Keep Exploring CanadaDestination Canada launched this new national tourism site in May 2016 as a breezy overview of what to explore among so many different provinces and territories. Brand USA should pay attention. The site is a good example of curating content for a wide area to drive traffic to individual regions.
  11. Tourism Nova Scotia: This wins on design alone. Great professional photos and smart use of crowdsourced imagery. Map functionality allows you to search easily for specific activities like artist studio visits and upcoming farmer’s markets.
  12. Chile Travel: This is the best tourism website in Latin America, employing seamless navigation architecture to explore all of the different regions and myriad levels of sub-category content.
  13. Colombia Travel: A lot going on with this website. There’s a range of content here from fashion shows to flower fairs to Amazonian festivals that accurately depicts the energy behind the rise of Colombia into a global travel destination.
  14. Visit Finland: Your heart rate drops 10 points while exploring this site due to the ephemeral imagery. The Tour de Relax is based on reality television travel races, except here you’re supposed to go slow.
  15. Visit Stockholm: This colorful, high-energy site does a good job showing the vibrancy and variety in Sweden’s cosmopolitan capital. It’s very lifestyle focused with only three main categories highlighting: activities, culinary, and neighborhoods.
  16. Visit Norway: The long homepage gives you pretty much everything you need to plan a trip to Norway, which is especially helpful on mobile. The quirky #SheepWithAView content series pinpoints the country’s identity.
  17. Frankfurt Tourism: This brand new portal takes the concept of visually-driven website design to the extreme on desktop. Super clean design on mobile. Succeeds in starting to shift the perception of Frankfurt as a financial capital into a more lifestyle experience.
  18. Zurich TourismIntelligent site with unique geotag place-makers on photos to open new content, more cerebral travel content like the focus on Dada, and a great series of videos with locals discussing their jobs.
  19. London & Partners: The tourism bureau has been instrumental in developing and promoting the London tech scene, and integrating that into travel and tourism promotion. An excellent example of collaboration between destination marketing and economic development.
  20. Ireland Tourism: The content promoting Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink 2016 and various geographical promotions like The Wild Atlantic Way earns Ireland a spot here.
  21. VisitScotland: The video of the Isle of Skye scallop scuba diver with dad and son eating fresh grilled scallops at the water’s edge with “the mist rolling down the loch” is the best food tourism video of the year.
  22. Visit Dubai: This was an expensive website to build. The goal here is clearly to position the emirate as a cultural melting pot celebrating all races and religions; a family-friendly travel destination; and a luxurious, modern, and safe vacation or meeting spot by the sea.
  23. Visit Singapore: The new Singapore website was designed to portray the city-state as a more well-rounded cultural destination with an emerging arts scene to complement the well-known shopping and culinary experiences.
  24. Tourism Australia: Nobody really does content better, especially with the Restaurant Australia campaign, which helped drive average visitor spend up double digits over the last two years.
  25. Auckland Tourism: The modular layout provides an excellent mobile experience, and the site integrates booking functionality for activities like wine tours into the editorial content.

7 DMO Websites That Deliver Beautiful Visual Experiences

The travel industry is all about inspiring people to experience new places, people and pursuits.

As a destination marketing organization, you want to be able to show people who your destination is, and give them a taste of the one-of-a-kind experience they can only get by visiting.

A well-designed website can do that.

But what makes a DMO website stand out? How can DMOs make their websites better, and leave a lasting impression on their users?
We think these 7 websites are creating some of the best user experiences out there. One thing they all have in common? Visuals are at the core of their online experience. We’ve rounded up everything they’re doing right, so you can start planning ways to apply this to your own destination.

  1. VISIT FAROE ISLANDS
    The Faroe Islands are a collection of 18 small islands (an archipelago) between Norway and Iceland. Its mountainous landscape, amidst the rolling northern seas, is idyllic and still. It’s a small destination with a population of 50,000, that’s doing big things with their website.
    7 Innovative DMO Websites with Stunning User Experiences

    What we love about this DMO website

    The design is clean and minimalistic, but visually stunning. The first thing you see when you land on their homepage is a preview of their amazing virtual reality tour,
    Sheepview360.

