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The State of Destinations and Social Media

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We reviewed the state of travel destination brands, the impact of social media on consumer travelers, how consumers us social media to plan, purchase and share their travel experiences and how destination brands are using social media to engage their audiences.

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The State of Destinations and Social Media

  1. 1. Intro Habits Trends Consumer Destination CONTENTS
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION DMAI’s release of the DestinationNEXT report brought social media front and center as an opportunity and indeed a necessity for destination marketers. This is good timing considering that the upcoming generation of Millennials are not only the most prolific users of social media, but turn to it first for information. 74% of all women in the US and 62% of all men in the US are social media users. While 71% of US adults from 30-64 use social media, a whopping 90% of 18-29 year olds are social media users. Millennials don’t just use social media, they live in it. Social media has become their primary communications tool, storefront, scrap book, pin board and channel for expression. In this e-book we will talk about how, not just Millennials, but all travelers are using social media for vacation inspiration, advice and shopping as well as inspiring and recommending vacation destinations to their friends and families. We will also look at how Smart Destinations are using social media to attract visitors, benchmarks for success and opportunities you should be taking advantage of. Fig. 1: Future Map — Top 20 Trends HIGHER LOWE R 3.5 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.0 2.9 AVERAGE LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE • © DMAI / Inter VISTAS © DMAI / Inter VISTAS • ii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY On its 100th anniversary, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) is taking a bold leadership step with the DestinationNEXT initiative. The vision is to provide Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) with practical, clear actions and strategies for sustainable success in a dramatically changing world. This road map will culminate with a number of co-created transformational strategies and DMO prototypes based on the specific characteristics of their communities and destinations. This initiative was made possible through a generous grant from the Destination & Travel Foundation. After an extensive review process, a project team was selected, led by InterVISTASConsulting Inc. (InterVISTAS), along with a number of experienced executives from the DMO community (GainingEdge, Bandwidth Management, and Global Meetings & Tourism Specialists). The project team completed a detailed review of industry trends, supported by a futurist and industry panel. An extensive survey was sent to industry leaders in March 2014. The response was strong: 327 DMOs from 36 countries participated in the survey, one of the best response rates of any DMAI survey. The top 20 trends were plotted on a grid that assessed each trend based on: • Degree to which the trend will have a positive or negative impact on the DMO and destination • Degree of control the DMO has to influence this trend Rather than a conventional SWOT analysis, this approach helps organizations focus on trends and issues that they can impact or affect (e.g., the upper quadrants of the grid where a DMO can exploit opportunities and mitigate threats). The analysis identified a number of opportunities to exploit (e.g., upper right quadrant of the grid). They revolved around the following areas: • Playing an expanded role in the community on broader economic development issues • Improving branding of a destination in leisure and meetings and conventions markets • Capitalizing on social media and smart technology to engage and access residents, industry, and markets This is good news for DMOs, who will have many opportunities to continue making a positive and significant impact on their communities in the future. The detailed analysis of trends, strategies, and organization of the future concludes that DMOs have three transformational opportunities to effectively address the changing world. DMOs will have to move in each of these directions given that they are highly interrelated.Fig. 1: Future Map — Top 20 Trends Hotel taxes vulnerable to alternative politically based projects Brand impact on leisure Mobile platforms &apps primary engagement Brand impact for groups Tourism integrated with economic development Personalized travel experience Technology enabling faster decision-makingBig Data Short-stay trips Smart technology opportunities Social media prominence More personalized information Geotargeting & localization Ordering products online Highly volatile economic conditions Governments facing budget pressure More third-party information Peer-to-peer Customers going directly to suppliers Experience locals’ way of life HIGHER LOWER 3.5 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.0 2.9 MITIGATE CONTROLLABLE OPPORTUNITYTHREAT EXPLOIT MONITORCONTINGENCIES UNCONTROLLABLE AVERAGE LEVEL OF IMPORTANCE • 54 4 5 321 1 2 © DMAI / Inter VISTAS
  3. 3. Social & SEO At the end of June Google announced a better integration of social media content into search engine results pages (SERPs). Now, when users search for something such as 4th of July decorations or where to eat in Miami on their mobile device, they’ll not only get more traditional websites, ecommerce sites, etc. but they will also get links from social media platforms such as Pinterest, Houzz. These results will be available in a sliding carousel at the top of SERPs. This shows not only the importance of social media to SEO, but it shows how important visual content is to social media. Right now this service is focused on recipes and decorating, which take up a majority of the content on sites such as Pinterest, as more travel related brands jump into Pinterest we’ll see users finding vacations via SERPs, Pinterest and we expect Twitter and Instagram to be integrated in the future.
