Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Tomorrow’s DMOs Must Become Brand Managers

It seems that every other day I see more evidence that the role of destination marketing organizations (DMOs) is under greater threats and challenges than ever before. The diminishing role of print and broadcast advertising, the ready availability of new sources of unbiased destination information and new distribution systems all challenge DMOs to redefine the value that they add for their community. They must not only adjust to reduced budgets, but also avoid the ongoing technological and consumer behavior changes that are totally reshaping the game. Added to that, there are now previously unseen competitors and alternatives that threaten to replace them. Never before has the relevance and role of DMOs been as hotly debated.

It’s not hard to find DMOs that have had their budgets decimated or even worse are closing their doors. In most cases, this is extremely short-termed thinking where the objective has been to balance the City’s bottom line because of shortfalls in taxes and revenue. Cities that are serious about economic development and tourism, and the long term prosperity and growth of their communities need their DMO and the stellar reputation for their city like never before. However, in this environment DMOs must adjust their focus, role and the way that they operate. Specifically, they must become brand managers on behalf of their cities.

These challenges have been addressed by DMAI in its excellent DestinationNEXT Report which provides an important strategic roadmap for DMOs to succeed in the future. The Report reveals three transformational opportunities that DMO have to effectively address in this rapidly changing world. These transformational opportunities are:

  1. Dealing with the new marketplace
  2. Building and protecting the destination brand
  3. Evolving the DMO business model

Recommending that DMOs become brand managers by building and protecting their brand is not new to the TDM team. We have been advocating this for more than a decade.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Southern Success Story: Effective Online Tourism Marketing of US Gulf Coast States

It is estimated that 84% of leisure travelers use the Internet for planning their trips. Knowing this, a creative and effective online tourism marketing strategy is essential for every tourism destination.

The US Gulf Coast States (USGCS), more popularly known as the “Southern Crescent,” comprising of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida has actively sought to enhance its online tourism presence and to interconnect its travel experiences across states. The results have proved promising: At the conclusion of the USGCS Geotourism Program, the region has succeeded in creating a regional website of around 1,800 unique and authentic local sites, attractions and businesses that has attracted over 35,000 unique visitors to its pages to date. The program has also built a Facebook community of over 3,000 followers.

The Project

The USGCS Geotourism Program, in partnership with National Geographic, seeks to promote tourism that sustains and enhances the natural, cultural and historic attributes of the four Gulf States and that benefits local communities. The goal is to highlight what’s unique about a place through the voices and stories of the people that live there.

The challenge was to facilitate collaboration among industry stakeholders including the government, local businesses, public lands and residents to develop marketing tools that promote the region as a world-class tourism destination.

Strategy included the establishment of a Geotourism Stewardship Council composed of representatives from the four state tourism offices as well as private and public sectors stakeholders from the region. The Council’s role was to oversee and implement the Geotourism Program in the region with the vision to help promote the lesser-known jewels of the states.

The Geotourism team used a tested methodology to gather content and stories from local people to create an online Geotourism website, highlighting the lesser-known attractions of the region through the voices of the people that live there. The website and its accompanying mobile app and print MapGuide are high quality tools, co-branded with National Geographic, to help travelers explore the region.

Once the Geotourism website, apps and print maps were created, two social media campaigns were implemented to promote the Geotourism website. A Geotourism Program Facebook page and related social media channels were established and used to engage travelers with the content and stories of the region.

The Results

Through these campaigns, the Geotourism Program generated over 35,000 unique visitors to its website, build a community of over 3,000 Facebook followers and generate over 1.8 million media impressions using the content from the website.

Ultimately, this campaign shed light on the importance of using smart online tourism marketing strategies. Developing useful marketing tools, targeting the right campaigns and involving locals in telling their stories are all part of what made the program a success.

