Tag: digital marketing

digital marketing displayed in times square

The digital era is synonymous with a time of constant change. Innovations are transforming industries at incredible speed. The travel and tourism industry is no exception. Technology is driving the way in which travellers are searching, accessing and consuming travel content. But how much has the industry changed? Find out below! 

digital destination marketing remote beach vacation

According to Wex’s US Travel Trends Report 2019, technology influences the imagination and preparedness of travellers today – this cannot be overstated. More recently, Google Trends insights highlighted that the pandemic has resulted in consumers having even higher digital expectations.  They have adopted new digital habits, and changed their online behavior as a result.  Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) therefore need to understand the value of digital destination marketing as an essential part of the marketing strategy. Digital is now the norm and a tool to reach consumers around the globe.

Digital marketing refers to all marketing that uses an electronic device or the internet.

But, what is digital destination marketing?

According to HubSpot, digital marketing refers to all marketing that uses an electronic device or the internet. Today, 65% of global travel and tourism sales are made online (Statista 2021), leading digital marketing to be even more important than traditional marketing. DMOs can creatively engage with potential visitors to raise awareness for its products and services, increase visitation, and maximize benefits for all its stakeholders. 

Now more than ever, digital destination marketing matters. Destination Management Organisations are facing high competition for tourism dollars.  They must not only find the right customers, but they also must standout, inspire, and engage them in the most effective and efficient way. Digital marketing facilitates these goals.  

What is the value of digital destination marketing?

1. From local to global 

As DMOs look to grow visitation, targeting new geographical markets are a logical step. Digital marketing brings a destination’s products and services to an audience anywhere in the world.  Whether prospecting for new visitors using social media campaigns, or launching a paid search campaign, a destination can expand its presence beyond its immediate geographical vicinity.

2. Focused targeting

Using detailed customer data, perhaps from its website, DMOs can position its offering directly in front of its ideal consumer, that is, the audience which is highly likely to be interested. Messages can be personalized to increase the level of engagement with different segments. This reduces the wastage experienced in traditional marketing where one broad message is used to target everyone. Solimar’s work with destinations like Namibia integrates digital platforms in the marketing strategy to enhance the country’s awareness to its targeted audience.

3. Improved measurability

Tracking the results of traditional marketing activity is near impossible. With digital marketing, DMOs can see detailed performance throughout the life of the campaign. They can see precisely which activity is achieving their goals, and use this data to drive revenues and increase profitability.

4. Campaign agility

Due to its very nature, digital campaigns allow companies to make improvements at any point. Close monitoring provides data in real time and adjustments can be made rapidly. As a result, funds are spent smarter with less wastage. 

Virtual reality transports travellers to the destination through a multi-sensory experience

What are the top digital marketing trends to inspire a DMO’s strategy in 2022?  

1. Everything must be mobile, mobile, mobile

According to 2018 Google research, 45% of US and 48% of UK smartphone users are comfortable using a mobile device to research and book their entire trip to a new travel destination. Therefore, a ‘mobile first’ strategy is essential. DMOs will want to ensure that any action which they inspire consumers to take online, is easy to achieve on a mobile device. 

2. Content is King 

Content is at the heart of digital marketing. It refers to everything from text and images to video and audio, and more. It has the potential to increase search rankings, drive visibility to the right audience, enhance brand image and build brand authority. As travellers do more streaming and posting of content online, DMOs can reap big rewards with storytelling which showcases the authenticity of its products and services.

3. Go virtual

Accelerated during the pandemic, virtual tours are used to transport travellers through a multi-sensory experience. Viewers get an immersive pre-travel experience without leaving their home. DMOs can really create standout brand experiences with intriguing storytelling and short engaging videos. Even individuals who are unable to travel, can get a flavour of the destination. Virtual reality experiences can support a destination’s sustainable tourism goals, as they reduce the impact of physical footprints in vulnerable locations.

virtual reality destination marketing

4. The power of video in destination marketing

Videos are powerful. They fully immerse the viewer in a different world more impactfully than images can. Google research cites that 65% of travellers search for travel videos online by destination.  DMOs have an opportunity to create content in the format most appealing and likely to be found by potential consumers. Solimar International’s expertise in creating impactful videos was a key part of Jamaica’s successful community tourism programme. Four promotional videos, each showcasing a core theme of the community tourism experience, were launched on social media and other digital channels to raise awareness for the incredible sustainable initiative.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and, more recently, TikTok, are ideal for this.  TikTok is now mainstream – with over 1 billion active users, the average user spends 52 minutes per day on the platform. It gets the highest engagement of any social platform and is seeing the 25 – 39 age group as its fastest growing segment. The quality of the content and the collaboration with influencers are the keys to success on this platform. By offering fairly low-cost opportunities for influencers to experience the destination, museum or festival entrance, for example, the content can reach large audiences.

