Customer Engagement Management is highly focused on loyalty and the effectiveness of word of mouth. It is a term which is nowadays applied in many businesses to nurture the relationship with customers. However, how is CEM applied within destination marketing? (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)
CEM is dependent on the trends and developments in the visitor market, requiring DMOs’ close attention in order to be up to date with the changing market. Social media is one of these trends which became a very important element of customer engagement management, where DMOs try to engage their visitors within a social platform. Furthermore, destinations, places and cities are developing all the time and compared to decades ago, more places have developed itself into modern and interesting places to visit. Various cities and destinations that offer more or less the same experience are of course each other’s competitors, and that is why DMOs especially need to focus on the unique selling points of every individual destination to gain customers’ trust. It is among others the task of DMOs to promote all the unique aspects of the place and provide information on differences between certain cities that are new to the customers and not easy to find.
An interesting example is the case of Amsterdam, that adopted a differentiation strategy for the city. The city marketing organization, iAmsterdam launched a city re-branding campaign in 2005 of a sculpture consisting of the 3 dimensional letters; iAmsterdam, to see the effect of customer to customer marketing. Visitors made pictures with the letters and shared it online via social platforms as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. DMOs stimulated visitors to share these pictures and comments, and showed visitors that they do care about what they say and think. The figure was even the most photographed item within Amsterdam, with over 8,000 shots taken by visitors on a sunny day. Hence, the goal was to make visitors share stories with their peers about their experience with Amsterdam. It is a way of engaging visitors within the marketing process in a creative way, so it creates also a fun experience for the visitor. In this way visitors are stimulated to create their own creative content, and share these experiences online. iAmsterdam is a brand, which wants to create brand awareness and loyalty towards their brand, by means of engaging their visitors by means of word of mouth (Eye for Travel, 2014).
Hence, within CEM, customer to customer marketing is one of the most important aspects and where customers are engaged, and get involved within the marketing choices of DMOs. Hence, DMOs aim is to gain customers who are loyal to their brand, but what would be the best way to reach that goal? DMOs should adopt a customer driven approach specifically based on a targeted and personal communication using digital as well as personal contact. This means that throughout the customer journey, the customers will be engaged based completely on their own needs and wants, while being guided by the DMOs.
Eye for Travel. (October 10, 2014). What the ‘I amsterdam’ letters teach us about destination branding in the social media age. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from http://www.eyefortravel.com/social-media-and-marketing/what-i-amsterdam-letters-teach-us-about-destination-branding-social-media
Marketo. The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from https://uk.marketo.com/ebooks/elements-of-engagement-marketing/
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer relationship management(2nd ed.). United Kingdom: Pearson.
Roberts, C., & Alpert, F. (2010). Total customer engagement: designing and aligning key strategic elements to achieve growth. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 19(3), 198-209.