This blog post is from  www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic

Co-creationCulture changeInnovationInnovative cultureMarketing 3.0

The Impact of Social Media on Creativity

GigaOm recently published a great piece on discussing the impact of social media on creativity, citing the John Mayer’s tribulations with Twitter as their prime example:

http://gigaom.com/2011/07/19/does-using-social-media-interfere-with-creativity/

Although I definitely think a discussion around “distraction” is worth a few sentences, I don’t think it’s fair to make blatant statements about social media and creativity. Creativity can be inspired by the most unexpected of things. Perhaps it’s less so for musicians, but as a writer I often find inspiration in the most unlikely of places including tweets and status updates. One could argue that reading is not the same as posting and I would agree but there are many times when posting triggers responses that provide inspiration. I also conjecture that distraction is not necessarily a bad thing for art either.

There are times when focus is needed. I don’t want people talking at me or email dinging or tweets flying when I am head down on a piece. But there are other times when the distraction is welcome, when the creative process has stalled enough that distraction can provide the impetus to new inspiration. What is interesting about GigaOm’s piece is Mayer’s fixation on distraction. It became the primary focus rather than the distraction (perhaps his songwriting and tweeting switched places, and songwriting became the distraction).

Regardless, that is an individual artist’s issue, not necessarily an epidemic for artists as a whole. In fact, one would begin to wonder if John was looking for a way to avoid his art and saw Tweeting and social media as an easy distraction. But social network does embody something very intrinsic to the artist: the need to be at the center of things. Although some artists may not agree, saying they produce art for art’s sake, I argue that’s a rouse. The only point of art is for people to enjoy and appreciate it and, by doing so, the artist. If people are listening to your songs, what’s the point of writing them? This need to be loved, to have the attention of people, is endemic to the artist’s condition, his reason d’etre.

Unfortunately, as I have written before, being an author (or artist) will be tougher as time goes on because getting the attention for one’s art will become more difficult in the constant flow of tweets and status updates. That will require artists to adopt new means of connecting with their fans (i.e., social networking) especially when there will be fewer opportunities for traditional media promotion (i.e., agents). It may be interesting to see the rise of “social networking managers” to help the artist deal with and manage their tweets and other social feeds. This new requirement to connect with fans to promote art is simply another aspect of the “business” of being an artist that needs to be managed accordingly.

Social networking, as a whole, thought is a distraction to life. It interrupts work, it interrupts thoughts, it interrupts conversations and television shows. But it poses no more a threat to creativity than any other form of distraction including all of the other business aspects of being an artist (or at least trying to make a living at it).

www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/12/20/the-impat-of-social-media-on-creativity/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

24 Immutable Laws of Place Branding

Branding for destinations takes many rules from product branding and namely services branding. However, these have to be adapted to the specificities of destination marketing, and further, destination branding has also some specific rules not to be disregarded. 

