2012 has been declared as the year of integrated online & offline marketing while digital technology is nowadays at the epicenter of the tourism experience.
Since the budget of a DMO and its allocation are determined in relation to the benefits which it ultimately brings to the destination and of course to its stakeholders, the fact that the majority of the marketing spent is now being allocated to the online presence and digital applications, shows among others the importance of a targeted digital marketing strategy.
According to “2012 DMO Marketing Activities Study”, a new research conducted by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), destination management organizations (DMOs) are making “significant” investments in digital marketing, although they still spend a majority of their budgets on traditional marketing vehicles.
For the purposes of this benchmark study on DMO marketing practices, primarily in the leisure travel market, DMAI surveyed 240 DMOs from around the U.S and found that print advertising accounts for 33% of the typical DMO’s leisure marketing budget, while TV and radio advertising account for 8% and 5%, respectively.
Meanwhile, Internet marketing accounts for 30%, according to DMAI, which said DMOs have spent more than $39 million on website and mobile app development in the last three years.
According to DMAI, half of responding DMOs market internationally, and those who do invest one-third of their marketing budget outside the United States — mostly in Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, which were identified as the most popular countries where DMOs are marketing.
“In order to reach these and other global consumers, more than ever DMOs are integrating their online activities, especially social media, into their overall marketing efforts,” DMAI reported. “Banner ads and search engine marketing dominate the online spending landscape, and almost all responding DMOs said they were present on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”
Further illustrating DMOs’ increased spending on Internet marketing is the fact that more than three-quarters use a Content Management System (CMS) and almost half have at least one staff person devoted to website content management.
When it comes to mobile, meanwhile, half of DMOs have or plan to have a destination app by the end of 2012, and almost all have or plan to have a mobile version of their website.
As far as results are concerned, the study found that DMO’s new group room bookings grew 4.8% last year; a total of 35.6 million group room nights occurred as a result of DMO sales and marketing efforts; while, in the 275 markets where DMOs are active in group sales, DMOs represented 19%, or 1-in-5, of all group room demand in 2011.
Meanwhile, at the other side of the Atlantic, the European Cities Marketing (ECM) reports that 56% of DMOs have an annual budget higher than 5 mil., whereas 50% of their marketing budgets is allocated online.