DMOs AND THE SHARING ECONOMY: Taking the leap

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This report discusses the role of the sharing economy in city tourism. While it’s easy to see the sharing economy as a cluster of challenges, in reality it can be a useful tool for city authorities to manage destinations effectively, connect visitors with local experiences and bring economic benefits to local people. However it also has to be regulated in a way that is fair to all stakeholders.

The more the different segments of the tourism sector realize the dynamics of the sharing economy the more we expand the scope of our work on practical aspects and implications. TOPOSOPHY has produced this free discussion paper for DMOs to help understand their role, and plan the way ahead. The paper includes:

  • Analysis of recent trends in the sharing economy, and consumer motivations for using sharing economy services
  • Discussion of how DMOs can update their regulations on sharing economy activities
  • Practical tips on building a sharing economy impact assessment, and monitoring systems
  • Step-by-step guide to making the sharing economy work in favour of the destination and local residents

Visit our new website or Click here to download the full report (free)

DESTINATION MARKETING TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2015

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Here at TOPOSOPHY we believe that you can only take the best decisions when you can see the bigger picture – so we’re starting the New Year with in-depth analysis of the biggest trends emerging in global tourism and
marketing.

Will the Apple Watch break new ground where other tech wearables have failed to do so?

Will this be the year when we see Airbnb take the leap and merge with a major online travel agent?

Will we ever reach ‘peak selfie’?

Will DMOs take more initiatives in community and economic development?

Discover our top 15 travel trends for 2015…

Want to know more about TOPOSOPHY? Find out here.

THE SHARING ECONOMY IN TOURISM AND THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR

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LESSONS FOR TOURISM DESTINATIONS AND BUSINESSES

In recent years, the sharing economy has begun to transform many aspects of life. It is enabling individuals, companies and communities to re-imagine how they live, grow, connect and operate sustainably. Tourism has emerged as one of the leading sectors for growth in the sharing economy as visitors and residents share homes, cars, boats, four course meals and a whole lot else.

As the sharing economy has ballooned to attract users and providers of all ages and walks of life, it’s clear that sharing someone’s apartment or car isn’t always just about saving money. A multitude of drivers have pushed sharing to become the mainstream practice that it is today and there are many lessons that tourism destinations and businesses can learn from that as they grapple with reforming laws to keep consumers safe, and competition fair.

In the coming weeks you’ll be able to learn more as TOPOSOPHY’s experts release a groundbreaking report called The Sharing Economy in Tourism and the Hospitality Sector with lessons to be learned on all sides and many opportunities to share opinions as TOPOSOPHY plans Sharing Economy Workshops across Europe in 2015.

Here’s a sneak preview of the report. Enjoy!

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THE WHOLE PLACE, NOT JUST THE DESTINATION

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Are you wondering where the name ‘TOPOSOPHY’ comes from? Viewing a destination through a narrow lens, it’s easy to fall into the trap of presenting a destination in terms of its tourism activity today, rather than what it could offer tomorrow. TOPOSOPHY likes to do things differently. We take a step back and study the whole place (‘topos’ = place in Greek) with a critical but enthusiastic look at where the destination sits compared to its competitors, both near and far. The result for our clients is the choice of a totally integrated range of services including destination strategy and planning, place marketing & branding, market intelligence, trade marketingpolicy advice & government support among many others.

WE’VE REBRANDED

WELCOME TO TOPOSOPHY

“TOPOSOPHY” set to become the leading integrated destination marketing agency in Europe.

Aiming to become the leading integrated destination management & marketing agency in Europe, TOPOSOPHY is celebrating its official launch today (30/10/2014) as a new corporate entity offering a full range of specialized, end-to-end solutions in destination management & marketing. With a broad network of experts around the world, the company is well-equipped to work with a diverse clientele base within the travel and tourism industry using an innovative approach, flexible operations and fully committed partners at all levels.

TOPOSOPHY is the totally reengineered and rebranded entity derived from ABOUTOURISM Destination Consultants. Founded in 2010, ABOUTOURISM has already received several distinctions in the consultancy arena. In just over four years, the company’s portfolio has boasted high-level projects and a global network of associates from some of the industry’s leading brands.