  1. The law of expansion – The power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope. Focus on a core set of industries or capabilities and do a good job of investing behind a strategy to leverage the critical mass in your location as a reason for both capital attraction and expansion.
  2. The law of contraction – A brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus. It is more effective to target limited resources to build a best in-class structure and critical mass in a limited number of industries than to spread your resources too thin and make marginal progress across a wide range of industries in your location.
  3. The law of publicity – The birth of a brand is achieved with publicity. Be first to stake a claim and leverage it through publicity. Once to determine the core Promise of your location, be bold in declaring it to the world and harness the credibility of getting others to share your location story. Third-party endorsement is a powerfully persuasive tactic.
  4. The law of advertising – Once born a brand needs advertising to stay healthy. It is important to be top-of-mind with information seekers in order to be considered for more capital investment opportunities. If your location doesn’t make the list of locations to receive an RFP, you never have a real chance to be successful. Out of sight, out of mind and consequently out of consideration for due diligence.
  5. The law of the word – A brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer. Your location certainly already has a name, so this counsel is not about revisiting that. Instead, think about what your location’s core Promise is and try to articulate it in one or two words. The exercise will force clarity in defining the unique reason to believe why your location is an ideal choice for capital investment. To the extent you can, try and make the word(s) benefit focused versus feature focused.
  6. The law of credentials – The crucial ingredient in the success of any brand is its claim to authenticity. Nothing kills a product faster than great advertising, and nothing will undermine your place branding efforts faster than failure for the capital investor experience to match your Promise. It is critical that the walk and talk are aligned.
  7. The law of quality – Quality is defined through the eyes of the potential capital investor. Make absolutely certain you location delivers value, solves a problem, or meets a real need for the business. Your place brand must be relevant and competitive in order to be seen as quality versus other options.
  8. The law of a category – A leading brand should promote the category and not the brand. Be as concerned about creating critical mass through industry infrastructure growth as you are about attracting individual company investment. The more synergy you can create through strategic company attraction that enhances industry capability, capacity or lowers cost for the companies in your location, the more attractive your location becomes.
  9. The law of a name – In the long run a brand is nothing more than a name. Your reputation is gold. Do not pursue strategies and alliances that risk your location’s good name. Do not pursue short-term gain at the cost of your location’s image. Trust is difficult to build and easy to lose. When you make promises keep them.
  10. The law of extensions – The easiest way to destroy a brand is to put its name on everything. Everything you put your location’s name on draws an inferred association. Be mindful of where your name is used and how it is used. Guilt by association is an unfair but too often real outcome.
  11. The law of fellowship – In order to build a category, a brand should welcome other brands. There is power and synergy to be gained through the right Regional efforts.
  12. The law of the generic – One of the fastest ways to fail is to give a brand a generic name. Don’t let your location get lost in a gross generalization of your region, It is important to stand for something and not let the world define you. In a competitive situation, the competition will always define you as second best or worse.
  13. The law of the company – Brands are brands. Companies are companies. Capital investors ultimately choose a piece of property to invest in. The Region, State and community are all considerations and need to contribute to the choice. But, if the specific property does not meet the capital investor’s needs (or can’t be made to meet them), then the decision to invest will certainly be no. A good brand creates attention, interest and desire. But, the product ultimately dictates the action. Don’t expect to cover product problems with a good brand.
  14. The law of sub-brands – What branding builds sub-brands can destroy. It is important to have alignment of promises from the state to the local community, and a consistent delivery of an authentic experience. To the capital investor, this is an integrated experience and not a series of random events. Interactions at all levels matter.
  15. The law of siblings – There is a time and place to launch a second brand. The naming of projects is important. Particularly, if a project is inconsistent with the brand promise or potentially controversial. It is much harder to disassociate your location’s reputation from a well-publicized project gone wrong. Pay attention to how your locations brand mark is used by third-party Organizations. It may be perceived as tacit endorsement of their product or service and create negative equity for your location.
  16. The law of shape – A brand’s logotype should be designed to fit the eye. How you plan to use your logo matters. Take the time to think it through. Eliminate complexity and ensure the logo is scalable both up and down. Also make certain the logo can be pleasingly presented in multiple media from print to the web.
  17. The law of color – A brand should use a color that is opposite of its major competitor. Color matters. Typically you will have a legislatively designated color. Leverage it in your promotion to create an association with your place brand over time. If your community does not have a color, your State does. Leverage the State color in your promotion to take advantage of any synergies that can be created between the State brand equity and your place brand.
  18. The law of borders – There are no barriers to global branding. Your branding should translate across cultures. Looking forward, you will be increasingly be competing globally for capital investment. It is important your location’s core Promise has relevance and is competitive to foreign direct investors.
  19. The law of consistency – A brand is not built overnight. Political cycles can kill a place brand program. Not only is it important that a consistent level of investment be made to support telling your location’s story but that it be told consistently by public sector leaders. Building brands takes both time and money. If you have limited time, you will need more money.
  20. The law of change – Brands can be changed, but only infrequently and very carefully. Brands cannot be static or the relevancy and competitiveness will erode. It is important to understand what currently makes your location the better choice versus competition and effectively promote on that basis. But you also need to determine what will make you even more competitive and keep you the location of choice. Public policy reform and infrastructure investment decisions should be made with an eye toward what your location should become as well as to deliver the current Promise.
  21. The law of mortality – No brand will live forever. Protect your place brand from politics or it will suffer irreparable harm. Place brands should reflect the core Promise (or essence) of a location and not be treated like a campaign slogan. Relevance, competitiveness and authenticity are what win investment and create jobs in a location.
  22. The law of singularity – The most important aspect of a brand is its single-mindedness. Begin with the end in mind and reverse engineer strategic choices to ensure excellence in delivery. Any promotional money spent that does not forward your brand communication is worse than money wasted. It detracts from your overall messaging by contributing to creating confusion on what your location stands for. You should always be able to articulate the connection between the investment and its tie back to your core Promise.
  23. The law of consultation. A place brand should not be defined behind closed doors by a select few. It must be defined and built through collaboration and consultation with multiple, diverse (and sometimes non-traditional) stakeholders to engage, inspire and generate future support and on-brand actions.
  24. The law of future generations. The long-term vitality and success of a place brand requires that there be continuity in understanding, knowledge and energy in regard to the brand strategy.  The concept of “passing the baton” to the next generation of elected officials, brand managers and partners must be integral to the original brand strategy.  Without this attention we have seen the brand investments made by some cities become diluted and gradually fade away.  Usually, all that remains is a lonely logo searching for meaning.

