New deal sites, last minute offers, the rise of Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) and economic growth in emerging economies have given travellers a much larger choice of destinations when planning their next trip. Travel planning is undergoing a huge shift driven directly by the empowered consumer and savvy competitors.
Traditional destinations may now find themselves competing for visitors with locations they previously hadn’t considered competitors, and Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) are often working harder than ever to encourage arrivals.
DMOs are an important part of the travel industry, helping to shape consumer interest in new and established destinations around the world and taking centre stage in driving economic growth through tourism in their markets. However, they too need to adapt to meet market changes.
The growing sophistication of data analytics and business intelligence offers DMOs an opportunity to engage with travellers in new ways. Although consumers now have seemingly endless destinations to choose from, understanding travel trends and traveller intentions can be critical for DMOs to inspire travellers and increase inbound tourism.
In our new discussion paper, Smart decisions for smart destinations using big data, a follow-up to last year’s Defining the future of travel through intelligence, we explore how DMOs can benefit from advanced analytics. The paper includes insights from industry experts to showcase how DMOs can use data to innovate and disrupt the market and test new ideas to appeal to travellers.
Today, DMOs have access to unprecedented amounts of data and can use it to gain valuable insights to grow their business.
With popular trends such as experiencing ‘authentic’ local activities and blending business travel with leisure, DMOs need to have a greater understanding of why today’s travellers choose one destination over another. Factors such as weather patterns or sporting events may also impact bookings; having access to data around past bookings can help DMOs recognise seasonal trends and identify opportunities to attract travellers.
New technologies have emerged allowing DMOs to use current and historical data to see visitation trends by origins and forecast traveller behaviour. By understanding where travellers are coming from and what experiences they are looking for, DMOs can build more effective marketing campaigns that can be re-evaluated and adjusted based on their impact.
By having accurate, timely insight into competitors, DMOs can refine strategies and compete more effectively for traveller attention in the right place and at the right time.
Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of using data analytics is the ability to see correlations between actions and outcomes. In the past, destination marketers relied on abstract metrics (requests for brochures, visits to a site) that provided no direct connection with travel outcome.
Destinations today can see who is searching for their destination (or a competitive one), deliver targeted campaigns before tickets have been booked and see how their campaign has improved visitors’ flows.
Data provides a huge opportunity for DMOs to connect with travellers, and technology will be the key to turn data into actionable insights that can inspire travellers to destinations.
You can read more by downloading the discussion paper here.
 The direct contribution of travel and tourism to global GDP in 2015 was 3.0% and this is forecast to reach 3.4% of total GDP by 2026 according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2016: World.