    The Faroe Islands don’t have Google Streetview yet — so the DMO took matters into their own hands and created their version — Sheepview — where users can wander the streets of the Faroe Islands on the back of a (you guessed it) sheep. Not only did Sheepview make their website standout, it also garnered them attention from media all around the world.

    Their site also uses photo grids that double as navigation elements, which is a fantastic use of visuals. You can click a photo of an overhead shot of one island, for example, to find travel info. They also feature a variety of video content, with videos instead of photos in their header image slider, and a series on their blog.

    7 Innovative DMO Websites with Stunning User Experiences
    This is one innovative DMO website that truly inspires you to dream of visiting a destination you’ve likely never heard of before.

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  3.  VISIT STOCKTON
    Stockton is the 13th largest city in California, USA, with a population of just over 300,000. We give Stockton a lot of love here at CrowdRiff, and for a good reason — their lively website is one of our favorites:
    7 Innovative DMO Websites with Stunning User Experiences

    What we love about this DMO website

    Their website exudes excitement and energy. Besides the vibrant colors, a big part of its wow factor comes from all the interactive elements on the site. Photos, buttons, and sections come to life when you hover your mouse over.
    7 DMO Websites with Innovative Visual Experiences
    Stockton also features interactive galleries of user-generated content on almost every page, showing windows into the world of Stockton locals and other travelers. Using CrowdRiff, they also embed links to local businesses to their photos, so that users can click-through to relevant websites for more info.
    And like Faroe Islands, Stockton’s site hosts their own virtual reality tour. Here, instead of on a sheep, you get to explore the waterfront on a bicycle.
    Visit Stockton’s DMO website creates an interactive and fun visual experience for all its web visitors.

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  5. DESTINATION CLEVELAND
    Cleveland, Ohio sits on the shores of Lake Erie, and has a population of 309,000 people. Clevelanders are known for their love of sports, music, and art — and their DMO website captures all of that.
    7 DMO Websites with Innovative Visual Experiences

    What we love about this DMO site

    From its bold font, to the striking black theme color, this website is bursting with Cleveland personality.
    Destination Cleveland makes it easy for anybody to plan their trip right then and there. Their planning tools aren’t hidden in a menu somewhere — they can be found right in the main navigation bar.
    They have guides for casual vacationers, businesses/conventions, and LGBT travel too. If that weren’t easy enough, they also have an app.
    But the shining star of Destination Cleveland’s website is its incredible social hub (made with the help of CrowdRiff’s API):
    7 DMO Websites with Innovative Visual Experiences From Instagram photos to Tweets, Destination Cleveland gathers user-generated content about the city and showcases it all here in this one spot. Any visitor (or local!) who wants to know Cleveland’s story can find it here.

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  7.  TRAVEL BELIZE
    Belize is a tropical country in the Caribbean, where travelers go to surround themselves with jungle life, and explore the mysteries of the Mayan civilization. Their DMO website makes great use of cutting-edge technology to inspire its visitors:
    7 Innovative DMO Websites with Stunning User Experiences

    What we love about this DMO website

    Right from the get-go, the homepage reveals a stunning visual experience. Once you land on the page, you’re shown a fast-paced video with toucans, cheetahs, and sandy beaches. In just a few seconds, this website gives you a pretty good idea of what you might find in Belize — and at the very least piques your interest.
    Scrolling down, new sections materialize and animate, making every moment feel fresh and exciting.
    The site is engaging and dynamic, different and surprising. All in all, Travel Belize gives a terrific visual experience designed to inspire and attract visitors to their destination.

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  9. VISIT SAINT PAUL
    Saint Paul is the capital city of Minnesota, the lesser known “twin city” of Minneapolis. They’re ranked as one of the most liveable cities in America.