“Without a doubt any “person, place or thing” can become a strong brand. Edward has outlined exactly how to build a place brand according to our Immutable Laws.”

Laura Ries. Co-author of the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/3/

http://strengtheningbrandamerica.com/blog/2009/03/22-immutable-laws-of-place-branding/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Why Isn’t Anyone Supporting our City Brand?

In recent months I fielded calls from two frustrated CEO’s of DMOs, one in Australia and one in the USA with the same question, “why isn’t anyone supporting our new brand?” Both had launched their brands about 3 years ago and were finding that their DMO was the only organization making reference to the brand. Adding to their frustration was that local partners were continuing to dilute their city’s brand message by not focusing on what they considered to be their brand strengths.

It seems that both brands were originally created by agencies that only engaged a small number of stakeholders in the process. Additionally, the DMOs received nothing more than a logo, tagline and guidelines for correctly using the logo and visual identity. Of course these are important parts of the toolkit, but it takes much more than that.

Both locations are now refreshing the brands by developing more robust brand management tools and stakeholder engagement which include:

  • Product development and experience delivery sessions to gain their support of partners in bringing the brand to life;
  • Partner guidelines for creatively and correctly communicating and using the brand;
  • Brand education coaching for staff, partners and marketing vendors;
  • Outreach programs to engage, inform and energize partners to use the brand;
  • A comprehensive brand manual to aid current and future staff and partners.

The two DMOs I spoke to could have avoided their brand acceptance problems if their original processes had considered the need to generate stakeholder buy-in and support from the very start of the project. At the heart of the problem was the need to have been more alert to avoiding the narrow confines of considering their brand to being simply a logo and tagline. The reality is that successful place brands demand a highly consultative process and ultimately a comprehensive toolkit and outreach that will enable brand managers to rally the support of partners, stimulate the design of brand experiences and foster synergy from across the community.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Environmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0SustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Searching for a Sustainable Destination Management Model in Jordan

One of the greatest challenges facing destinations around the world is finding a way to bring together tourism stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop, manage, and market their tourism destination.

It’s widely understood by tourism professionals that Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) play a key and important role in connecting the tourism industry and serving as an advocate for tourism that grows local economies while mitigating tourism’s negative impacts to the environment, cultural heritage, and local residents.  In most destinations the role of the DMO is focused on destination marketing since most tourism businesses recognize the advantages of working together to create demand for a destination.  But anyone who has been to an overcrowded, too touristy, trash-ridden destination should understand why focusing on destination management is just as important as destination marketing.

As important as Destination Management Organizations may be, unfortunately most governments fail to provide financial support to help them.   In most developed destinations a combination of a bed tax, industry membership fees, and/or government funding provides modest marketing budgets that in turn convenes and unites the tourism industry around a common vision for tourism development.  But this is not always the case in developing destinations.  It’s these types of undiscovered destinations that need DMOs more than anywhere since we all know that it’s unplanned, unregulated tourism development that destroys the places we love to visit.

But how do you finance such an organization when there are only a few small tourism businesses in a destination and reluctance from national tourism authorities to decentralize tourism development and marketing?

Ajloun is one of Jordan’s undiscovered gems that offer visitors wonderful experiences ranging from 12thcentury castles to hiking trails through green forests. But the best is that the majority of these services are provided by local communities that are welcoming visitors into their homes and at their dinner tables to experience the incredible Jordanian culture and hospitality.  Ajloun was not realizing its tourism potential and a main reason for this was because no one was working together to promote and develop the tourism destination.  A DMO was needed, but how to make this work and what is required to make this successful?