  4. 4. Social Networks by Total Users Facebook 1,415mm Instagram 300mm YouTube 1,000mm LinkedIn 364mm Google+ 343mm Tumblr 230mm SnapChat 200mm Twitter 288mm Pinterest 76mm Google Plus, often called a ”ghost town”, has more users than Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and SnapChat yet few travel brands use G+.
  5. 5. LinkedIn: 1049Pinterest: 229 Instagram: 843 Facebook: 338 Twitter: 208 YouTube: 25 Tumblr: 500 Social Networks by Average Followers per User Instagram users have more reach than users of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube combined.
  6. 6. How Social Media Influences TRAVELChoices
  7. 7. 52% OF CONSUMERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR VACATION INSPIRATION ALLIANZ GLOBAL 26%4% 6% 14%
  8. 8. 52% OF CONSUMERS WHO USED SOCIAL MEDIA TO RESEARCH TRAVEL PLANS CHANGED THEIR ORIGINAL PLANS 33% Switched hotels Switched resorts Switched booking Switched destination Switched airlines 10% 10% 7% 5% Houston Chronicle Mashable
  9. 9. 121 Likes 110 Likes 52% 83% 74% 84% say they begin dreaming about a vacation even if they didn’t have one planned are more confident about their travel destination when friends and family validate or recommend it say they only book when friends and family are involved in the decision are inspired by friends’ travel posts Aoife Desmond, team lead for travel vertical at Facebook say they can easily imagine going to a place if they see friends and family have been 70% and travel planning
  10. 10. One in six visitors to travel sites are also users... ...and of Pinterest users perform a Pinterest-inspired activity every month Things To Do Families Tips Memories Children Summer Activities Walt Disney Bucket Lists Baby All Pins Your Pins Pinners Boards from Living Well Spending Less® The Best Family Road Trip Ever The Best Family Road Trip Ever. (10 ways to truly enjoy the journey) Great tips and awesome insight from a mom who just finished a 29 day, 4,000 mile road trip with her family. Don't even think about planning a road trip without reading this post first! 1469 172 2 Terry Wilder Good to Know Best place to travel with kids in California? Travel to Columbia, California | This Is My Happiness.com 100 16 1 Jenna of This Is My Happiness t… This Is My Happiness Travel Blog Kids Love Travel.com - Discover the best places to visit with Kids 191 7 Nicole Nash Travel Awesome list. i would add Mollys Cupcakes. best ever and great "story". 76 Things to do in Chicago with Kids 5933 509 6 Lisa Andreas Travel from Mommy Poppins - Things to D… Best Family Hotels in NYC: 10 Great Places to Stay with Kids in New York City 627 35 2 Stephanie Berry Sklut Places To Go Rise Gear makes bags and suitcases that are like a portable closet. 8494 1269 16 Promoted by The Grommet from It's Always Autumn 20 best ideas, activities, and resources for road trips with kids have a #road #trip coming up? Check out this post for links to the very best activities, snacks, and tips for road trips with #kids - find hundreds of ideas all in one place! 234 16 Alena S Travel ~ Road Trip Activities for … from The Typical Mom Best Vacation Spots for Kids Like many families we take at least one big vacation a year, usually during the Summer break. We love exploring the United States with our kids and road trips are the best ways to really connect with your kids, see the scenery, and find spots you never would have known about had you been on … 666 56 1 The Typical Mom Kid Blogger Network Activities … 9 Things to Do With Kids on Maui AWESOME pin! Done almost all of these. Baby Beach is the BEST. Checking out the Surfing Goat Dairy this year. ;) 2878 190 3 Leona LaRue MAUI The 16 Best Places to Go on Vacation With a Baby or Toddler. A must-read before you pick a vacay. www.ivillage.com/... 1967 130 2 iVillage Travel from The Dating Divas 101 Best Family Vacations 101 Best Family Vacations in the USA. I've been to 16, but I'll happily revisit any of them with the kids! ...or else head to new places altogether, there are plenty of neat places across the country! 1146 100 1 ❤ My escape from reality... from lilsugar.com The 10 Best National Parks to Visit With Kids 1623 77 1 Erin Wing Awesome to Zen 10 Best Places to Travel with Kids Internationally 163 5 Leanna @ Alldonemonkey.com Travel with Kids 63Michaelbest places to travel with kids 64% comScore
  11. 11. How Consumers Are Sharing Their Vacations Instagram has 26 million images tagged #vacation and hundreds of thousands tagged with variations such as #vacationmodeon 46% OF TRAVELERS CHECK INTO A LOCATION ON FACEBOOK & FOURSQUARE 76% OF TRAVELERS POST PHOTOS OF THEIR VACATIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES Mashable
