Most major cities, especially those with convention centers, maintain a visitor’s bureau. Often, these organizations are called destination marketing organizations (DMOs). Historically, DMOs have spent a large portion of their operating budgets advertising to attract both business and leisure travelers to their region. But recent budget pressures have caused some changes in the way DMOs reach out to potential clients.
ExpediaMedia notes that DMOs are now spending up to 50% of the ad budgets in online formats. At least 2 factors have contributed to this shift:
- DMOs must do more advertising with smaller budgets and the online formats allow for this expansion
- More consumers are using digital tools to plan their travel
For example, 43% of consumers access user-generated content when researching leisure trips and 24% access travel information via a mobile phone or other device.
ExpediaMedia’s findings also indicate that DMOs have the opportunity to influence leisure travel plans by maintaining an online presence. A study by PhoCusWright shows that 56% of consumers end up selecting their final travel destination online. Another study by Google-Compete shows that 40% of travelers do not have an exact destination selected when they begin their online travel research. These numbers mean that a solid online campaign by a DMO increases the likelihood that travelers may choose their city.
ExpediaMedia suggests that DMOs will achieve best results by undertaking a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes websites, social media, microsites, and ads at points of sales. Competition for travel dollars may be at an all-time high so DMOs would be well-served to maintain a strong online presence.[Source: New Research from Expedia Media. ExpediaMedia.com 21 Jul. 2010. Web. 27 Jul. 2010]