Cities and countries are playing on a very competitive field. From building big convention centers to lobbying for new luxury hotels to working to secure major tourist attractions, every destination is dedicating resources to stand out on a crowded map of places to go for families, businesses and convention groups. All those people are doing plenty of traveling, too. Statistics shows that more than 1 billion people travel internationally each year.
As those numbers continue to increase, Destination Marketing Association International has launched DestinationNEXT. It’s a new research project that will offer a strategic roadmap for the next generation of DMOs. With more than 300 DMOs from 36 countries responding, the first phase of the research revealed some of the key trends that will impact these organizations in the future. Here’s a look at three major takeaways.
SEE ALSO: Destination Branding — How To Get The Word Out In A Crowded World
1) Meetings Will Matter Even More.
Sure, leisure travelers and individual business travelers can collectively mean quite a bit to a city’s visitor statistics, but attracting large association and corporate groups can bring a tremendous boost to a city’s economy. DMOs are shifting their spending toward efforts to fill convention centers and hotel conference facilities. In fact, meeting and convention sales ranked as the second highest priority for increased spending over the next five to 10 years.
2) Cities Will Stop Marketing And Start Engaging.
Remember when traditional advertising ruled? Oh, how times have changed. As sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp continue to soar in popularity, travelers appear to be tuning out online, print and TV promotional campaigns in favor of hearing from fellow travelers. According to research from SKIFT, 92 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations more than advertisements. While plenty of DMOs invest in designing and building beautiful websites, they’re failing to attract impressive traffic. The DMAI report cites a Google analysis that reports fewer than 19 percent of travelers actually look at DMO websites before booking a trip.
“DMOs need to redefine their role from one that focuses on broadcasting information and offers to one that develops credible engagement with potential visitors,” the report advises.
SEE ALSO: What Your Millennial Attendees Really Want In A Destination
3) The Taxman Will Be A Major Player.
In order to cover operating costs, many DMOs currently collect tax revenues from hotel partners in their cities. In the future, they’re looking to take home more money. Sixty-two percent of respondents expect funds from room tax revenues to increase. Another 30 percent expect tax revenues from restaurants to increase, too.
While they’re counting on more tax revenue, DMOs will decrease their reliance on government support. Twenty-nine percent of respondents believe that direct government budget allocations will decline.
Change Is Coming.
DMOs play a crucial role in the meetings industry, but the report makes one thing clear: the organizations must adapt to a changing environment where technology and social media are dramatically impacting the way consumers and businesses alike make decisions. Interested in learning more about how your destination can adopt a new strategy for success? Click here to download Phase 1 of the DestinationNEXT report from DMAI for the friendly price of an email address.