Here’s an exercise you should do.
List the marketing activities in your DMO. Be very specific and tactical. Include things like
Then list why do it. What’s the specific reason for the activity. Start with “to….”
Then list what the reason is for that.
Repeat step 3 until you list “to grow tourism in my destination”
If you can’t credibly get to the last answer, you need to seriously consider if what you’re doing makes sense.
You should also really think about each step and evaluate of this is truly the case. Do the numbers indicate this? And what would the impact be if you wouldn’t do this? What would be the impact on the consumer? Is there an alternative for them? Are you doing some things because you’ve always done them? Or because you think your stakeholders demand it? Or because you need to outdo the DMO next door in some arbitrary number?
For example, what would happen if you didn’t run those PPC ads? Would people simply find the information elsewhere? Is that information elsewhere good if not better? Is the real reason for those ads because you need to report the number of website visitors? This is not attack on PPC campaigns by the way, they can be very effective.
Someone needs to ask these questions, for everything, regularly. It’s part of being strategic.
The end of the year is approaching fast. And as you start to look towards the new year let me ask you what your plans are for your social media in 2014?
Social Media has become an important part of the DMO marketing mix and it’s time to take a serious approach. At the moment there’s a lot of good work happening but most of it is approached in an ad-hoc or intuitive way. In order to bring your marketing to the next level it’s time to create a plan. We see the best results from clients who have spent the time to create a plan for social media activities and with 2014 approaching fast, why not create one now?
At the bare minimum, set specific goals for 2014 and assign some budget and human resources against it. Then identify specific activities throughout the year to achieve those. Some will be year-round, other will be time-based (campaigns). Set specific targets for each so you can track progress. Then evaluate your progress every quarter and make adjustments where needed.
Even with a simple plan, you’ll find you will spend your energy much more efficient because you’re focussed. As an agency we appreciate it as well because we can help you build the plan and plan our activities throughout the year instead of focussing on one-off projects.
Just drop us a note and we’ll get you started.
Foursquare users are faced with a dilemma every time they check in. Do I share this with my Foursquare friends, my Twitter followers and/or my Facebook friends?
The psychology is interesting. Because let’s face it, a big part of Foursquare is bragging about the cool stuff you do. When I’m in the coffeeshop in my building, I don’t share it on Facebook and Twitter. But when I checked into the White House in Washington, DC, I made sure everybody knew.
Foursquare provides an analytics dashboard to business owners. It shows who your mayor is, how many times people check-in and when. Interesting data.
The dashboard also shows you how many times users share their check-in on Twitter and Facebook. These are effectively the number of people who think it’s worth bragging about your business and implicitly recommending your business.
Claim your Foursquare page, check out your percentages and track them over time. Make your business more interesting to Foursquare users to increase the number of Foursquare visitors and your bragging percentages.
Check out #FourSquareWorks for inspiration.
The Torch Relay is a great event to connect people with the games across the country. A perfect vehicle to extend the exposure beyond Vancouver and showcase all of British Columbia around the world.
But like pretty much anything else related to games, access is tough when you’re not a sponsor or accredited media. About a year ago we worked out a partnership with Coca-Cola to cover every day of the Torch Relay in BC, and key cities across Canada through an extended partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission. That gave us the access we needed.
One of our star Field Reporters Chris Wheeler was up for the challenge and on October 30 last year he started the 106 day journey. With the support from Jose and Mike in our Tourism BC office, and Paul Clark and our regional offices on the road, he created 25 videos in BC and 11 in the rest of Canada. The formula was to use the Torch Relay as a continuing plot-line and highlight specific experiences in the area or community the flame visited that day. You follow the flame, and also see what makes the area great.
The videos are a great success for all partners; awesome stories, tens of thousands of views (almost 300,000 as of Feb 14), great response from the local communities and some great learning for the future. Check out the YouTube channel or our fancy HelloBC Torch Relay page.
The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are starting today! It’s been a crazy few years and I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a good ride and a good time to share some of our activities and learning. Let’s start at the beginning.
Our marketing objective to leverage is to turn games interest into destination interest and action. Our online strategies are:
Over the next two weeks, I’ll share how we’ve executed against these strategies. Stay tuned.
Word-of-mouth is the core of tourism marketing. Remarkable tourism product and experiences drive word-of-mouth. No amount of advertising can build credible awareness or brand like word-of-mouth.
While in Riga for the ETC eBusiness academy, I came across a few great examples of remarkable experiences that I’ve told to at least 50 people. Plus the people in my social networks have seen videos and photos. Many of these people asked follow-up questions. What are the people like? Is it expensive? Where is it?
I had dinner in 4 or 5 restaurants while I was there. They were all good. But I don’t remember their names. Except one: Hospitalis, a soviet style hospital themed restaurant. The video I took of my Austrian friend Martin below will explain why.
My new friend Maija from Riga invited me and Martin to “go flying”. No idea what she was talking about but how can you say no to that? About 20 minutes outside Riga was the Aerodium. Hovering 10 meters over a huge ventilator was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I would fly back the 12 hours just to do that again.
I’ve talked to people. I’ve posted photos and videos on Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. I am the media and the message for Latvia Tourism. I wonder how many of the people I’ve connected with have heard of Riga before? And I wonder how many have Googled either Riga, Latvia, Hospitalis of Aerodrome. Will you?