TOPOSOPHY’s CEO Manolis Psarros explains: “Having a clear overview of the international industry developments and the changing needs of our clients, we decided it was time to put our flexibility in practice and take a truly bold step. Over the past few months we have worked hard to redesign our entire set of services, and truly enrich our strategically driven solutions to make sure that we offer our DMO, tourism board, hospitality, airline, tour operator and all tourism industry clients,  top notch, creative and effective solutions with measurable results”. “We’re now drawing on a much broader base of expertise from across the globe, and that’s going to give a big boost to the services we offer” he added.

TOPOSOPHY’s top digital applications and marketing offering is powered by the ATCOM Group of Companies, the leading web agency in the Greek market, with an extensive project portfolio and unrivaled experience on the creation of portals, e-Shops and web and mobile applications. As a Business Unit of ATCOM, TOPOSOPHY will share resources with the whole group of ATCOM Companies & Business Units (ATCOM/Mindworks/UXLab) in web development and digital marketing services, enabling brands to obtain the visibility they need with a focus on delivering perfect integrated digital experiences.

“‘Toposophy’  means gaining an understanding of the whole place, not just viewed through the narrow view of a destination. That’s why we make the effort to understand the latest industry conditions, engage partners and the local community so that we can reveal a destination’s uniqueness in every form; online and offline. That’s the surest way to plan for a tourism destination’s future” explains Manolis.

TOPOSOPHY’S services focus on offering complete solutions in the following areas: destination strategy & planning destination marketing & branding, market intelligence, trade marketing, policy advice & government support, events & workshops, website & mobile solutions, content & social media marketing, performance marketing & search services, tailor-made to every destination’s distinct needs.

We are strategists and we have an in-house team of more than 150 designers, developers, imagineers, marketers, tourism consultants and magicians along with an elite international dedicated network of hand-picked associates and ensure that everything is possible!

Whether we have worked together in the past or not yet, or you simply want to tell us how much you just love our new website (we certainly do!), get to know us better by scrolling through each section and discover our ready-made reports, white papers, case studies and future plans.  Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn or talk directly to one of our destination management & marketing experts on +30 2102419654 or email (info@toposophy.com).

Top 5 AbouTourism Articles for 2013!

As we wrap up 2013, it is time to take a look at some of your favorite and most read articles from this past year.

During this past year, abouTourism offered insights on destination marketing and the latest developments, highlighted the latest trends to shape the industry and shared best practice cases showcasing successful destination development, management and marketing strategies.

It’s been an amazing year and we want to thank each and everyone for your trust and support as we are getting ready for an even more exciting 2014!

These are the Top 5 abouTourism blog posts that we loved most in 2013!

1. Destination Marketing: Social Media Campaigns that Work

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Slovenia, through the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) has a well developed digital presence promoting the country as a tourism destination. In order to raise awareness of Slovenia as a high class and attractive winter destination, STB launched an innovative winter campaign with the support of abouTourism and Mindworks, and we are excited with the results!

A simple and to the point campaign with easily spreadable content, creating word of mouth, while involving multiple user segments, including locals, professionals, potential travelers and social media influencers.

2. A New Kid on the Block: Black Sea Region & Cruise Tourism

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What does it take for emerging sea cruise destinations to establish themselves in a highly competitive market?

A response provided by abouTourism consultants, as part of a report prepared for the ‘United Nations Development Programme – Black Sea Trade and Investment Programme’ (UNDP BSTIP), is that individual destinations, physically coupled in a large geographical zone, are not going to benefit from cruise passengers visiting these localities unless they set common targets and coordinate their efforts.

3. Integrated, Multichannel Tourism Marketing: Gadgets, Books, Films & more

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When content is king and there are multiple channels to distribute various types of content, how can we make sure that the right message appears at the right people at the right time?

Today that travelers are using a combination of offline/online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle, it is crucial to develop integrated, multichannel marketing campaigns as a result of proper strategic planning. Right content at the right time means appropriate messaging per channel, smartly using available tools which will all come together to complement the overall destination brand.

