A Destination Management Organizations “is organized to promote its perspective destination to attract visitors”, as stated by the DMAI. (Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), 2013) Therefore it is vital for them to build and retain a destination image and a loyal customer base with satisfied customers to reach these objectives. To have satisfied customer it is important that the entire holiday experience is exactly meeting their expectations and a DMO usually aims to exceed these to enhance customer trust. The actual experience at the destination can be compared to the physical arena of a DMO because this is the place where the customers have physical contact with the DMO which respectively is the destination. (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)
The opening statement refers to the “Consumer Decision- Making Journey in a Digital World” as portrayed in the article “Consumer Moments of Truth In the Digital Context” written by Moran et al. Therefore the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is the one when customers do research and find reviews and other information about the product or service in the internet. The First MOT is the purchase and the Second MOT the actual experience. The Third MOT is the sharing with others after the actual experience which is the content searched by customers in the Zero MOT. Sharing either positive or negative holiday experiences is a crucial for DMO’s. In general it is important to react fast on customer experience stories because reviews can either be enhancing or on the contrary ruining the image of the destination. It is vital to react on negative Feedback with solutions or share positive reviews via various channels. This procedure is also essential to maintain customer loyalty and being seen as trustworthy by the customers because “messages originating from an experienced consumer inherently are considered more believable and trustworthy than marketer-initiated messages” (Moran & al, 2014).
Therefore one could argue that the Third MOT with information shared through the social media arena is the most important moment of truth for the DMO. However, experiencing the destination is vital to give Feedback because without an experience there is nothing to share. Moreover, it is the experience which in the end is the most memorable part of a holiday. If the booking process through the digital arena (e.g. the DMO’s website) was not flawless but the experience at the destination was exceeding the customers’ expectations, then usually the overall experience was still satisfying for the customer. Conversely, if the experience was negative and the booking process was successful, the experience is most likely negative. The customer might even share their bad experience and will probably switch to another destination or booking medium. The latter procedure could have a devastating effect on the DMO and the destination image. (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)
Therefore the DMAI tackled the topic of the fast growing and real life social media and online arena with an article of “Experience design- Make your destination sharable” on their website: destinationmarketing.org. It is argued that “how customers are treated online impacts their experience almost as much as how they’re treated offline” (Stoll, 2014)
In order to come to a conclusion one can say that there is actually a symbiosis between all Moment of Truths. The Social Media Arena grows stronger every day and should not be neglected in the sharing process of Feedback and reviews to support the DMO. However, Flawless customer experiences in the physical arena do lead to customer loyalty in the long run.
Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). (2013). About the Industry. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www.destinationmarketing.org/topics/about-industry
Moran, & al, e. (2014). Consumer Moments of Truth.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson.
Stoll, M. (2014). Experience Design-Make your destination shareable. (D. M. International, Editor) Retrieved October 2015, from http://www.destinationmarketing.org/blog/experience-design-make-your-destination-shareable