Below are my reflections based on experience in Jordan and countless other developing destinations on what is needed to establish and sustain a destination management organization.

While every destination is unique and different I have come to learn that the following three key ingredients are required to establish and sustain a destination management organization in the developing world.

  1.  Willingness to work together –as easy as it sounds the first and probably the most important ingredient to creating a successful destination management organization is making sure the tourism stakeholders are willing and able to work together.  Small tourism destinations are made up of people and people are complicated.  Especially in small towns where religious or political beliefs can be as divisive as loyalty to your favorite English Premiere soccer club or who someone is currently dating.

In essence you are asking people who consider themselves competitors to agree to meet, work together, and invest time and resources for a shared good.  The first thing I did when visiting Ajloun is interview as many people as I could to try and determine if there was a willingness to work together and understand the personal dynamics in the destination that I need to be aware of.  Luckily in Ajloun there was an overwhelming desire to work together.  Everyone I met with expressed an overwhelming desire to be part of something that could help elevate Ajloun’s tourism offer.

  1. Leadership and Passion – while a willingness to work together is critical, to establishing a Destination Management Organization, equally important is finding someone with the leadership skills and passion for making it happen.  This is where most DMOs that are established with the support of international development organizations fail.  It’s much easier for the external consultant to step in and be the leader and initiate the work of the organization.  But who becomes the glue that keeps everyone together after the donor support ends and the tourism consultant leaves?  Who calls the meetings and sets the agenda? Who sees the status quo and is passionate about making change?  Without a clear leader or group of leaders that are willing to invest substantial amounts of time and headaches to make this happen, it will not work.

This was one of the challenges I recognized last week in Ajloun.  While many people I met are willing to come to a meeting and benefit from a destination marketing initiative, it was not clear to me who would be willing to take the lead and sustain this DMO over time.  But this is also why setting up a DMO takes time.  Several more conversations and meetings need to take place before I can say one way or another if there exist a leader in Ajloun that will ensure the long term success of this initiative.

  1. A Sustainable Business Model – To be honest I have seen destinations that lack one or two of the above mentioned ingredients that are still able to sustain a Destination Management Organization simply because it had a business model that provided sustained sources of income or funding to operate. However even those destinations with the best leaders and a willingness to work together have not been able to sustain a DMO without a sustainable business model.

But how do you create a sustainable business model for a DMO?  This is a question that tourism professionals around the globe are trying to solve.  In the US we have the membership model and the bed tax that funds most DMOs or new Tourism Improvement Districts (TIDs).  In Europe, funding from local governments that recognize tourism’s return on investment supports the operating budgets of most DMOs.  But in the developing world or in the case of Ajloun where there is less then 10 tourism enterprises that collectively sell less then $20,000 in services a year, how do we establish a sustainable business model for the DMO?  There is no way the businesses in Ajloun will pay a membership fee and even if they would the amount would not go far.  Government support is out of the question and the lack of large companies outside the tourism sector means that finding a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sponsor will be a challenge.

As I interviewed more and more people I realized that the lack of tour operators in the region combined with the inability of many of the community tourism enterprises to take Internet reservations or create packages meant that there was a business opportunity.  This business opportunity is around the creation of what I like to call a Destination Management and Marketing Company (DMMC).  A DMMC takes the same mission as a DMO and has a governance structure similar to a board of directors of a DMO but it uses a business model that provides services in exchange for compensation to sustain the organization’s operating costs.  By no means is creating a DMMC an easy task but I believe that Ajloun is a perfect destination for this social enterprise approach.  The next step, like any new business is developing a business plan to define the company’s products, services, target markets, operating plan, and financial models.  It is only after this business plan is developed and local stakeholders agree to the concept can the business be established.  I look forward to the opportunity to work with the wonderful people I met In Ajloun to see if the social enterprise business model can sustain and support the needs of the tourism industry.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Destination%20Management?start=10

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Is Place Branding Still Relevant for Cities?

