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I recently had the pleasure of attending the eTourism Summit, where destination brand and consumer marketing professionals were connected with partners like me. This summit provided a great opportunity to exchange new ideas, share best practices and explore innovative concepts.

I was fortunate to present alongside a valued friend and marketing technology partner, Vivian Mur, Director, Travel & Tourism, Aki Technologies. We discussed the problems, solutions and actionable insights from marketing campaigns for three DMO we collaborated on: Visit Hendersonville NC, Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades, and Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Vivian Mur (l) and Barbara Karasek

During our presentation, we unpacked how best to target consumers who choose to travel and shared how tailoring and personalizing content and experiences to the consumers visiting each destination can yield increased engagement and conversions. Here is a summary of each consumer marketing campaign shared. Enjoy.

Hendersonville, North Carolina

When it comes to destination advertising, consumers often experience overload and are presented with a sea of sameness. Visit Hendersonville NC aimed to drive destination awareness by emotionally connecting with audiences in two distinct ways – an aspiration and awareness message and a tactical, conversion message. Further, this destination is well known in the Carolinas and not as much outside of the Carolinas. By clearly defining their audience personas and geographies, and reaching them with a variation of expandable creative during their most receptive moments, Visit Hendersonville NC was able to drive top-performing click-through rates.

Naples, Marco Island and Everglades, Florida

Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades aimed to influence business and incentive group travel decision-makers during the moments they were open to inspiration with personalized contextually relevant messaging about planning regional meetings, incentives and conventions.  To do this, Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades targeted 2 audience segments including “Meeting Planners” and “C-Level Executives”, in addition to leveraging look-a-like audiences.  The overall campaign included paid social on Instagram and Facebook, audience retargeting and constant creative optimizations in order to drive above benchmark engagement results.  This campaign is ongoing to explore the different approaches to reaching our audiences, recognizing that they are consumers and may be receptive to messages that go beyond the typical channels.

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau aimed to drive awareness and consideration of visiting Little Rock, Arkansas with a high-yielding, new audience. Studies show, if you always target the same consumer, you don’t drive incremental business.  Full-screen, high-impact static interstitials grabbed the audience’s attention, prompting booking consideration. The advertisement was altered and personalized, based on their location. The Drive Market creative encouraged people to “Dig In” whereas the Fly Market creative encouraged people to “Explore”. Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau also leveraged paid social on Instagram and Facebook to further amplify the campaign.

The eTourism Summit was an incredible experience, the producers did a wonderful job and I am grateful for the opportunity to share our insights and solutions, through the lens of the DMO digital and consumer marketer. It was inspiring to see how the tourism community is leveraging “mar-tech” innovation to create meaningful and authentic experiences that inspire their ideal, desired audiences to visit. When you deliver a message to a consumer, at the height of receptivity – the right screen with the proper creative – we all find it is better for the consumer and the marketer. As I reiterated, we are not targeting just travelers, we are targeting consumers who choose to travel and that drives results. It is such an evolving tourism landscape that testing with mar-tech partners is an integral element of smart and strategic marketing where we all collaborate and learn together. That is why we love our role as marketers and more so love this industry!