So, why should I care about digital destination marketing?

The value of digital destination marketing is significant. It enables DMOs to promote its products and services to a more targeted audience, it affords the use of cost-effective channels to reach wider geographic markets, and it helps to enrich content. All of these combined drives success for the destination.

Solimar International creates strategic online marketing strategies and social media marketing plans for destinations worldwide, including Rwanda and TanzaniaInterested in how we can help you with destination digital marketing? Contact us to learn more.

Social media plays a massive role in traveler decision. Learn what makes a successful social media marketing campaign

Emerging approximately 15 years ago, social media platforms have dramatically changed communication and marketing – including the way we both plan and share our travel experiences. Instead of sending a postcard, travelers now share pictures and photos on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and Facebook. Instead of visiting a travel agency or browsing print travel catalogs, travelers now use social media to gather inspiration of stunning destinations. Influencers have grown in popularity as users that have a widespread digital following and capitalize on the opportunity that the platforms offer. They are now able to share their content and opinions to their audience, while often being compensated for their reach. The world of marketing has shifted, leaving a great opportunity for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) to inspire travelers with inspiring content and a successful social media marketing campaign.

The potential of social media in tourism is enormous. A survey of American tourists revealed that 36.5% use social media for travel inspiration. The most popular platform is Facebook (80%), followed by Instagram (60%), Pinterest (43%), and Twitter (26%). Even more surprising numbers from Great Britain show that 55% of travelers aged 18-65 book trips only based on photographs they have seen on Instagram. Consequently, using social media marketing for promoting the destination is essential for DMOs to inspire potential visitors and to build up a long-lasting and engaged online community. 

Social media platforms allow us to create and share our own content that attracts attention. They give us the possibility to connect with people and to get inspired by others. Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms are used in tourism for researching a destination, for connecting with staff to ask questions, and for sharing memories and pictures during and after the visit. DMOs need to build their channels and show presence on the different platforms by creating inspiring and engaging content and by providing customer service. However, no professional social media activity should be done without a strategy as the platforms can become quite overwhelming and confusing. A strategy is the foundation of successful social media marketing and next to regular content about the destination that should be posted constantly, specific campaigns can be used to boost social media activity. 

Person holding smart phone taking a photo of a bridge

Building a Social Media Marketing Campaign

A Social Media Marketing Campaign must be coordinated to increase attention and influence the audience for a specific period of time. The following components should be the base of a successful campaign on social media:

  • Strategic plan
  • Goals 
  • Channels 
  • Partners

Without having a plan, your campaign will likely not be successful, as it is important to determine how the campaign should be set up, when you want to post and what you need for doing so. Moreover, it is essential to set up goals that should be reached with the campaign – do you want to increase the bookings, create more brand awareness or build a more loyal visitor community? Decide what you want to achieve and align the campaign accordingly. Using different social media platforms for the campaign is an efficient way to boost visibility and why not ask partners for help to increase the traffic to your page or to offer a price that can be won? 

Great examples for successful social media campaigns in tourism can be found worldwide from New York with the engaging #NYlovesFall campaign that focused on fall foliage and encouraged users to post their own pictures of the changing leaves, to Switzerland Tourism, whose “Holidays without internet” campaign gained international attention as they offered a one-week holiday in a remote area, especially targeted at the high-internet-users and the winners chosen based on their spend time on Facebook. Those campaigns lead the destinations to create a lot of buzz on the platforms, a huge increase in followers and interest in the destinations- being talked about is what counts on social media and the destinations achieved that with their engaging campaigns. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced destinations to rethink their marketing activities with many DMOs choosing to focus on inspiring tourists to visit once the situation is more stable and safe. An example of a social media campaign focused on keeping dreaming about the destination was created by Visit Maldives with stunning pictures and a very important message that was supported by the hashtag #visitmaldiveslater

Examples from a social media campaign in the Maldives

At Solimar, we are aware of the importance of social media marketing in tourism, which is why we dedicated a whole session of our DMO development course to the topic. We also work strategically to develop social media marketing plans and campaigns for destinations worldwide and are happy to have worked with, among others, the country of Namibia to foster its online presence by launching successful and inspiring marketing campaigns that led to a more engaged community and increased interest in the destination from the North American market. 