    Why we love this DMO website

    Visit Saint Paul’s website really looks like it was designed for mobile first, and this gives it a unique visual experience.
    For example, you find its main navigation bar as a column of icons on the side. Also, the site is visually immersive — there’s no unused white space. Images and web elements stretch to cover the entire screen, so there’s always something to look at.
    7 DMO Websites with Innovative Visual Experiences Their “Things to Do” and “Where to Stay” pages combine a variety of interactive elements, so that they not only look interesting, but users can more easily plan their trips.
    Here, they’ve not only listed out hotels, but also helpfully placed each on a map. That means users can explore and discover hotels based on the location that suits them best. Along the sidebar, they’ve also added an expandable photo gallery of user-generated photos (which you can click into).
    7 Innovative DMO Websites with Stunning User ExperiencesAnd similarly to Destination Cleveland, Visit Saint Paul has a dedicated page to user-generated photos. Here they curate and showcase photos with their branded hashtag: #MYSAINTPAUL.

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  11. CAPE TOWN TOURISM
    Cape Town is a gorgeous port city off the coast of South Africa. With sandy beaches, mountain ranges, and lively city life, it’s home to active locals and a wealth of South African culture.
    7 DMO Websites with Innovative Visual Experiences

    Why we love this DMO website

    The auto-playing video reel is captivating. Everything has movement, reflecting an energetic and bustling personality — and hinting at a traveler experience filled with exploration and adventure. They’ve also put a search bar right in the middle of it, so that people can act on the video’s inspiration.
    And something else that makes them unique — their “Where to Stay” and “What to Do” sections are written as articles and guides, and laid out like an online magazine. This DMO website is striking and memorable.

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  13. DESTINATION CANADA
    Recently crowned one of the best destinations to visit by Lonely Planet, Canada is a treasure trove of travel possibilities. So Destination Canada’s outstanding DMO website is there to help travelers narrow down their trip options — no easy feat considering it’s the second largest country in the world:
    7 DMO Websites with Innovative Visual Experiences

    Why we love this DMO website

    The entire website is a visual experience, powered and supported by user-generated content.
    Their homepage features multiple videos, and each highlight different regions of Canada. And what really makes these videos heartwarming is that they’re actually compilations of real photos locals and travelers have taken. They feel personal, authentic, and non-promotional.
    And it doesn’t stop there — their photo gallery is also powered by user-generated content. They’ve built an immersive wall of photos people have taken all over Canada. And because you can click into each photo, you can see where each photo was taken.
    dmo website innovating visual experience They also have a ton of travel guides, which are written like blog posts (see Toronto’s Top Summer Food Festivals and Markets). They’re easy to read and also embed Instagram photos.
    We’re inspired by how creative this DMO website is getting with taking user-generated content. With visual stories like these, no wonder Canada is a must-see destination!

 

Key Trends and Takeaways for Your DMO Website

 

  1. Captivate with video: With the web becoming more crowded every day, video is one of the few things that can immediately dazzle a user. DMOs are putting videos right at the top of their homepage, to capture that interest right away.
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  3. Create immersive visual experiences: Visuals are the strongest great way to pull in website visitors & give them a reason to explore. Use your visuals to encompass the entire screen, and surround the field of vision with the story you want to tell.
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  5. Leverage virtual reality: Leading DMOs areembracing innovative tech, offering virtual reality tours to really draw people into the experience their destination can offer. It’s so new that it’s super impressive and, again, immersive.
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  7. Dynamic page elements: Say goodbye to the old static website — the newest websites are incorporating moving parts. That’s like buttons that change and respond to your mouse, and photo galleries people can click into and interact with.
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  9. Integrate social media: 52% of summer vacationers start their travel search on social media. But rather than sending people to social sites, why not bring that content to your own? Create a section dedicated to user-generated content, and let your visitors inspire new travelers to visit your destination.

