Episode 253: The Power of Owned Media: How DMOs Can Up Their Marketing Game

By Emily Christman on May 05, 2023

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) play a critical role in promoting tourism and driving economic growth in their respective regions. In today’s digital age, destinations face a challenge to attract travelers and stand out from the “sea of sameness” as discussed in a previous blog post. To achieve this, destination marketers must develop innovative and engaging content that resonates with their target audience. Standard digital ads and commercials will no longer cut it. One way to achieve this is through harnessing the power of owned media.

This week on the Destination Marketing Podcast, I discussed the power of owned media with Stuart Butler, Chief Marketing Officer of Visit Myrtle Beach. Owned media is any content or platform that is owned and controlled by a brand. This includes a brand’s website, blog, video and imagery, podcast and other published media, and any other communication channels they have direct control over. By creating and distributing content through owned media, DMOs can build a strong brand that will lead to a loyal and engaged following. If you’re still unconvinced about owned media, here are some big reasons why DMOs should develop a robust owned media plan:

Bring Brand Awareness to New Heights

Owned media can help destinations build brand awareness and differentiate themselves from their competitors. By creating engaging and entertaining content, DMOs can capture the attention of their target audience and showcase their destination in a unique and memorable way.

This branded entertainment can also help destinations reach a new audience that may not be reached through traditional marketing methods. For example, a podcast series or YouTube channel can attract a younger demographic that is more likely to consume content online than through traditional media channels.

For example, take Visit Myrtle Beach, which has recently expanded its owned media strategy to include the parenting podcast Myrtle Moms With Margaritas and the cooking show Chef Swap at the Beach. These offerings are entertainment first and marketing second, making them a great way to expand brand awareness to new niches. 

Increase Your Audience Experience and Engagement

As Butler quoted in this episode, “If ‘content is king’, then customer experience is queen and data are the crown jewels.” When DMOs create content that resonates with their audience, they are more likely to engage with and share that content with their network. Creating tailored content that fits one or more of your target niches is a great way to build a positive image and relationship with your audience.

Targeted owned media can lead to a big increase in brand exposure and organic growth. According to, the average engagement rate for an entertainment account is almost 50% higher than the average engagement rate for a tourism brand.

Adapt to Changing Consumer Behaviors

Consumer behaviors are constantly evolving, and DMOs must adapt to stay relevant. As the digital age continues to expand, consumers are increasingly consuming content online. 

According to the Digital vs Traditional Media Trend Report, digital consumers are now spending an average of six hours a day online, with two of those hours on social media and one hour devoted to YouTube. Instead of merely sticking to what’s worked in the past, DMOs should shift their focus to those channels and create content that will reach their audience most effectively.

DMOs face a challenge to attract travelers and stand out from the crowd. By creating high-quality and engaging content, DMOs can differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a robust and well-defined brand that resonates with their target audience and drives economic growth in their region.