Social media has become an indispensable part of modern life and DMOs need to use the potential that the platforms offer to build up a loyal community by providing engaging and high-quality content. Specific campaigns are beneficial to boost the community and engagement and reach certain goals over a certain period of time. However, they need to be created strategically and thoughtfully, to not get lost in the vastness of the platforms. Creating engagement and interaction with followers can be challenging in the overload of information existing nowadays. However, it can lead to an increase in loyalty to the destination, thus making a potential visit or revisit more likely. Reaching that is the ultimate goal that DMOs strive for through their presence and content on the buzzing social media platforms. 

A 2015 Dry Tortugas National Park social media campaign

If you need help with planning a travel related social media marketing campaign, contact us to find out more about how Solimar’s marketing team can help!

Source: https://coralglass.media/news/visit-maldives-later-campaign-by-mmprc

Travel Photography: National Camera Day

With the development of technology and digital devices, it has now become so easy for us to take photos with our smartphones or digital cameras in our daily lives, especially when we want to capture wonderful moments on a trip with family and friends. But have you ever thought about how cameras got invented and the stories behind travel photography? On June 29th this year, Solimar International celebrates National Camera Day with the world. Let us take you on a journey to get an insight into the invention that sparked the world of travel photography. 

A short history of cameras and photography

The history of the camera dates back even further before the development of photography. Before the modern form of the camera was invented, camera obscura – or the Latin word for “dark room” – referring to a natural optical phenomenon of an image projected through a small hole in the screen and showing on the other side of the screen, was described earliest by the Han Chinese philosopher Mozi in his principle.

  

Source: Camera Obscura and World of Illusions Edinburgh 2021

 

In 1825, the first photograph was captured by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce with a fixed image that didn’t fade away, and it had set the foundation of photography. Later, the first photographic camera for commercial manufacture was developed by a Parisian art restorer Alphonse Giroux in 1839, which was a type of daguerreotype camera – a forerunner of the modern film. In the 1970-90s, numerous manufacturers began to work on cameras that store images electronically, thus the first point-and-shoot camera came into the world. It was also the Digital Age of cameras. On the other hand, photography only remained among the rich until George Eastman, the founder of the company Kodak, made photography accessible to the public after the 1880s with the invention of photographic roll film. As the technology evolved over time, digital cameras were developed, gradually becoming the camera function we use nowadays on our smartphones. 

 

Modern Cameras and Travel Photography

Nowadays almost everyone has a camera on their smartphone, and it is so easy to click a button to capture any moment. Digital cameras have also become the main type of camera that professional photographers use, as they can adjust the exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, shooting modes…and many more features that would create different effects on photography. As technology improves, even better cameras are able to be incorporated into smartphones, which makes travel photography more accessible for the remote destinations Solimar works in. On Atauro Island in Timor-Leste, for example, our team helped to create the tourism website for the island using mostly photos from staff member smartphones and local partners on the ground. 

Among all types of photography, travel photography is a genre that involves the documentation of an area’s landscape, people, cultures, customs and history. The Photographic Society of America (PSA) defines travel photography as “an image that expresses the characteristic features or culture of a land as they are found naturally” with no geographic limitations. Whether it’s the breathtaking panoramic views on top of mountains, the glittering reflection of the ocean under the sun, or the vitality of greenery in the tropical rainforest or the wilderness of the boundless desert, the moments are as if frozen in time when we press the shutter on the camera. Aside from natural landscapes, travel photography can capture the uniqueness of different cultures from around the world, inspiring people to travel like this photography series documenting the life of Inuit people across the world. 

Source: Own, in Venice 2021                            Source: Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Celebrating National Camera Day 

As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. On June 29th, Solimar International celebrates National Camera Day with the world, recognizing the thousands of words, languages, cultures, and landscapes contained within a camera shutter. Despite the challenging COVID-19 situation that put the travel and tourism activities to a halt, we can learn to observe our surroundings and appreciate every little detail in our lives, and to capture the precious memories on the photographs that we can hold on to when we look back in time. So pick up your camera and create your own moments and tell your stories through photography!

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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