Some time ago I delivered a keynote presentation and the CEO of a city tourism organization approached me and said, “I enjoyed your presentation, but isn’t branding cities obsolete?” He went on to say that he believed that brands are irrelevant and dead because of the digital power that consumers now have at their fingertips. My quick response was: “If brands are irrelevant, then why do brands dominate the digital world and still dominate worldwide stock markets?”

My belief is that today brands and branding are more important for cities and destinations than they have ever been. Let me start by referring to the recently released DestinationNEXT industry report by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).

The report concludes that one of the transformational opportunities for DMOs to effectively address their changing world is to build and protect the destination brand. Through this focus DMAI advocates that destination branding is neither obsolete nor irrelevant. After all, Coca Cola, P&G, and Kia still have their very effective brand managers. Destination branding isn’t easy. Many efforts have not been done well and more focus is needed to move beyond logos, taglines and advertising themes.

The digital world has not changed or obsoleted the principles of branding but it has magnified everything we know about building a great brand. The fundamentals and principles of branding haven’t changed, however marketing as we have known it has been largely superseded. This means that how we go about brand communications and brand management have changed.

Brand relevance and success still demands that destinations have meaningful differentiation, outstanding experiences and a robust brand platform to guide everyday programs. The days of trying to be all things to all people are over. And there’s no room for generic and bland brands.

Branding has become a whole lot more exciting because digital platforms open a new world for people to experience your destination. Savvy DMOs are tapping social and mobile networks, smart phones and tablets, GPS apps, and myriad other opportunities to reach consumers globally or when they wander the streets of your city. Not to mention the highly emotional and engaging content they can now deploy through their websites using video, audio, photos and real time comments from customers.

In Part Two, we will consider the opportunities and benefits that a brand management approach will open for DMOs and cities of all sizes.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Business trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0

Why Do We Need Public–Private Partnerships in Sustainable Tourism?

What is a Public Private Partnership and Why Is It Important?

In sustainable tourism development projects, there are inherently multiple goals in which an array of parties maintains interest. From tour operators to local governments and communities, these stakeholders all have expected outcomes for tourism development. In order to properly represent these interests and create mutually beneficial outcomes, public–private partnerships are essential to a great tourism strategy. The most important piece of this puzzle is maintaining strong relationships and a clear understanding of divergent yet symbiotic objectives.

It is convenient to maintain strong relationships with a wide range of actors in the tourism sector, which is vital to the negotiation of these partnerships. These partnerships leverage financial and technical expertise and promotional benefits from private and government partners in exchange for improvement in stakeholder relations, marketing, and improved product and service delivery. Increased sales revenue and jobs, improved visitor experiences, alternative incomes for local communities, decreased levels of conservation threats in areas of high biodiversity, diversified production and increased production for small farms, and overall improvement of sustainability of destinations have all been marked results of these arrangements.

Public–Private Partnerships in Geotourism Programs

At the onset of each program, a destination Geotourism Stewardship Council is organized, made up of a variety of stakeholders, including communities, non profits, businesses, and governments representing the interests of the natural, cultural, scenic, and historic features of the destination. This group then works with the consultants to develop the regional tourism strategy, defining the vision, goals, timeline, and objectives of the project. The Stewardship Council also plays a key role in implementing the strategy by meeting regularly to generate local nominations, review the information and materials created, and utilize the products established to sustain and promote the destination.

Public–Private Partnerships in Conservation

Another area of tourism that benefits from strategic public–private partnerships is conservation. In areas of high and rare biodiversity, there can be built partnerships between a number of public and private stakeholders, including protected area authorities, government bodies, conservation NGOs, the local tourism private sector, and communities living around the area. Generally categorized as Protected Area Alliances, these groups, similar to the Geotourism Stewardship Councils, play a key role in the development of the tourism strategy as well as its implementation. The alliances continue after the initial implementation of the program, allowing the community to continue supporting and sustaining the protected area. Through these partnerships, multiple goals and interests can be achieved, such as increased protection for the environment, increased revenue for the tourism sector, and increased economic opportunities for the local governments and communities.

