The world of travelling has evolved enormously. The rapid rise of technology innovations and the advance of the globalization created a completely new platform for the consumers. Information sources seem to be infinite. Thus, nowadays the costumer is better informed about the sheer diversity of vacation opportunities than ever. This calls for destinations to stand out of the crowd and distinguish themselves through excellent customer relationships with a high focus on customer engagement.
A model aiming at getting the most value out of your customer is the “5 Principles of Engagement Marketing” by Marketo. It suggests connecting with people…
… As individuals. Destination marketers need to find out as much information about potential customers as possible. Only if they know what the prospect seeks to experience at the destination, they can identify indicators and then for example tailor offers on their website accordingly. This strategy also helps to assure that the customer receives the best offer at the right time.
… Based on what they do. By knowing the customer and his preferences in searching for a destination, the DMO’s will be able to interact with each individual customer successfully. A DMO needs to know the customer completely in order to make the right decisions: When should we send the offer to the prospect? Via email or is it better to start a personal dialogue on the webpage? What are the specific features that the client is searching for in his vacation and how can we lure him with them?
… Continuously over time. Only by flooding the customer with information, the destination marketers will not succeed in satisfying the customer. The prospect wants to be addressed in a personalized way when gaining information. This indicates that DMO’s have to closely track the clients in order to then engage them in a logical stream of messages.
… Directed towards an outcome. This aspect is especially relevant for destination marketing as a lot of prospects only use the DMO for the information search stage and afterwards switch to the hotels and transportation companies to finalize the holiday purchase. DMO’s need to work on this problem. They need to fully understand the journey of their customers in order to push them to the next desired step: the purchase of the offers or the recommendation of the destination to other people in their network.
… Everywhere they are. Destination marketing cannot solely rely on a single webpage. Even if it is well structured and interactive, the destination needs to market itself through a variety of channels. The new phenomenon of “being omni-channel” is especially applicable for destinations as they need to use pictures and storytelling to enable the prospect to build a relationship with the destination.
In the future, more and more travellers will consider a wide range of holiday destinations. Therefore, DMO’s, which focus on these practices in engagement marketing, can profit from their customers more efficiently and thus gain competitive advantage.
Marketo (n.d), The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing
Peelen, E., Beltman, R. (2013), Customer Relationship Management, 2nd edition, UK: Pearson