2019 Travel Trends and Statistics for DMOs

A new year has arrived and we are already seeing destination marketing and travel and tourism predictions that point to an exciting year of AI, micro-trips, micro-moments, mobile dominance and more. For those looking to get the scoop on what to expect in the industry during 2019, look no further than our list below: Read More

2018 DMO Trends in Review

Videos and UGC Dominate, Smartphones and Apps Get Smarter, while Millennials Open Up New Market Segments

2018 welcomed many trends for destination marketing organizations; some of these trends continued movements from previous years, such as the rise of video and user-generated content (UGC), while newer ones like bleisure travel, sustainable tourism and experiential travel broadened customer segments and interests. Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing in our day and age, powerful statistics back up the trends on this list, giving food for thought on how to run a successful destination marketing strategy in our current era. Read More

The Science behind Storytelling for DMOs

Storytelling: The word has been trending for a few years now, and its popularity highlights the importance of well-structured narratives in an era where authenticity and transparency are highly valued by consumers.

What Is Storytelling in Destination Marketing?

More than just facts and history about a locale, a good story will set the mood for your destination, spurring the imagination of readers and users. It will inspire travellers to dream up their own tale of excitement from the scene that you’ve set for them, or it will create a plot so memorable that individuals will be able to recount the details with complete ease.

The Science that Supports It

And this isn’t just fancy marketing jargon either; there is scientific evidence that supports the strength of a good story. Studies have found that good stories activate both the primary sensory areas (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch) and Broca’s (speech production) and Wernicke’s (written and spoken language) areas in your brain.

In one of the studies by Emory University, subjects were given metaphors such as ‘the singer had a velvet voice,’ which activated the sensory cortex, and sentences like ‘Pablo kicked the ball,’ which activated the motor cortex. These were in addition to the activated Broca’s and Wernicke’s sections of the brain.

It Activates Emotions Too

But more than fully engaging your brain, stories appeal to your emotions too. That movie that made you cry didn’t achieve an epic reaction because of its special effects; it did so because it was character driven.

Research by Paul J. Zak,  the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and a professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University, found that character-driven stories consistently cause oxytocin synthesis in the body. Moreover, the level of oxytocin released also projected the helpful actions of others after the stories. For instance, those with higher levels of oxytocin were more willing to donate to causes associated with the narrative.

In business settings, similar experiments have found that character-driven stories featuring emotional content enable individuals to better understand and recall key points that the speaker has made.

“We discovered that, in order to motivate a desire to help others, a story must first sustain attention—a scarce resource in the brain—by developing tension during the narrative. If the story is able to create that tension then it is likely that attentive viewers/listeners will come to share the emotions of the characters in it, and after it ends, likely to continue mimicking the feelings and behaviours of those characters. This explains the feeling of dominance you have after James Bond saves the world, and your motivation to work out after watching the Spartans fight in 300,” says Zak in an article for Harvard Business Review.

How to Use Storytelling: Create Compelling Characters and Narratives

So, how can all this scientific information help a DMO tell its story? First, think of your destination’s narrative and characters. Are you simply naming the restaurants and activities people can experience while visiting your area? Or, are you telling them the tale of Shawn, a twenty-five-year-old banker who travelled to your location’s famed farmers’ market for the first time, only to find that one taste of artisanal spices unleashed his passion for cooking and started him on a culinary adventure of a lifetime?

Are you creating tales of romance, adventure or bravery that people can connect to? Or, are you letting people know that the monument in your city attracts thousands of visitors each year?

Get Creative and Tell Stories on Every Channel

Of course, there is always a time and place for a well-told story, but, overall, DMOs should strive to incorporate storytelling into as many areas as they can, from Facebook and brochures to IG TV, television commercials and beyond.  Even the way a website is designed can carefully incorporate elements of storytelling.