Top Destination Marketing Trends To Look Out For In 2016

We’ve leveraged the amazing brain trust of resources available to us by our partner DMO’s and agencies to identify destination marketing trends that you should be on the lookout for in 2016. The thoughts and insight below are from some of the brightest minds in the destination marketing industry so be sure to take notes!

And be sure to take a look at our 2015 predictions to see how they worked out.

Justin Bresler, VP of Marketing & Business Development at Visit Denver

Expansion of social media advertising. We can no longer look at Facebook as an organic channel (they said so themselves at eTourism Summit). We spent the last few years growing our page Likes by organic methods and now we’re crying into our drinks that Facebook has choked off access to them with their throttling practices. Well, get over it! Smart marketers realize with a modest investment that their Facebook audience can be activated for engagement and site traffic. Add to that the new accessibility to Instagram advertising and marketers should be hitting up their bosses for more money. And if the sleeping giant of Pinterest ever truly encourages big ad investments then even that won’t be enough!

Bill Geist, Chief Instigator at DMOproz

2016 will be the year that the need to explain DMO relevance becomes irrelevant…at least for those DMOs that successfully employ the Longwoods research findings regarding the “Halo Effect” of Destination Marketing. When a DMO’s value can include the notion that Tourism is the “First Date” for potential investors, community and governmental leaders will be hard pressed to ignore the impact of Destination Marketing on their communities.

John Lambeth, Founder and President/CEO at Civitas

We have seen tremendous growth in tourism improvement districts in the last five years.  In just the last two years, three states (Kansas, Tennessee and Louisiana) created their first TIDs, and the concept has even spread internationally with two districts now in Scotland.  We believe this stable funding source for destination marketing efforts will continue to grow both nationally and internationally.  As destinations are experiencing funding cuts and a more competitive tourism marketplace, TIDs are a powerful solution that allow destinations to maintain a reliable, predictable, growing source of revenue.

Peter Yesawich, Vice Chairman at MMGY Global

According to the results of the 2015 MMGY Global Portrait of American Travelers®, DMO websites play a far more influential role “inspiring” prospective visitors than converting their interest to bookings.

As our research revealed, travelers cite destination websites as the fourth most influential source of “inspiration” when considering possible destinations and travel suppliers (after “Friends/Family,” “Search Engines” and “Magazine Articles”).  DMO websites fail to make the “top five” list in both of the next two steps leading toward “making reservations,” yet rise to the fifth most influential source when travelers make reservations (cited by 14% of active travelers). Hence, destination websites should be designed and marketed primarily to inspire prospective visitors, as travelers are much more likely to default to other options when actually making reservations.

Greg Oates, Senior Editor at Skift

On the convention services side, DMOs are promoting their local knowledge base more aggressively to differentiate the attributes of a specific destination, above and beyond the meetings and convention infrastructure. This shift from promoting “urban hardware to intellectual software” is being driven by planners and attendees seeking a higher value proposition and greater business outcomes for traveling to large business events. Marketing a destination to planners based on space inventory, hotel rooms and tourist activities will always be a part of marketing a city to groups, but the next generation of attendees place a higher priority on connecting with local business, academic and cultural thought leaders to develop their social networks, both personal and professional.

Greg Evans, VP of Sales & Account Services at Simpleview

Integrating and automating user-generated content (UGC) platforms. We’re seeing more and more clients not only utilizing UGC, but utilizing systems to moderate and measure consumer engagement to ultimately boost their impact.

Anita Mendiratta, Founder and Managing Director of CACHET CONSULTING

January – a time to define trends for the year ahead. Many ‘Top 16’ lists are already emerging outlining new opportunities for growth in 2016 – more tourists, more spend, and therefore more investment and more jobs. Underlying these trends will be, I believe, an evolution in how destinations express not just what they are as place-based experiences, but who they are as people, getting more personal in invitation to travellers. Why? Because of how poignantly crisis in 2015 revealed, especially via social media, a growing feeling of global community. With that, exposure of just how important travel is to inspiring greater understanding, and therefore harmony, among people from different geographies, ideologies and identities. ‘Connecting’ in 2016 will be about hearts & minds, not just mobile devices.