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what the opportunity is exactly for a Destination Marketing Organization like Tourism BC. Here’s where I’m at. I welcome your input.
Twitter is social, so it’s up to an individual to choose to follow somebody. To a bit of understanding about what would motivate somebody to follow a DMO, I posted a short survey on Twitter. I didn’t get near enough responses to give it statistically valid results (n<100) but its something (feel free to fill it out and re-tweet).
My hypothesis that there’s a difference between what people expect from a local or a far away tourism board seems to be true. Locals are interested in current information while long haul visitors look for ideas, deals and help in trip planning. Makes sense, people’s needs depend on the level of knowledge about a destination.
My open question “Anything else you want to share about what a Tourist Board can do for you via Twitter?” resulted in some interesting insight (appended in the rest of by entry in italics below). They’re in line with some ideas I have:
Twitter as a customer service centre
how about a “virtual” Visitor Information Centre/counsellor where visitors could ask questions about what to do, etc.
Comcast’s Frank Eliason is universally hailed for his ComcastCares account where Comcast customers can ask questions or get help with service problems. Many DMO’s already sun visitor centres and/or call centres. Twitter is another channel for communication.
I wonder how this would scale though as Twitter grows. Creating a network of Twitterers in a destination, each as an expert for a particular area or sector is one option. It doesn’t have to be a DMO representative answering the question, there are plenty of local experts out there. Building the network and distributing questions is the role of the DMO.
Pro-actively sharing information
insider info about the place like favourite bar for a martini, celebrities visiting, bits of history
Sends you on a “5 second holiday” each day with breathtaking photos.
This falls more into the broadcasting category and that means you need to be careful because it’s easy for people to perceive your message as spam and unfollow you as a result. But as the survey above show, there’s appetite for this information. So how to go about it?
Twitter is about information sharing. But quality, quantity, frequency and communication style are important. I’ve been active on Twitter for almost two year and here are my observations.
Add links. Pointing to quality information is key to Twitter. Don’t just link to your own website. Be diverse. By using a URL shorterner with reporting features like budURL or Cl.igs, you can measure the quality of your tweets by the number of clicks it receives.
Frequency. Don’t post one tweet after another but space your informational tweets. You can use a tool like Tweetlater to schedule tweets. I use it for my ‘Good Morning’ tweets to cool BC photos. People are creatures of habit and people will look remember similar pieces of information at a regular time of the day.
Communication style. Just like all social media, the communication style needs to be conversational and authentic. No marketing talk; this message is from a person on behalf of a company. Companies can’t talk.
The quality of information needs to be good. This is very subjective of course, and learning through trail and error is probably your best bet. Measuring re-tweets (what’s retweet) is another good way of measuring the quality of your information.
Find a personal connection
Ask me questions and engage me.
An important realizations came to me last week when Meg from Finger Lake sent me the following message:
Twitter is about personal communication. Broadcasting general information is hit an miss for people. But if you make a personal connection, either through a gimmick (like my name) or an interest, the communication becomes a lot more meaningful. Again, scaling is tough. We receive millions of visitors to our website. There’s no way we can develop a personal relationship with every person on Twitter. But our network of tourism partners certainly can. The operator ultimately delivers the experience after all.
Use the Twitter community
Take suggestions – ask us what the best cafe is in Revelstoke or great family camping etc.
Twitter is a community. People build their their network by following and being followed by other people. As a DMO, you need to work just as hard at your network as other people. When you create a thriving network, the network is the marketer, not the DMO. As a DMO, you can activate this by engaging the network as suggested above. Your network needs to include a diversity of ‘local experts’ that you can use to assist and connect with people.
This is where Twitter excels. It’s how David Armano raised thousands of dollars for a friend in need. It’s how Twitter is rapidly becoming a channel for live witness news.
Twitter can be a valuable tool for DMO’s by providing information and support for travelers and potential travelers. It’s important to understand Twitter is a social channel and not a broadcast channel. The personal and one-on-one communication style of Twitter is hard to scale. That’s why it’s important to build a network of people from your industry and past travelers and passionate residents you can activate.
Build your network and start engaging people. Use re-tweets to find the right person to assist and inform potential travelers. You can also use search and alerts to find people with questions that relate to your destination or related tourism experiences.
One thing I observed with some (most) of the Phocuswright innovators is that a lot of the products demo-ed are (still) conceived and created by engineers. Engineers are brilliantly smart. But most suffer from the “because we can” syndrome. FAIL.
Good products are simple and useful. If you don’t meet these criteria, you will fail guaranteed. Meet them, and you have a shot. They are your minimum requirements.
Take Twitter. Turns out Twitter us useful to millions of people. Twitter is also extremely simple. Post and follow. That’s pretty much it.
Twitter could add categories, replies, forwards, tags, google maps and much, much more. Twitter could allow its users to add pictures, voice messages, video. But they have resisted. Because it would stop being simple. And that’s a big reason why Twitter is successful.
Take Kayak. Kayak is also useful. Kayak is also extremely simple in it’s essence. From->to->dates->search and you’re done. The result page focuses on the core task; find the best flight. Features are optional after the core task is completed. These features are useful in itself, but don’t stop the core task from being simple.
I suggest to all the innovators to hire a product manager who understands this, focuses on the core task that’s being satisfied, and strips everything else.