The importance of Personas in Customer Journey Mapping for DMOs

“Customer journey mapping is the process of tracking and describing all the experiences customers have as they encounter a service or set of services, taking into account not only what happens to them, but also their responses to these experiences” (Dent, 2013). Creating the ultimate customer engagement strategy is of great importance for any company,  which is why it is necessary to be able to map a customer’s journey. By doing so, you can very specifically analyze the customer’s preferences and opinion about your company and its strategy, while also figuring out more about the aspects which are creating gaps during the entire customer journey. In this blog I will be focussing on DMOs (Destination Management Organizations), who represent destinations and focusses on the development of long-term travel and tourism strategy of that destination (Figueroa, 2016).

In order to make the customer happy, you will have to segment your different target groups into potential customers with similar interests, after which you can create a persona for each segment. By doing so, you can specifically and personally target the customers during the entire customer journey. First, the differences between people’s demographic and personal characteristics should be determined and subdivided. This way the organization will gain more insight on who its customers are, the value they bring to the company, thus enhancing the image of the company (Dent, 2013).

Personas are typically defined using three research methods, which are independent market research, combined with insights from your actual customers usually obtained through surveys and interviews, and finally, the overall market trends (Arnie Kuenn, 2015). It is important to know how many personas you are going to be using in your company and how specifically you are going to segment your customers. According to Arnie Kuenn (2015), depending on your company’s size and its business model, the ideal number of personas is anywhere between 2 and 30.

For example, a DMO would segment their customers as follows. First they segment the demographic characteristics, such as their age, gender, education, jobs, household income and composition and marital status, after which they can look at the behavioral characteristics. These include things such as ‘what keeps them up at night’, their challenges, role in purchasing and content consumption, while also having an idea who their customers are and their values they have and bring to your company. After completing this research, you can pinpoint all the personas you want to use, and can start targeting them in different ways in order to make each customer feel special and individually targeted. A great example of a DMO that used this approach, is Visit California. In 2015, Visit California launched their new marketing strategy, in which they break down their consumer target audience demographics and psychographich profiles. Two examples of their personas are ‘Momy Maximus’ (the busy working mother who puts family before all else and makes the bulk of family travel decisions) and ‘The Confident Connoisseur’ (for the luxury travel market) (Oates, 2015).

After creating the personas you want to use, you have to make sure it is consistently used across your entire company, so that every team, but especially the sales team, can benefit (Sorenson, 2011). When all your employees are aware of the various personas that the company uses, not only the indirect but also direct contact with your customers can be targeted to a specific persona. This will enhance the connectivity a customer will feel to your brand, product and services, creating a better customer engagement and brand loyalty level.


Dent, Julie (2013). Customer Journey  Mapping: A Walk In Customers’ Shoes. In ascend Issue No 2. Retrieved September 24, 2016.

Figueroa, A. (2016, June 1). What is a DMO. Retrieved October 12, 2016. From:

Kuenn, Arnie (2015, May 4). Why You Need A Persona-Based Content Marketing Strategy. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from

Oates, G. (2015, June 15). Visit California Dives Deep Into Traveler Profiles With New Strategic Marketing Plan. Published in: Skift. Retrieved October 8, 2016, from

Sorenson, Lauren (2011, December 13). 6 Core Benefits of Well-Defined Marketing Personas. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from


2 thoughts on “The importance of Personas in Customer Journey Mapping for DMOs”

  1. Dear Marjolein,

    Thank you very much for your comments! Explaining what a DMO exactly is will make things a lot clearer and I will alter my text accordingly.

    Best regards,
    Anne Mouthaan


  2. An interesting subject. Do you have any examples of DMO’s that use persona’s, besides the NBTC?

    In your title you may add a reference to DMO’s. For readers that are not familiar with destination marketing, you should explain what a DMO is.


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