Travel Oregon, for example, goes beyond generic DMO language to create a setting that potential visitors can immerse themselves in. “When you hike the autumn forests, breathe the crisp air, and are humbled by the snowy mountains. The magic is intangible, but you’ll swear it was there all around you,” reads an introduction on their website, exemplifying how language can evoke an atmosphere and mood that readers can latch onto—and better yet, aspire to.

Similarly, the way they’ve labelled their experiences strays from the standard ‘activities,’ ‘dining,’ and ‘entertainment’ segmentation. Instead, they have moods and feelings to reflect the type of trip visitors can experience, ranging from ‘relaxed’ and ‘magical’ to ‘silly’ and ‘nostalgic.’

Other DMOs, like Visit Phoenix and Travel Wyoming, have dedicated story sections on their websites, appropriately labelled ‘PHX Stories’ and ‘Wyoming Stories.’ The purpose of both is to reveal the narratives of locals, thus highlighting the experiences available in each destination. This ‘point of view’ perspective allows website users to understand the regions on a personal and emotional level—activating all the areas of the brain, as scientists would say—creating memorable impressions with lasting value.


3 Profound Ways Social Media Has Impacted Destination Marketing

Social media has changed the destination marketing game significantly over the past decade. It has revamped the rewards program structure, changed how customers give feedback and reviews, and become its own channel for marketing opportunities. In short, it is now a critical feature of any successful marketing organization, offering many benefits for those who use it wisely. Here are three ways social media has impacted destination marketing along with examples of organizations who are making the most of these transformations.

Read More

Barberstock: A Full-Service DAM

At Barberstock, we pride ourselves on being the only Full-Service DAM on the market. But what does that really mean?

It means that after working with tourism brands for 10 years, we realized many of them needed additional help uploading and organizing their files into Barberstock. It’s one thing to provide a place for all of this content, but it’s another to make sure the files are searchable, organized and easily accessible. As their digital libraries grew, their need for extra assistance grew. Read More

Omnichannel vs Multi-Channel Marketing for DMOs

Omnichannel and multi-channel marketing strategies share many commonalities, but they create vastly different experiences for tourism consumers. To reach potential visitors, both use multiple channels, including:

  • Websites
  • Brick and mortar locations
  • Mobile sites
  • Social media platforms
  • Online chat services/platforms
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Print media
  • Text

However, the customer journey within multi-channel marketing is siloed and the journey in omnichannel marketing is unified. Read More

The Barberstock/Stackla Integration: Everything You Need To Know

Earlier this year we announced our integration with user-generated content platform, Stackla. The integration allows Barberstock clients to automatically import Stackla’s rights approved, user-generated photos and videos directly into their Barberstock digital asset library allowing all content to be housed in one place.

A number of successful integrations have been implemented over the past few months with clients such as the Atlanta CVB, Greater Palm Springs and Providence Warwick CVB . If you’re wondering exactly what the integration entails and if you should be mixing UGC with your other assets, you’ve come to the right place. Here is everything you need to know about the Barberstock/Stackla integration and working with user-generated content. Read More

Why DMOs Should Sell Bleisure Travel

What Is Bleisure Travel?

It’s not uncommon: tacking on some leisure activities during your business trip—but this type of travel now has its own designation: bleisure travel. If you haven’t connected the dots, ‘bleisure’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘business’ and ‘leisure,’ and is defined as business travel that also includes leisure activities.

This concept might not seem novel at first—after all, many of us have been ‘bleisure’ travelling for years, but it’s extremely important for DMOs to acknowledge it as a separate category. Why? Because there are exponential revenue opportunities for those who cater to the business-leisure traveller—especially with the growing millennial consumer base. Read More

A Guide to Instagram’s IGTV

Earlier in the month, Barberstock’s, Deanna Sparling, helped facilitate a workshop at the eTourism Summit focused on shooting and editing video for the latest social app, IGTV. Still a very new medium in the social atmosphere, many destinations haven’t dived into this video channel quite yet. Although, it hasn’t taken off as one would expect, IGTV shouldn’t be off the table in your video marketing strategy. With video on the up and up, it’s a cost-effective medium built into the unquestionably popular Instagram app. Read More