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A Use Case for Tech-Savvy Marketing in Heavily-Touristed Destinations

Some might ask: If a destination already has more than enough visitors, is there really a need for a DMO? Or for destination marketing in general? The answer to these questions is an emphatic YES. Read on as we dive into use cases on how DMOs in heavily touristed destinations can embrace tech-savvy marketing strategies to reach their goals.

Written By - Jackie McLafferty

January 2024

When it comes to tourism, we know that more is not always better – and that a destination’s locals, stakeholders, and community leaders and organizations can become sensitive and frustrated if they begin to feel that their community is experiencing a case of over-tourism. DMOs in this situation may feel the pressure to explain and defend their marketing strategies in an effort to protect their funding – and luckily, Datafy’s tech capabilities make us uniquely equipped to address the very specific needs of heavily-trafficked destinations. Read on for a few use cases to help support your messaging if you find yourself in similar situation.

Use Case: Audience Analysis

Using geolocation data to conduct an audience analysis can help DMOs understand who their visitors are, when they are coming, and where they are coming from. Observing and measuring visitation over time not only helps determine visitation levels and trends, but it can also identify situations where you may need to take proactive action in communicating to locals and stakeholders in your community.

Case in point: Imagine that a community is upset after a busy holiday weekend leaves its beaches covered in litter, and quickly points the finger at tourists. What if you could run the geolocation data and discover that the majority of visitors to the beaches were actually from within 15 miles away? At this point, a DMO can prove that the pollution came from locals and highlight that their marketing efforts only target visitors coming from further distances due to the higher economic value that they bring to the destination.

Use Case: Drive Visitation Beyond Your Destination's Hot Spots

Geolocation data can give you insights into your destination’s most frequented attractions; then full-circle advertising gives you the capabilities to target those already in-market and encourage them to get off the beaten path.

What can this look like? Imagine you discover that 99% of visitors spend time in your top attraction while in-market. This can lead to overcrowding, a less-than-ideal visitor experience, and an under-utilization of your destination’s other attractions. With an understanding of the data, the DMO can begin targeting visitors in-market and encouraging them to visit other areas within the destination – enriching the visitor experience, dispersing traffic and reducing crowding from your go-to spots.

Use Case: Identify and reach 'ideal travelers' and higher-yield visitors

Marketing for heavily-trafficked destinations is never about bringing more people in – it’s about bringing the right people in. You really only want the visitors that are going to bring the highest possible value to your destination, right? Doing so means that you have to be very specific about the people you want to reach.

What can this look like? Datafy enables you to be really, really clear about the people that you want to reach. This can mean using past visitor engagement to reach people that have already stayed in your destination. (Data shows that repeat visitors spend more than first timers.) It can also look like geo-conquesting to serve ads to people that have stayed with your competitive set, or targeting look-a-likes audiences, where behavioral targeting allows you to create and reach audiences that look like your destination’s highest-value visitors.

And what does this not look like? Maybe you’ve identified that people coming in-market from within 50 miles away bring little-to-no economic benefit to your destination. They don’t stay in hotels, they’re rarely eating in the restaurants, and spend little time shopping. So let’s make sure that no proactive marketing efforts are going out to this group.


Use Case: Encourage off-peak season visitation

Did your audience analysis reveal strong seasonality with a clear peak season within your destination? Imagine you’ve discovered that 70% of your year-round visitation occurs during the summer months. With a clear understanding of your seasonality needs, you can create messaging around your winter programming and activities and target an audience of snowbirds that have shown interest in winter travel. 

To play devil’s advocate – some may comment: We already know that summer is our busiest time. Why do we need data to tell us what we already know? That may be the case, but have you dug deeper into your summer visitation? Is visitation consistent throughout the week, or is it mainly Thursday – Sunday? If so, what can you be doing to encourage those visiting over the weekend to extend further into the weekdays?

A shift in visitation patterns can have a huge impact on a local community. For example, it can open the door for steady employment opportunities that don’t rely on peak periods.

Embracing data insights isn't just about optimizing tourism; it's about creating a more harmonious and rewarding experience for both visitors and locals. By tapping into the wealth of information offered by geolocation, spending and demographics data, DMOs can tailor their approach to alleviate overcrowding, attract valuable visitors, and even out visitation throughout the year, allowing DMOs to pave the way for a tourism landscape that thrives sustainably while enriching the lives of those within its community.


Jackie McLafferty
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