DMOs are called to utilize any given opportunity to pull their audience deeper into the destination’s brand, by being active content distributors, combining traditional promotional tools and marketing activities in smart ways which place excellent content where their target market is.

4. Destination Marketing: Use Your Babies, Bananas & more

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As a fact, major events can have a major impact on the visitor economy of their host destinations, but it is up to the destination tourism authorities to set how much. It is also up to the destination to think outside the box and try to capitalize on every single – or set of- strength and assets it has to support its tourism marketing efforts. In a few words….Go bananas…

When the royal baby was born, we took a look at how UK tourism agencies approached this special event to capitalize on the world wide interest, marketing the royal birth and the whole destination at the same time.

5. Effective B2B Destination Marketing-Travel Trade Workshops

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A case study of destination-focused travel trade Workshops organization for the City of Athens.

Within the framework of the City of Athens’ development and tourism promotion action plan aiming to highlight Athens in the international tourism market, the Athens Development & Destination Management Agency (ADDMA) reached a cooperation agreement of strategic importance with the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA)The agreement sees to the establishment of a series of annual B2B workshops under the name Travel Trade Athens.

The agreement signed with ETOA, has a dual purpose for the tourism product of Metropolitan Athens and the destination’s efforts to strengthen the international image of Athens in the global tourism community. Firstly, this is the first intervention of such scale and importance after many years and with partner one of the most dynamic institutions in the European market, who trusts the city and its formal structures, such as the ADDMA. Secondly, it makes evident that Athens, as a city break and business destination, continues to be a very interesting and attractive option with promising growth prospects.

Stay tuned for more!

The Changing DMO Landscape: 2013 DMO Organizational & Financial Profile Study

Investment in official destination marketing organizations (DMOs), continues to grow at strong, sustainable levels according to a new study just released by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).

The new 2013 DMO Organizational & Financial Profile Study shows the average DMO budget broke the US$3.0 million mark in 2013, a 3% increase over 2012. The study covers detailed findings from nearly 220 U.S and Canada-based DMOs.

DMAI 2013 DMO Organizational & Financial Profile Study
http://www.destinationmarketing.org

A significant percentage of this growth can be attributed to an increase in public investment, which grew an average of 4% to US$2.4 million. More than three-fourths (79%) of destination marketing organizations receive public investment in the form of hotel taxes, averaging 75% of all DMO revenue. As travel demand increases, hotel demand follows suit; data from Smith Travel Research supports this story, indicating back-to-back years of record demand in 2011 and 2012 for the U.S. hotel industry.

However, not all of the increase in DMO budgets can be attributed to growth in hotel taxes. Increasingly, destinations are implementing new mechanisms to augment their investment in destination marketing and travel demand to reap greater returns for their communities. One out of seven destinations reported increased investment through a Tourism Improvement Districts (TID), Marketing District Assessment (MDA) or voluntary marketing fees.

Community leaders from a wide range of markets are recognizing the benefits of marketing their destinations and upping the ante in promotional efforts in places like Dallas, TX; Hilton Head, SC; Indiana Dunes, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; the State of Florida and Washington, DC.

In terms of private investment, 42% of DMOs generate revenue through membership dues while 35% report new partnership revenue streams. Destinations are rethinking their structures to better align member and partners goals with consumer needs. The San Francisco Travel Association, the official destination marketing organization for San Francisco, has completely redesigned its partnership structure, allowing partners to choose the level of services being provided and the markets they wish to target.

The bi-annual study from DMAI focuses on critical topics — revenue sources, program expenditures, organizational structure – and provides DMOs the opportunity to benchmark themselves with industry norms and other DMOs in their budget category, and identify opportunities for improving their performance.

The report is available for purchase at DMAI’s Product Store.

See previous DMO Profile studies by DMAI:

Market Segmentation: Who’s your Target?

It’s time to take advantage of the available data to get to know your target audience! Segmenting your market will give you the information you need to reach them all with relevant messaging both on traditional and on social, local and mobile media.

