Destination Innovate Blog

Open-ish. What do DMOs do now?

Ohmylanta! I can hear you out there stressing and working around the clock just to keep up. It’s been a hell of a time, ain’t it? Now, in some form or fashion, you’re reopening…maybe, kinda.

While there’s lots of chatter about the “new normal”, that denotes a permanent state. But, there is no permanence to this situation that anyone can predict with a level of certainty. We simply don’t know. Instead of the “new normal”, what we’re really looking at is the

“New Next”

In this next, varying degrees of openings are happening in all 50 states. Here’s what you need to know about your audience:

  1. People have varying appetites for risk.
  2. Businesses have varying capabilities to open.

So what’s a girl…err..DMO do? The answer is also varying and forces an introspective look at the destination. Here are some things to consider for your destination marketing messages:

  • LOCAL FIRST: It’s obvious that locally owned businesses have been hit the hardest in travel and residents. If you have not already, look in your own backyard to resident travelers venturing out. Shopping local campaigns are nothing new, but they are revived and thrive in this time with a sense of pride and “taking care of our own.”
  • WELLNESS TOURISM: As highlighted in May 15th SKIFT article, “Having a robust wellness tourism industry built on science-based approaches will be a positive that can come from a damaging pandemic.— Xinyi Liang-Pholsena”. How is your destination angling outdoor, open air delight-driven assets? If you are a beach destination, for instance, does your webcam show responsible social distancing to welcome visitors in a safe way? Wellness tourism. 🙂
  • DRIVE MARKET EXPANSION: All sentiments point to travelers willing to drive instead of fly. Que the revival of “The Great American Road Trip.” Historically, a 3 hour threshold was where you would market, consider expending that to 6 hour. This is also a great time for “co-opetition”, working with regional DMOs to create a multi stop itinerary/trail/package.
  • VIRTUAL VACATIONS AREN’T DYING: Both due to vary risk appetites and “extreme planning”, your virtual experiences have a longer shelf-life than you may think. As you can see on Google Trends in the pic below (you can also click the image to explore search trends), there’s a big upswing to “vacation” searches. Serve your best virtual experience. Remember, you go there in the mind before you go in body.

There’s a lot developing and we will be sure to keep you updated. Join our Travel Tribe Group or drop me and email and let me know what your destination is doing!

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