If there is one constant truth in digital marketing, it’s the fact that nothing remains constant in digital marketing.
Only a few years ago Snapchat was the darling social media disruptor that threatened to dethrone reigning platforms, and then with one horribly offensive marketing ad and the swift movement of Rihanna’s social influence, it was no longer a contender, losing roughly 800 million dollars in the week following the fiasco.
Meanwhile, slick websites that used up large chunks of the marketing budget were once the golden egg for attracting consumers, until people switched gears and focused their interests on mobile convenience.
The list of changes goes on and on, begging the question: How do you know where to focus your efforts in an ever-changing digital landscape? Take a look at our list of key channels for 2019 below to get a better idea:
Social Media Stories
Stories and storytelling are buzzwords that have a lot of clout these days. DMOs are focusing more on telling the stories of visitors and locals within their destinations, while social media features like Instagram Stories are generating valuable, authentic UGC to enhance this storytelling in bite-sized videos and posts (up to 15 seconds to be exact).
Borrowing from Snapchat’s former prosperity, Instagram Stories follows a similar format, letting posts expire within 24-hours—a move that has proven exceptionally successful for them. The feature had 400 million daily active users in 2018, and this number is skyrocketing day-by-day. Instagram Stories’ success highlights the need for destination marketers to create new and fresh content at all times. It also underscores the important role of content management, monitoring systems and job functions in marketing in general.
To ensure they are making use of these temporary posts, many DMOs are saving Instagram Stories as Highlights in their Instagram profile. Other organizations resort to copying and recording snippets of the temporary posts before they are deleted, saving them for future use.
With the massive amount of content and monitoring required with features like Instagram Stories, DMOs must invest in content management systems that incorporate UGC. These systems help find, organize and store all this media efficiently and effectively, a job that if not performed well, leads to many wasted hours, missed content opportunities and overall chaos in the long run.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
Yes, you’ve been hearing it for a few years now, but the reality is still big: Mobile dominance is changing the way DMOs operate. In fact, over 70% of U.S. travellers agree that they ‘always’ use their smartphones when travelling, according to Google Consumer Insights, and this number is only predicted to rise in the coming years.
Tourists and travellers are now booking their trips on-the-fly, and they are using their smartphones to do so. This means your mobile site must be fast, well-designed and able to perform all the functions that your desktop website can. Moreover, it must be where all the innovation is occurring. From apps that make booking a two-click process to effective AI chatbots that offer useful advice, the opportunities on this channel could be your ticket to major success—meaning that you need to invest, research and plan heavily.
Take Airbnb for example, their new Trips feature suggests local activities and places of interest to users, incorporating recommendations from locals as well. Meanwhile, the online travel company Hipmunk is using AI chatbots on Facebook Messenger, Slack and Skype to assist with traveller’s questions in regards to planning their trip. From finding the best season to travel to the cheapest hotel available, these queries now have automatic answers, making the mobile travel experience useful and easy.
Google Search and Maps
Leave it to Google to take tourism to new levels. New studies show that more searches related travel and tourism start in Google Search and Google Maps. This means that DMOs must have their Google profiles fully decked out with photos, great content, reviews and more.
Organizations should view this channel as a first-stop for travellers seeking information, meaning that answers to FAQs must be present somewhere within the Google Business/Maps profile. To have more creative control over what’s shown, DMOs absolutely must claim their business, and take a look at common questions, complaints and posts regarding their destination and areas of interest.