Public–private partnerships are essential to sustainable tourism development, as they allow stakeholders across the globe to participate in the development of tourism strategy, communicate and achieve their goals and interests, and successfully implement tourism programs, all while collaborating to achieve a common goal.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

How to Involve Locals in Destination Management & Marketing

In today’s tourism marketing world, all buzz is around discovering a destination like a local. If you search for “travel like a local,” you will find countless articles and websites trying to help travelers discover destinations through a different perspective. As an avid traveler that loves to escape tourist traps, I appreciate destination marketing organizations trying to help me connect with recommendations from people who live in the destinations I want to visit.

I think this is why Airbnb.com and the sharing economy are taking off, not just because it provides a different type of accommodation, but because it connects visitors with locals. One of the benefits of staying at an Airbnb.com property is the ability to meet a local to give you recommendations for what to do, where to eat, and how to experience the destination away from the hop-on, hop-off tour buses. Who doesn’t want this type of local knowledge when planning a trip to an unknown destination?

The challenge for destination marketing organizations is how do you get locals involved and willing to share their recommendations with visitors? Destinations like Philadelphia, are launching programs called “Philly like a local” – Experience Philadelphia as its residents know and love it,” which recruits locals to take over the DMO’s social media accounts. But taking that approach to scale and getting hundreds or thousands of locals involved in a program to answer the question “What is so special about my place?” is not an easy task……unless you have the National Geographic Society on your side.

We have been very fortunate to work alongside National Geographic for the last 7 years helping destinations apply an approach to sustainable tourism development called Geotourism. A concept created by Jonathan Tourtellot, geotourism encourages destinations to develop and market tourism products that sustain and enhance the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, geology, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

The Geotourism approach is unique among tourism development solutions due to its focus on the establishment and empowerment of a private-public partnership that serves as a forum for dialogue, collaboration, and planning among local businesses, non-profit organizations, residents and tourism authorities. The goal is to better manage challenges through cooperation while also identifying, sustaining, enhancing, and promoting the destination’s unique assets.

As a tourism development and marketing professional working in the field for more than a decade, I can tell you that bringing stakeholders together to participate in a tourism development and marketing program is hard work. Every one of our projects involves some type of stakeholder engagement process to plan and implement destination and marketing programs, but getting government, businesses, and residents to come together for a meeting or complete a task is extremely difficult.

This all changes when National Geographic is part of the program. The power of that yellow logo is incredible. People all over the world admire the brand immensely and jump at the opportunity to collaborate with such an respected organization. With the mission of inspiring people to care about the planet, they are extremely effective at getting locals engaged in caring for their destinations.

James Dion leader of the Geotourism program, kicks off every project with a public launch announcing the program. This brings together businesses, politicians, residents, and media to learn about the program and how they can be involved. After the public launch event, local residents are encouraged to visit a National Geographic co-branded website to nominate a business, place, attraction, or event that is an authentically local experience. This event and program generates incredible media attention at a local level, helping further distribute the call for participation from locals.

We are currently in production of a U.S. Gulf States Geotourism program supported by national, state, and local partners to raise awareness of the unique cultural and environmental experiences in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida. We are working to rebuild the area’s allure following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill that caused a devastating economic impact on the region.

Through local events and media outreach led by our local consultants, the program is generating incredible media coverage, which in turn has inspired over 1,000 nominations (and counting!) from locals for the Geotourism MapGuide. Once the nomination period closes, National Geographic’s team of cartographers, editors, fact checkers, and designers will work with the local public-private partnerships created at the beginning of the program to finalize the MapGuide and prepare for a public roll-out.

In summary, getting locals involved in destination marketing and management is not only a wise approach to ensuring a destination maintains it’s sense of place, but it also is a great way to help visitors discover the hidden gems of your destination. Here is some of the most recent media attention generated from the U.S. Gulf States Geotourism program. It’s just one great example of how the program effectively brings people together and generates immediate excitement.