  12. 12. How Consumers Are Sharing Their Vacations 45% 1 in 3 1 in 4 1 in 5 50%share photos from their trip on Twitter use Twitter to find local events use Twitter for local restaurant/tourism recommendations use Twitter to get flight updates Despite warnings that talking about travel via social networks is a home security risk, people continue to share details of their travel experiences including check-ins, photos and video. With 80% of active users updating their Twitter status via mobile, the ease of Tweeting while on the road is obvious. More than half of vacationing Twitter users are posting daily, some posting multiple times per day. In fact 30% of social media users claim that they see at least one friend posting vacation-related content in their feed per day. Twitter has become a digital concierge of sorts for travelers; allowing them to not only share their agenda but to get information about their trip. Tweet about their vacation status Mashable
  13. 13. What Consumers Are Saying About Destinations #1 Cleanliness #2 Location #3 Staff Friendliness Travelers talk a lot about their travels. A recent study looked into exactly what they were saying about hotels. Over 7 million social media posts were analyzed and found the top 3 things travelers care about in regards to their accommodations: The study found some interesting accommodations- related posts that were very specific to each destination: In Nebraska the top concern for travelers was breakfast In Mississippi travelers were seeking comfort In Maryland size mattered, the most common topic was room size. In Alaska the top theme for travelers was “quiet” Netbase
  14. 14. Every day consumers share content on new tools & new social networks
  15. 15. How DMOsAre Leveraging Social Media
  16. 16. How DMOs Are Rocking Twitter At last year’s DMAI Annual Convention Fuseideas launched a new Twitter benchmarking tool called Potential Human Reach™. This website looks not just at followers but at the actual reach of the brand’s Twitter account as well as it’s engagement with it’s followers. Over 40 DMOs registered and today we have a leader-board of almost 200 travel brands. This allows us to look at the overall industry performance data to provide benchmarks on things like ReTweet rates, image sharing percentages, follower counts, engagement per follower and of course, Potential Human Reach™. The following represents the standings from the top for many of these measurements as of July 2015. If you’d like to see your DMO represented, visit www.potentialhumanreach.com/dmai2015.
  17. 17. Twitter Followers: Top DMOs @visitbritain 295,642 @I_LOVE_NY 282,375 @vegas 283,375 @nycgo 213,747 @VISITFLORIDA* 101,359 @washingtondc* 83,250 @Colorado 118,338 @visitmusiccity 114,317 @discoverLA 105,054 @VisitAustinTX 120,587 Top follower counts were obvious choices (even if NYC and New York State compete with each other). We’re seeing top follower rates for DMOs in the tens and hundreds of thousands of followers for top brands. However, this has become a less and less important metric as we are able to see more details on who is actually seeing brand content and which content is engaging and relevant enough for followers to share. Sharing content is extremely important so that your content can extend beyond just your follower base but also to their followers. Shared content extends the visibility of a brand but can also attract additional users. Take a close look at the rankings above and see how they change once we look at engagement and actual reach in the following pages. * client or former client
  18. 18. Twitter Engagement: Top DMOs @This_is_Hampton 276.47 @mplsnorthwest 210.20 @spainusa 253.89 @visitventure 164.24 @VisitOmaha 125.01 @visitgreecegr @itsdccool* 116.74 113.15 @GoToBermuda* 134.73 @daytoncvb 128.88 @VisitNorfolk 143.84 The engagement rate shown above represents how many people you reach for every one person that follows you. This tells us how engaging your content is by how much it is shared. Photos, videos, and website cards all impact engagement. In 2013 Twitter underwent a redesign allowing images to be shown in-stream. Previously all images were links that required users to click in order to view. With in-stream images Twitter changed from a gray stream of text to a colorful waterfall of moving and still visuals. In summer of 2012 Twitter created website cards, which allow brands to add code to their website so that the links from their website they post in Twitter get a more robust presentation that includes images, video, text and call to action buttons. Now imagine how easy it is to miss plain text Tweets among Tweets full of images and video. Often engagement can be traced directly to how many images and videos a brand is sharing. The list above shows the top 10 DMOs, not according to how many people follow and possibly ignore their Tweets, but by how high their engagement is by virtue of relevant and engaging content that is shared. * client or former client Fuseideas case study Engagement: Agency of Record Length: 2 years Results: 1500% increase in Engagement on Facebook 750% increase in Likes on Facebook
