16 Jul 2014

The private sector has to become responsible for Destination Marketing

Endangered species
Tourism providers need to become individually and collectively better at marketing themselves, each other and their own destination. 

I believe that if you can raise the game of the private sector then this ultimately will address all the long-standing issues still being debated re TBIDs, State Aid, the role of DMOs, OTAs, market failure etc.

The private sector has to become responsible for Destination Marketing.

Anna Pollock's take on it is that "DMOs and tourism providers need to perceive their customers as whole people having a complete experience of which their product is a part - then they would not need to be told to do the obvious! Sadly the industry has grown up with an industrial mindset that breaks a complete experience into products and talks about destination visitors as consumers. Time to join up the dots. The destination in which providers work collaboratively to ensure the visitor gets all the information he wants, when he wants it (ie before, during and after the trip) is the one that will succeed."

In the absence of the above a justification for public sector intervention based on correction of this 'market failure' was formed, leaving many private sector businesses to believe that they could afford to invest less in their own marketing efforts. After all they had a very well funded DMO to pick up all the marketing slack.

With or without a DMO a great many tourism businesses are not only marketing themselves (& their destinations) poorly; they have developed a mindset that makes them resistant to all investment in better marketing support for their own business. Not only do these businesses need new marketing skills (or access to the appropriate support) they need to understand that their existing marketing budgets need to be better spent.

The combined existing marketing spend of tourism providers makes for a substantial budget - at least 50% of which is spent on marketing that has no ROI.

On-line marketing is getting easier - not harder. Platform technologies open up all sorts of options for collaborative marketing that:
  • increase the probability of a new customer booking
  • because the customer is being given the information / service they need
  • enabling that booking to be made on the providers own website ie no commission to OTA/DMO
There are some simple Social Media / Digital Marketing basics that if applied consistently across the board by tourism providers would make a huge difference at a Destination level.

My opinions are only concerned with trying to create a much improved visitor economy, exploring new innovation and collaboration and raising our collective game.

DMOs should stop feeling threatened and start engaging and sharing. This debate is not about them - it is about all of us.