To thrive, DMOs need Synchronized Content Management

What should destination marketing organizations (DMOs) do to remain relevant despite shifting digital trends? That’s the focus of the latest Tnooz Report, How Destination Marketing Organizations Can Avoid Extinction.

The ever-growing ubiquity of mobile-based information on absolutely every corner of our world suggests that consumers don’t need DMOs to help them choose or navigate a destination. In one major survey, only 19% of consumers said they sought out travel information on a DMO’s website.

Some DMOs are getting creative. On August 1, Arizona DMO Visit Sedona debuted the ability for travelers to text (via SMS) their questions, thanks to third-party tool Chatbox.

Other DMOS are trying data-driven marketing.

Diving deeper, our report author — Richard Kunz, a Principal Consultant in Vancouver with T4G (offering management consulting expertise) — surveys the evolution of DMOs.

Based on interviews and research, he concludes that DMOs need to take several steps, such as develop better understandings of their market and do better jobs at curating content. In general, DMOs should be wary of the latest fads in technology.

One of his recommendations is that DMOSs shift to adopting what he calls Synchronized Experience Management (SEM). Here’s how Kunz explains SEM:

Consumers are focused on their interests and preferences when selecting a destination to visit. The DMOs’ role as content curator must take this into account.

‘Curating’ the content into what can be marketed as “experiences” worth having, is a skill and an art. At its core, however, is the ability to capture all relevant information. For a DMO, that means working closely with its destination’s main stakeholders – suppliers (or tourism operators).

In the past, DMOs have found ways to aggregate suppliers’ content and re-distribute it.

Destination marketing systems (DMSs) would typically be implemented for this function, whereby suppliers, using the Internet, could upload the information relevant to their product or service.

Remarkably, even today, suppliers update their content infrequently. Many suppliers feel that it adds little value to update their content with their respective DMOs.

Some argue that it’s too cumbersome. But it’s also reflective that suppliers feel DMOs don’t add much marketing value.

A key reason for that belief is that content sharing is one-way (from supplier to DMO). Few DMOs have a means to communicate back to suppliers and share content, such as social media stories, or target lists of interested consumers.

Luckily there are now many tools that can introduce these functions. I call it Synchronized Content Management (SCM).

What is SCM? It’s the extension of content curation to make it synchronized and accessible in both directions – between the DMO and their supplier.

For example, take a technology like Hashtagio, a social media aggregator platform. By leveraging Hashtagio’s functions, a DMO or supplier can capture social media stories and incorporate them into their respective websites but also share the specific social content with each other to enhance their respective marketing efforts through third parties, like OTA websites.

DMOs are also the logical intermediary to manage the digital rights associated with user-generated content.

Similarly, the ability to capture target lists of prospective consumers, assess their areas of interest and create specific email campaigns between the DMO and the supplier(s), would offer a great partnering opportunity.

Most individual suppliers couldn’t afford the underlying technology or contract with a service provider, but DMOs could easily add such a service by leveraging email marketing tools, like Aurea (formerly Lyris), or even partnering with service provider firms like Ryan Solutions or Selligent who offer wider services, such as analytics along with email marketing. (There are many such providers.)

NB: This was an excerpt from the latest Tnooz Report, “How Destination Marketing Organizations Can Avoid Extinction.” It’s written by Richard Kunz, a Principal Consultant in Vancouver with T4G.

NB2: Image from BigStock

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