2024’s New Year’s Resolutions for Destination Marketers

By on January 01, 2024

As we head into 2024, don’t get caught behind the times when it comes to destination marketing. On the latest episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, host Adam Stoker shares what he believes to be the most important resolutions for destination marketers to make in the new year. In this blog post, we dive into each of Adam’s New Year resolutions that promise to elevate destination marketing strategies and reshape the industry landscape.

Work with Destination Marketing GPT

Adam Stoker kicked off the New Year resolutions with an exciting announcement – the launch of the Destination Marketing Agent by Relic. This tool is full of information taken from almost 300 episodes of the podcast, Adam’s book, “Touchpoints: The Brand Marketer’s Guide to Brand Evaluation and Enhancement”, and other valuable resources. The Destination Marketing Agent is poised to revolutionize how destinations approach marketing, offering a comprehensive resource to enhance value and operational efficiency.

Don’t be a Follow-on Destination

In resolution two, Adam emphasizes a crucial principle for Destination Marketing Organizations: one can not gain market share by copying a destination with a bigger budget. Destination marketing budgets aren’t scalable and it will be impossible to grow from that tactic. Is your destination a “follow-on” destination?  Focus on discovering and accentuating your DMO’s unique selling propositions and crafting unique and compelling narratives that set you apart. This may involve taking some risks — but the best successes never come from playing it safe.

Sustainability Also Applies to Marketing

As technology and audience behavior change, sustainability in marketing is more important than ever. No longer can destinations afford to rent access to their audience with paid media for prolonged periods. Adam underlines the importance of sustainability, urging DMOs to use more percentage of their marketing dollars on owned media content that can be repurposed months and years down the line, an investment that will see dividends when it comes to marketing dollars.

Use Paid Media to Promote Valuable Content 

“Stop looking at paid media as buying ads, and start looking at it as promoting content,” says Adam. Instead of focusing on paid media as a DMO’s main ad strategy, Adam suggests destination marketers lean more towards creating engaging, shareable content for their target niches. Paid media should be pivoted to promoting a destination’s content rather than a direct “buy now” message. This strategy reflects the changing media consumption behaviors and focuses on turning a destination’s audience into a community. 

Collaborate with Creators, Not Influencers

In an earlier episode with CrowdRiff CEO Dan Holowack, Holowack explained the difference between creators and influencers. Influencers overtly pitch products, but creators develop engaging content that features your brand. These content creators connect more effectively with target niches because they provide what their audience wants to see– content over ads. By aligning with engaging creators who share the destination’s values and vision, the potential for authentic storytelling and meaningful connections is maximized.

Up Engagement by Using Content Pillars

“It’s not enough to create an owned media asset, it’s crucial to build an audience around that asset.” In the podcast, Adam introduces a comprehensive three-step framework in Resolution #6 to guide DMOs in building and engaging their audiences:

Step 1: Content Pillar Creation 

 Establish a central theme, whether through documentaries, YouTube channels, podcasts or other mediums.

Step 2: Content Promotion 

Slice the central content into bite-sized pieces, ensuring widespread dissemination. Promote the entire story to encourage full consumption.

Step 3: Audience Engagement 

Actively engage and build relationships with the audience. Don’t ask too much of the visitor here. Seek permission to market to them through channels like email, text or exclusive group memberships.

Build a Custom GPT for Your Destination

Adam introduces the idea of destinations creating their custom AI bots. These bots would serve as comprehensive databases, offering visitors all the information they need about the destination. This personalized approach enhances the visitor experience, providing real-time and tailored information.

Looking to create a GPT for your destination? Contact us here to become a part of our pilot program.

As we embrace the dawn of a new year, Adam’s resolutions for Destination Marketing serve as a roadmap for DMOs seeking innovation and success in 2024. From embracing originality to leveraging the power of custom AI solutions, these resolutions pave the way for a transformative year in the world of destination marketing. As destinations implement these resolutions, the industry is poised for a renaissance, where creativity, authenticity and innovation take center stage.