Gathan D. Borden, Vice President of Marketing at VisitLEX

Content over Campaigns. Campaigns are clever, but content is compelling. Campaigns are usually time-sensitive with starting and ending dates, and in order for them to work, they have to be really really good in order to break through the clutter. But the problem with campaigns is that consumers see right through them, and they add no value. Content, on the other hand, can add value. It actually works in all phases of the travel cycle, and is more likely to be consumed and shared. The key to being a good marketer is to always add value to the end user, so allocate your resources to create more content versus more campaigns.

Daniella Middleton, Vice President, Tourism at Development Counsellors International

Cultivating Digital Influencers for Your Destination: More than ever, consumer loyalties belong to influential online personalities. It takes time and energy to identify an influencer whose coverage aligns seamlessly with your destination’s messaging, but the resulting endorsement is invaluable. While academics and experts remain the most trusted source of information about companies, trust in “a person like me” has increased significantly since 2009 and will continue to gain importance in 2016. DMOs’ marketing and communication strategies for 2016 should certainly include collaboration with digital influencers, who are considered in the “people like me” category.

Elena Prostova, Vice President, miles

Technology and travel are becoming even more closely intertwined. In fact, technology is revolutionizing the way consumers access information and travel by allowing for an enhanced vacation experience. More travelers are becoming comfortable adopters of technology (largely due to the growth of mobile) regardless their age or income level. As a result, there’s a big opportunity for brands and travel organizations to benefit from understanding technology, content channels and the travel planning cycle to influence travelers when, where and how they access information.

Steven Paganelli, CDME, Head of Destination Marketing, Americas at TripAdvisor

The debate about digital marketing attribution will heat up as DMOs continue to focus more attention on accurately measuring the outcomes of their marketing efforts.  Arrivals in-market are what matter most to DMOs and their stakeholders, but when it comes to driving interest, not all impressions are created equal.  Wading through the various attribution models – and ensuring legitimacy and objectivity of the source – will be key to understanding the relative impacts of paid and earned impressions.

Annette Rummel, President/CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureaus

A top trend to look out for in 2016 is the incorporation of higher levels of technology interventions (or communications to personal devices) prior to, during and post visit the experience with travel destinations.  This activity impacts every customer sector (from the convention delegate to the general visitor and every person in between).  These interventions will be sought out by the visitor as well as generated by vendors.  Interventions come in use of trip preparation, research in planning, during the reservation process, through social media and during travel time to the destination.  These interventions occur while people visit the destination with such things as navigation alerts, beacons, proximity notices and real-time “discount offer” notifications, etc.  It doesn’t stop there, post visit thank you notifications, surveys, repeat customer incentives and rewards, etc.  And many more not mentioned above.  As the professionals within the industry, DMMOs must be aware and respectful of this trend when communicating with our customers to ensure meaningful relationships are built.  Be aware, be respectful and make your contacts meaningful to the customer.

The 20 Trends Destinations Need to Understand to Compete for Tourists

Greg Oates, Skift


 

The 100th annual Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) conference took place this week at ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas, bringing together destination marketing organizations (DMOs) of all sizes from around the world.

During the event, DMAI unveiled phase one of its DMAI DestinationNEXT industry report. It was designed to help DMOs understand travel behavioral trends and suggest strategies to capitalize on those trends, while providing new benchmarking tools and best practices to help drive business in today’s rapidly changing tourism environment.

In March, DMAI sent out a survey to DMOs worldwide to discern what they thought were the biggest issues impacting the travel industry in 2014. The survey included a list of 65 tourism trends and 49 potential strategies in response to those trends, which DMAI asked the DMOs to rank in order of importance in their region.

DMAI polled two panels of experts to source the specific trends and strategies included in the survey. One was top tourism industry executives from different travel sectors. The second was senior leaders in non-travel related fields of business, economics, technology and social sciences.

