Guest feedback is one of the most crucial ways the travel and meetings industry finds major trends, address shortfalls, and enhance their offerings. Gone are the days of a single event feedback survey; you can share your opinions for better or for worse on a number of platforms, from websites and apps to social media. Knowing how much information is out there is only half the battle. Capturing that data and turning it into successful improvements in a destination is a strategic way to stay ahead of the curve.
Sales and marketing were traditionally approached by the same DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) team in the hospitality industry. Sales teams would market to their best customers and pick target demographics through traditional print advertising. Now, with the amount of segmented information available to a destination, DMOs can hone in on the right potential travelers to their area.
In the individual travel world, purchasing a trip has become easier than ever with apps and travel websites providing booking tools at the swipe of a thumb. DMOs who want to stay ahead of the curve are packaging their own travel to support their partner businesses and provide tried-and-true itineraries based on past traveler experiences and successes.
Social media is a great way to get free information about travelers as well. Look up a hashtag specific to a city or region and you will find firsthand what sights and experiences are most treasured by travelers (rather than trying to guess what they are or rely on old data). A signature photo op or iconic pit stop in your town may be something under the radar of a DMO but clear as day on social media. DMOs use social media tools to gauge the sentiment of online conversations in the destination. Using different technologies to track travelers and how they buy lets DMOs find common threads of successes or challenges in their area.
When looking at the group travel and meetings segment, planners have increasingly looked to a destination to help them market an event once they’ve selected that particular city. Event marketing positions are popping up in DMOs throughout the country to help provide resources and tools that sell the city to the meeting attendee. A meeting planner may have a thousand good reasons to go to your destination, but their attendees are the huge pool of potential return customers who will experience (and rate, review, or refuse) that city for future travel. Visit Anaheim recently added an event marketing position to its services team to ensure that meeting planners had someone they could rely on to help them entice attendees to come to their meetings.
Sales and marketing strategies for DMOs are taking a much more proactive approach in reaching their customers. With the amount of platforms available (print, digital, and live events) and shorter transaction times, destinations can be in the driver seat of their pipeline rather than waiting for new trends to fall into their lap. By carefully listening to the needs of their customers (and responding to those needs quickly and efficiently), they are planting seeds for referrals down the line.
To see what marketing tools and platforms can raise the quality of your leads and organizational efficiency, check out Cvent’s Group Marketing Solutions.
Written by Jessica Rienecker, CTA, CTP, CMM, HMCC.
All information provided by Visit Anaheim.