In this post we see three new destination marketing campaigns targeting specific market segments. So, based on your tourism product mix and brand positioning, whom is your destination marketing activity targeting? Is it for example the perfect match for the fabulous 40+, the LGBT market or the hip people?

Philly for LGBT Travelers

In 2004, Philadelphia broke ground with an advertising campaign aimed at LGBT travelers.

That campaign — “Get your history straight and your nightlife gay” — won accolades in the travel industry and generated business.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. has now introduced a follow-up campaign. A 30-second commercial spot, “Miss Richfield’s Selfie Tour,” follows the exploits of the character Miss Richfield 1981 as she snaps pictures of herself and friends at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Rocky Steps and other sites. Miss Richfield is a flashy drag queen character created by Minnesota native Russ King.

Philly“Ten years ago, Philadelphia was proud to officially ‘come out’ as a gay-friendly destination when we invited LGBT travelers to visit,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of GPTMC. “With our new commercial, we’re going beyond our history roots and reiterating our invitation, celebrating both the city’s evolution into a premier destination and the LGBT community’s progress over the last decade.”

Starting next month, the commercial will air on the Bravo and Style networks in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and on Logo TV nationally. It will also run on advocate.com, out.com and outtraveler.com. GPTMC says it’s only the third major campaign of this kind, behind Philadelphia’s own 2004 effort and a 2011 campaign done by Key West, Fla.

Destination D.C. is Cool- or is it?

Destination D.C., the city’s official convention and tourism corporation—has announced the “D.C. Cool.” campaign, aimed at luring visitors away from only seeing traditional tourism spots, like the National Mall, monuments and Smithsonian museums, and getting them to visit various other cultural landmarks and neighborhoods outside of downtown D.C. .

The campaign will launch in February, in order to coincide with an installation the Portrait Gallery is doing that month called “American Cool,” which will feature mostly black-and-white photos of American icons that define, well, cool: Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Miles Davis, which is where the organization got the idea from, according to Destination D.C. .

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The D.C. Cool campaign will also use Destination D.C.’s partnerships with Cultural D.C., the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, in order to introduce visitors to the the city’s vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene.

“So many people think of D.C. as big government, and money men, and serious history, and that’s all good. But there’s such a bigger piece to the city,” Maciejewski said. “D.C. Cool is all about getting them off the National Mall to experience the nightlife, and the neighborhoods, and the restaurants. To get a feel for the cool side of the city.”

The key pillars of D.C. Cool are the words “bold, original, unique, dramatic and inspiring.” The vibe the city is trying to portray is highlighted in a short video that attempts to embody cool: There’s deep-voiced narration that sounds suspiciously like Morgan Freeman, there’s the oh-so-trendy fish-eye camera shots, there’s jazz in the background.

While the campaign’s title may attract haters, since after a recent presentation about D.C. Cool to stakeholders and press not everyone was impressed, Destination D.C. is relying on the people of the city to tell visitors what’s cool, which is actually pretty cool.

Thailand:  The Health & Wellness Destination for the 40+

As part of its international “Find Your Fabulous” wellness and medical tourism campaign, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is unveiling a friendly global competition intended to salute ladies who are still fit and fabulous after their 40th birthdays.

The Fabulous 40+ Photo Contest invites women from around the world to submit images showing off their fabulous form, and the contestant showing the most youthful, age-defying appearance will be rewarded with an exclusive 3-day Find Your Fabulous trip to Bangkok.

Candidates become fans of ThailandMedTourism and the Find Your Fabulous campaign; then, they submit their most fabulous photos. The winners of the Fabulous 40+ Photo Contest will be determined by the number of “votes”. The one with the most votes will be the winner, followed by the first and second runners-up respectively. The winner will receive a 3-day/2-night exclusive health and beauty package for herself and one friend.

The TAT hopes that the Fabulous 40+ Photo Contest will further illuminate Thailand’s thriving medical & wellness industry and the wealth of top-quality, convenient, and affordable aesthetic treatments on offer for international tourists of all shapes and sizes.

Sources: Destination D.C.Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)www.bizjournals.com

Valentine’s Special: Destination Marketing & Romance

An other Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, a great time to have a look at how some destinations are promoting their romantic image this year! Are you ready?