A total of 327 DMOs from 36 countries replied to the survey, constituting the highest participation rate of any outreach program ever created by DMAI.

During the Las Vegas conference this week, an overview of the report findings was presented by Paul Ouimet, executive VP of InterVISTAS Consulting, one of the primary architects of the report. He first discussed the top 20 trends and 20 strategies culled from all of the DMO supplied data.

“The first takeaway, it was really surprising to us how much consensus there was on what the major trends are, and their potential impact on the industry,” said Ouimet. “Out of the top 20 trends, 13 of them basically dealt with the adoption of technology, combined with social media and the implications of those on customer expectations.”

Ouimet then showed a SWOT-inspired “Future Map” plotting out the top 20 trends data to provide actionable information by coordinating threats and opportunities with controllable/uncontrollable scenarios. In terms of what can be controlled, and therefore strategized, the upper left quadrant represents threats that need to be mitigated, while the upper right quadrant represents opportunities. The threat quadrant is empty.

DestinationNEXT-Report-Graph-1-1

“I’ve done 15 to 20 of these future maps and this is the first time there were no trends or issues in the threat quadrant,” said Ouimet. “So the second big takeaway is there are tremendous opportunities today for DMOs to basically take advantage of some of these strengths to move forward.”

After technology, another primary trend theme that ranked high in the survey responses focused on the importance of destination brand management to drive business to a region. Among the top 20 tourism trends overall, DMOs ranked brand stewardship as #7 in importance for meetings/conventions and #13 for the leisure travel market.

The third most prolific theme revolved around the shift in DMO roles from sales/marketing organizations to regional economic development incubators. That was discussed considerably this year at DMAI.

“A lot of you talked about the trend of governments integrating tourism more in economic development within their communities,” said Ouimet. “That’s an opportunity for organizations to raise their profile and become more engaged in the community.”

Top 20 Trends & Strategies

Among the trend rankings in the DMAI DestinationNEXT report, there were three surprises that alarmed Ouimet and his team the most.

The first was the relatively low ranking (#45) of any perceived threat posed by Airbnb and the rest of the sharing accommodation providers. This could be slightly distorted due to the timing of the report. In the last six months, there’s been an increase in awareness among consumers that the sharing lodging economy is significantly more robust, more upscale and more business travel-friendly than was general consensus earlier this year.

Another surprise was the widespread concern regarding growing labor shortages and skill deficiencies in many areas of the tourism sector. The third surprise was the lack of concern about global warming impacting the tourism industry, which ranked second last (#64) in importance. It ranked among the top 20 in 2008.

Ouimet then discussed the three major transformational strategies pulled from the list of strategies prioritized by the DMO survey respondents.

“The number one strategy is on the sales and marketing side moving from broadcast to engagement, from push to pull,” said Ouimet. “This is a major paradigm shift for many sales and marketing organizations.”

Number two is brand building, relating to destination product development and visitor experience servicing, which Ouimet asserts is becoming “a major responsibility of the DMO of the future.”

“This is an area I think where many of your members, hoteliers and other stakeholders really need to get this message clearly,” he said. “This is a very, very important piece to sort of emphasize upon our stakeholders in the industry that it’s not good enough anymore just to do sales and marketing.”

The third transformational strategy highlights the rapid evolution of the DMO business model. According to the survey, over 36% of non-profit, membership-based DMOs anticipate significant changes in the next five years requiring them to engage with a wider range of stakeholders.

“There was a lot of talk about a broader role in economic development,” explained Ouimet. “A lot of talk about new performance measurements and more uniformity, and DMAI has done a lot in that area. And a lot of talk about more partnerships and collaboration with internal industry people as well as external outside the industry.”

DestinationNEXT-Report-FOUR-Models

NEXTPractices

The DMAI DestinationNEXT report suggests the success of a DMO is based on how well it’s funded and firmly established, and how well it’s integrated into the local community. Based on those factors, the report publishers devised the four-quadrant scenario model above detailing the vitality of a DMO, categorized from least to most successful as: Spinning Wheels, Risky Business, Gearing Up and Destination Trailblazers.