Alabama to be part of National Geographic geotourism project – Your Town Alabama

Residents encouraged to nominate areas for geotourism – The Selma Times-Journal

What’s special about Columbus? Nominate your pick for National Geographic map – The Dispatch

National Geographic launching locally built travel guides in BP oil spill states – The Time Picayune

Louisiana selected as part of National Geographic’s Geotourism interactive map – WAFB News

Let National Geographic help you – Natchez Democrat

Your authentic Florida location belongs in Nat Geo’s geotourism guide – Visit Florida

Alabama Gulf Coast site nominations sought for Geotourism MapGuide – AL.com

Massive geotourism project underway in U.S. Gulf Coast States – Destination Stewardship Center

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Destination%20Management?start=10

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

How to measure transmedia experiences

We’re delighted to be working with Eefje Op den Buysch, Head of the Fontys Transmedia Storytelling Lab and Hille van der Kaa, professor of the professorship of Media, Interaction and Narration at Fontys School of Applied Sciences in the exciting and much needed area of audience engagement as it applies to transmedia storytelling.

Below is Eefje & Hille’s “flyer” for their talk at the Conducttr Conference where they’ll be presenting their findings. Our plan is to incorporate this work into Conducttr so that we present a meaningful dashboard with actionable insights rather than a simple series of charts.

How do you measure transmedia? What metrics will help transmedia producers better understand, compare and contrast the impact of a transmedia story?

In this research we analyzed existing engagement models and added the insights of twelve leading transmedia experts in attempt to come closer to a final solution.

Measuring engagement means placing audience size into a broader context of how the transmedia production is actually performing. Stakeholders in the production get to see where, how and when fan engage so that refinements can be made.

In this research we choose to focus on the goals of the storyteller.

We propose a model that can be used to create and give direction to a transmedia production team of writers and performers. Twelve leading transmedia experts evaluated this so-called ‘Toggle Switch’ model.

Toggle Switch Model

We see three important aspects of a transmedia production:

  • the storyworld
  • the individual audience member’s behavior in comparison to others
  • the experience of the storyworld at various stages of the audience journey.

Audience members who interact with the world are considered to be engaged users. By tracking the behavior of individual users we can map how they discover the world and how they interact with it over time: each time a user touches something in the storyworld, we record it. By listing all these ‘points of interaction’ and structuring them into chapters, scenes and beats, we can track the journey and hotspots of engagement for individual users as they progress through the story.

The key benefit of our conceptual model is that the behavior of an individual user can be compared to others. In doing so, we can interpret the relative engagement of an individual user compared to others (as a ratio) at certain points of interaction (touchpoints, chapters, scenes, beats). By tracking the user journey the storyteller gets actionable insights on the behavior of that individual, but also on the behavior of groups of users.

Evaluating Toggle Switch Model

We asked twelve leading experts to evaluate the clarity, completeness, affectivity, applicability and benefit of our model.  Amongst them are Sam Ford (Peppercomm, New York, NY), Dr. Pamela Rutledge (Media Psychology Research Center, Boston, MA), Bart Robben (Elastique, Hilversum, NL), Egbert van Wyngaarden (Transmedia Desk, Munich, DE) and Soraia Ferreira (UT Austin, Porto, PT)

Participants found our model interesting, allowing the ability to track both individual and overall journeys and providing the opportunity to adjust the strategy during the campaign. But they were doubtful that this model could measure real emotions. Based on the insights of our expert panel, we have improved our model and we are excited to share these results at the Conductrr Conference.

We aim to present an engagement model that can be easily integrated in the daily activities of a transmedia storyteller.

About this research

This research is conducted by Eefje Op den Buysch, Head of the Fontys Transmedia Storytelling Lab and Hille van der Kaa, professor of the professorship of Media, Interaction and Narration at Fontys School of Applied Sciences. 15 students at the Fontys Transmedia Storytelling lab run the interviews.

Fontys’ Transmedia Storytelling Lab was designed for the research and development of transmedia productions and their value in the digital age. The professorship of Media, Interaction and Narration aims to develop innovative media concepts. It puts focus on the influence of technology on storytelling.

Check out the PDF here

“This model is designed to be able to track individuals and in what way each person travels through the narrative world… It gives storytellers the possibility to understand which particular parts of the story serve the right purpose.” – Sam Ford

“It is a very clear way of starting to break down the transmedia experience. By looking at ways of measuring these multiple threads of behavior to try and make sense out of them in a hole.”– Dr. Pamela Rutledge 

 This blogpost is from http://www.tstoryteller.com/how-to-measure-transmedia-experiences