“Get a Room” in Washington DC

Destination DCthe official tourism and marketing corporation for Washington, DC, launched Date Nights DC “Get A Room,” a five-week long marketing campaign to inspire consumers to visit Washington, DC for a date night or romantic weekend in February.

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Visitors and residents alike can choose from 33 deals at DC area attractions and 10 romantic hotel packages featured on Datenightsdc.org during February, traditionally a slow period for the city’s hospitality industry.  The ‘Get a Room’ campaign positions DC as romantic destination year round and directly drives consumers to book hotel rooms.

In addition to the dedicated website, the campaign is encapsulated in a 30-second ad that focuses on a couple in a provocative encounter in a restaurant, turning the heads of their fellow patrons. This awkward moment serves as the setup for the line that comes to everyone’s mind when confronted with this type of situation – “Get a Room.”  The 30-second spot communicates the desired consumer action – booking a hotel room.

More: washington.org

Travel is Good – for your Relationship!

The U.S. Travel Association, the industry’s main lobbying group in U.S , is planning a multimillion-dollar campaign called “Travel Effect”, with the goal of undertaking and promoting research that shows the benefits of traveling to people’s health, relationships and communities, as well as to the economy.

The project hopes to find the kind of science-supports-desire research that has been a home run for other industries, such as the wine business.

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Here are some interesting stats on how travel is good for your relationship!

THIS VALENTINE’S DAY, INSTEAD OF BUYING JEWELLERY AND CHOCOLATE, BOOK A TRIP 

  • Nearly two-thirds of couples (63%) surveyed say a weekend getaway is more likely to spark romance in their relationship than large or small gifts.
  • Just one-third (36%) viewed receiving small gifts the same way.
  • And only 15% rated getting big gifts like jewelry as important to improving romance.

LOOKING TO REKINDLE THE ROMANCE? CONSIDER A VACATION FOR JUST THE TWO OF YOU

  • More than eight in ten (83%) of those who travel as a couple say the romance is still alive in their relationship.
  • Fully seven in ten (72%) of the couples surveyed believe traveling inspires romance.
  • Nearly two in three couples (65%) say being romantic is an important reason to travel with their partner

COUPLES WHO TRAVEL TOGETHER REPORT HAVING A BETTER SEX LIFE THAN THOSE WHO DON’T

  • Three-quarters (77%) of respondents who travel as a couple say that they have a good sex life, compared to 63% of couples who do not travel together.
  • More than one in every four couples (28%) say their sex life improved after traveling together – and of those, 40% say sex together is permanently better after travel.

COUPLES WHO TRAVEL TOGETHER HAVE MORE TIME FOR INTIMACY AND SEX

  • A strong majority (59%) of couples participating in the survey say that being more intimate is an important reason to vacation together.
  • Among couples that did not take a trip together in the past year, nearly one in four (23%) say they “do not have enough time for intimacy and sex.”

More: traveleffect.com/you

Visit York is Romantic

Romantic Brits are wooed by tourism organisation Visit York to book a stay in York as part of a new multi-channel marketing campaign in partnership with the national tourism body VisitEngland.

The new campaign positions York as one of England’s most romantic heritage cities.

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York, the birthplace of romantic poet WH Auden, is being showcased in a series of high profile national print, online and broadcast media outlets as part of the campaign throughout January. This new marketing activity is set to encourage romantics from London to Edinburgh, Birmingham to Plymouth to book their next break in York.

Apart from press and radio advertisements, York’s romantic appeal is also promoted through a substantial programme of digital and social media activity, including Facebook competitions, video content and dedicated Romantic York pages on visitengland.com.

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, said: “This exciting campaign is the first of several launching this year with the aim of growing tourism in England. Starting in time for the run up to Valentine’s Day and Easter, the campaign promotes some of England’s most beautiful historic destinations.

“This is a great example of the industry working in partnership to stimulate tourism and grow jobs throughout the country.”

York is one of seven UK destinations taking part and will feature alongside Bath, Chester, London, Oxford, Salisbury and Stratford-upon-Avon.

More info: www.visitengland.com