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Strategy & Insights

Navigating the Future of Destination Digital Marketing at Connect eTourism

By Tierney Moore

December 20, 2023

eConnect Tourism takeaways

After three information-packed days at Connect eTourism 2023 in San Francisco, our team has some great insights as to where destination marketing is headed and the paths to get there! 

Attending this conference was a fantastic opportunity to make meaningful connections with destinations from across the country to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities shaping the future of tourism.

We noticed several recurring themes in talking with DMO leaders – AI, attribution modeling and driving shoulder season visitation. The conversations touched on how these factors are shaping destination branding, impacting integrated marketing strategies and the visitor experience.

Key Insights from Connect eTourism

Spotlight Thought Leadership in AI

DMOs have a growing interest in AI. There’s curiosity around how to implement ethical practices at their destination and developing an AI marketing philosophy. DMOs are looking for agencies to lead the way. Developing case studies and finding new use cases are both ways to be a leader in the space. 

Drive Shoulder Season Visitation

Boosting visitor volume during off-peak travel periods is of great interest to many destinations. Shoulder Season marketing presents an impactful opportunity for both DMOs and agencies when working together. Developing innovative ways to drive visitation during these shoulder seasons can provide tremendous value.

Adapt Messaging to Local Cultures

Destinations are unique and as a result, localized messaging that aligns to specific cultural viewpoints, political environments and social values is crucial for DMOs. This is heightened further in a Presidential Election year. For example, a creative campaign targeting urban Seattle might not translate to drive markets surrounding Kansas City, MO. DMO and agency teams have to be able to adapt creative campaigns to the unique sensitivities of a destination and the folks that both live in and visit it.

Attribution Modeling

DMOs are tasked with the unique mission of marketing a destination, however, the results of their efforts are often hard to quantify. Heads in beads only go so far. For example, DMOs are looking to better attribute their efforts through in-market spending. Agency partnerships to better help with attribution modeling are important! For example, Noble Studios is a certified Zartico Partner..

Sustainable Tourism

Issues of over-tourism are of increasing concern for many destinations. Agency partnerships that focus on promoting stewardship and sustainability through education, shoulder season travel and respect for local needs are incredibly valuable. Noble Studios has worked with several of our partners on sustainable tourism including Visit Lake Tahoe and Visit San Luis Obispo.

Growing Hispanic Marketing

Hispanic audiences were identified as under-represented in many marketing campaigns. This could be a major growth opportunity for destinations. Translating copy using Google Translate isn’t good enough in Hispanic marketing. Tailored messaging and experiences that resonate with the Hispanic population could enable destinations to unlock wider audiences and bring more visitors to their destination. 

Ready for More in 2024

We made so many great new connections in San Francisco and we’re looking forward to doing it again as sponsors of April’s 2024 eTourism Summit in Las Vegas.

With proven marketing strategies and a passion for the industry, we stand ready to partner with destinations seeking to reach the next level sustainably. Get in touch to start mapping your future game plan.

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