  19. 19. Potential Human Reach™: Top DMOs @visitbritain 22,607,386 @I_LOVE_NY 14,334,647 @vegas 9,252,025 @nycgo 6,812,131 @VISITFLORIDA* 6,108,191 @visitgreecegr 6,023,696 @Colorado 5,163,586 @visitsandiego 3,858,661 @CityMinneapolis 3,622,767 @germanytourism* 3,232,149 Potential Human Reach™ is Fuseideas’ proprietary algorithm that allows us to see what a brand’s actual reach is beyond just their followers to their followers’ followers based on the level of engagement their followers have with their Twitter content. This one number combines both engagement and popularity to give us a single metric to benchmark. Since it’s launch at the DMAI Annual Conference in Las Vegas last year almost 200 destination brands have submitted their Twitter accounts and discovered their Potential Human Reach™. * client or former client
  20. 20. of Top DMOs ReTweet rate is a good indicator of how engaging your followers find your content. When followers share your content they are adding your brand to their brand portfolio. By sharing, they are introducing your brand to their networks. This is how your level of engagement can increase your followers. Over the last couple of years Twitter has changed from a text format to a visual format, with images and videos being shared inline. This means that it is imperative for brands to use images and video in tweets in order to get seen. 82%48% Average ReTweet RateAverage Tweets with Images or Video 9x Average number of times the top engaging DMOs are Tweeting every day Do you want to know your ReTweet rate or percentage of images and video? Visit www.potentialhumanreach.com/dmai2015
  21. 21. of the Average DMO The top DMOs like NYC, Las Vegas, Great Britain, etc. are performing exceptionally well in social media. But we found DMOs that shared less than 1 image in 100 tweets or tweeted only once or twice per week. So we looked at the overall averages for almost 200 DMOs to share some information about their Twitter followers and engagement. 25,277 Average number of followers of a DMO Twitter account 5x Average number of times the aver- age DMOs are Tweeting every day 1,223,614 Average Potential Human Reach™ 59 Average engagement rate (people reached per follower) 45%15% Average ReTweet RateAverage Tweets with Images or Video
  22. 22. Emerging Paid Social Media Opportunities for Promoting DMOs Paid Social Media Ads Website Cards cinematic pins Carousel Ads promoted posts dark posts Pre-Roll sponsored snaps Sponsored Tweets 3V ADS Lead Generation Cards Promoted Pins video ads sponsored updates Fuseideas case study Engagement: Media Length: 6 months Results: 2.139% top Facebook Ad Click Through Rate 1,115,372 total Facebook ad impressions
  23. 23. Brand Consistency Very often social media is still an afterthought for brands; something to be plugged in once the campaign is underway or the web site is live. What this often means is that brands’ social media channels are inconsistently branded leading to confusion and poor brand perception as well as recognition. Of the almost 200 DMOs we reviewed almost one third were inconsistently branded; their social media channel logos, header graphics and content lacked current branding and messaging were inconsistent with their website and branding collateral. This inconsistency goes beyond visual branding; DMO’s often neglect to include URLs or user names for the social media accounts in printed or broadcast branding. Just adding an icon requires consumers to search for your social media account name, which may ALSO be inconsistent with your website branding. DMOs with consistent social media branding 145 DMOs with inconsistent social media branding 42
  24. 24. Thank You Potential Human Reach™ is a proprietary algorithm Fuseideas uses to measure the 2 most important factors to social media marketers; reach and engagement. This tool provides insight into how well your Twitter account is performing, why it may be going unseen, how many real people your Tweets reach beyond just your followers but to their followers as well. Potential Human Reach™ was launched at the 2014 DMAI Annual Convention. Since then almost 200 DMOs have used the tool giving us a leader-board that allows us to benchmark the performance of the entire travel vertical. For more information and your free analysis visit: potentialhumanreach.com/dmai2015. Fuseideas is an award-winning full service creative agency that specializes in developing innovative, integrated and measurable campaigns for Destinations seeking differentiation in an increasingly chaotic media environment. We break through this “chaos” with a strategic mix of traditional, digital, and social media built upon a rock-solid creative strategy designed to ensure that your Destination stands out among its competitors. CONTACT Dennis Franczak 8 Winchester Place Suite 303 Winchester, MA 01890 P 617-776-5800 www.fuseideas.com

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