The study goes into considerable detail about how DMOs can recognize which category they fall under, and how they can develop their infrastructure, services and community advocacy to move up the scale.

The focus of phase two of DestinationNEXT over the next nine months is to identify best practices, branded as “NEXTPractices,” to further help DMOs accomplish that evolution by tackling the three aforementioned transformational opportunities.

Ouimet explains that a web-based diagnostic tool will soon be available for DMOs to complete a self-assessment that will plot them on the scenario model. That will be in conjunction with regional workshops around the world to collect specific, real-world case studies to share with the entire DMAI membership.

“So that, what comes out of this is not going to be what a few consultants say,” summed up Ouimet. “It’s what you as a collective industry—the wisdom around this room—basically determines as being the best strategies.”


The Top 20 Trends

  1. Social media’s prominence in reaching the travel market (e.g., Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Weibo).
  2. Mobile platforms and apps becoming the primary engagement platform for travelers.
  3. Customers increasingly seeking a personalized travel experience.
  4. Smart technology (e.g., phones, bag tags, and cards) creating new opportunities for innovative new services and processes.
  5. Travelers demanding more information, control, interaction, and personalization.
  6. Geotargeting and localization becoming more prevalent.
  7. Brand identity for destinations becoming more critical in terms of meeting planner perceptions about value and experience.
  8. Customers increasingly looking for a travel experience that allows them to experience a local’s way of life.
  9. Technology enabling faster decision-making by customers, thereby, increasing business to a destination.
  10. Consumers becoming increasingly comfortable with ordering products online.
  11. Hotel taxes increasingly vulnerable to alternative politically based projects.
  12. Big Data arriving for the tourism industry.
  13. The brand of a destination becoming a more important factor in travel decisions to consumers.
  14. Governments facing pressure to reduce or eliminate direct financial subsidies to the tourism sector.
  15. Short-stay trips and mini vacations becoming increasingly popular.
  16. More third-party information providers aggregating content about destinations.
  17. Peer-to-peer buyer influence driving customer purchases.
  18. Governments dealing with tourism from an integrated, multidepartmental perspective, focused on economic development.
  19. Customers increasingly going directly to suppliers for goods and services.
  20. Economic conditions continuing to be highly volatile, subject to global and regional shocks.

Greg Oates covers hotel/tourism development and travel brand media. email/twitter

Facebook Tips for Real Estate Marketing

According to recent study “Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015” by January 2015 they were 1,366 million users on Facebook in the United States. What does that tell you as a Real Estate Marketer? This is where you should need to be! But to make your presence in this social media platform you need to use the right strategy to catch everyone’s attention. Here are some interesting tips you might want to make sure to use.

Use images for posts – Whenever you post something on your Facebook Page, make sure it includes a picture or an image of what you are talking about. This will catch your likers attention when they see the update on their timelines.

Include posts about the neighborhood – Don’t limit your posts to your homes features, include posts about how life in the neighborhood will be once they buy a house there. Let your prospects get a feeling of what is like to live there by describing it. Make sure to include pictures.

Engage with prospects - If someone is taking the time to write on your page its because they are somewhat interested on your residences. Make sure you answer them back and give them the information they are requesting, invite them to come and see the houses and include your contact information so they can give you a call.

Don’t overwhelm your followers – There are other ways to make a sale, you don’t need to be posting information about your residences all the time. Find lifestyle articles, nearby attractions and other useful information to make a mix of posts on your page.

Include a Targeted Campaign – Followers don’t come organically to your page, (at least not anymore). Invest in running an ad campaign to get people to like your page. To make a best use of your budget, select a target audience to deliver those ads. You may select your audience by location, interests, income among many other. Mix and match to find the perfect combination for your real estate marketing campaign.

Our digital team is ready to help you achieve your goals in social media and they will be more than excited to run your marketing campaign. For assistance contact us at info@koiamericas.com or call us at 305-728-3271.

The importance of using Professional Real Estate Photography

The real estate business is all about first impressions. And to capture future prospects’ attention you will need to show them your home’s best features.  There’s no better way to have get them excited about going to see your houses than giving them a preview of what they will see when they arrive. Here’s why professional photography is important for your real estate marketing campaign.

It will give the buyers a sense of space - A rendering or a floor plan is not enough for your buyers to get a real sense of what they are going to see. Pictures will help them understand how the space is distributed and will set expectations for them.

They make excellent pieces of advertising – They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And in the case it is true. A picture of your real estate development may be all you need to create beautiful advertising material that will attract buyers.

Professional Photography sells – According to the Wall Street Journal more homes were sold when using professional pictures. http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2010/10/04/in-real-estate-a-picture-is-worth-1000-or-more/

Real estate photography is not something any regular photographer can do. To get your the best shots you will definitely need an expert on this matter. For expert advice on real estate photography contact us at info@koiamericas.com o call us at at 305-728-3271.

A Real Estate Digital Marketing Campaign is the way to go!

Congratulations! You’re ready to start receiving customers on your housing development project. Now is the moment to start thinking on how to get out there and make the best use of your budget. Investing your money wisely and get real measurable results for what you’re paying for is a very important part of this stage. If you want to start spreading the word without investing large amount of money you might want to consider a digital marketing campaign. Although it won’t replace other media outlets, it will help you attract the most people at the lowest cost. Here’s a couple of things you might need.

Get a Website – A website will help you showcase your development’s best pictures, images and renderings. It’s the place where you can offer all the information about the residences in an organized way so buyers will get the most information out of it. It is important to have a clean, user friendly and attractive website for you to attract buyers.

Optimize your website - A Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is the way you get your website to be among the first listed when people search for keywords related to your product. An SEO expert will give you all the necessary tools to rank in the highest in position on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. When done right, this becomes a powerful tool for your digital marketing campaign.

Social Media Presence  – Seems like everyone is in Social Media these days. And that’s exactly where you have to be! First you have to find where your target audience spends most of their online time, then you have to

Targeted Digital Ad Campaigns – Because almost every business is already using social media, the amount of visibility yours will get will depend on the amount you invest to promote it. The good thing about including digital ads on your campaign is that you can target your audience by a specific age, location, income and even interests. This will help you reach the right people for your real estate development.

Now that you know what it takes to start running your digital marketing campaign  might want to get some expert advice to help you achieve your goals. For more information contact us at info@koiamericas.com or call us at 305-728-3271.

5 things you will need for your Real Estate Marketing Campaign

So you are thinking on starting to promote your real estate development project? Here’s a list of 5 essentials you will need to start getting leads from your real estate marketing campaign.

Logo and Branding – Close your eyes and think of what does it mean to live at this new community you are creating. What experience do you want the buyers to have when entering it. Now that you know you are ready to start working on the perfect logo that describes this place with just an image.

Renderings – This is recommended for early stages when the houses and the community hasn’t been built yet. This will give the buyer a sense of what the house will be inside and outside. This way you don’t have to wait until your real estate project is ready to start your marketing campaign.

Traditional Ad Campaign – Although digital is the new place to be, a lot of people still prefer regular media outlets. And that’s fine! You might want to reserve a part of your budget to promote your community on magazines, newspapers or any other outlet that will help you reach your target audience.

Digital Ad Campaign – Each day it’s easier to be connected wherever you go through phones, tablets and computers. It is important you get advised on where your target audience spends most of their time and start investing on those places.

Photography – This is one of the most important elements of your real estate marketing campaign. So once the houses are ready to be showcased, you might want to decorate that perfect model home and bring a real estate photographer. It is important that this photographer is an expert on real estate photography this will be your presentation card to your future prospects.

Start establishing your goals and think when is the best time for you to start your real estate marketing campaign. For expert advice you can contact us at info@koiamericas.com or call us at 305-728-3271.