Episode 102

Attribution and DataMatt Clement

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About Our Guest

Matt Clement

In this episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, Matt Clement from Arrivalist joins us to discuss the ever-expanding field of attribution and data in destination marketing. Topics include handling attribution in the tourism industry, balancing brand awareness and last-click attribution, as well as some details about Arrivalist and how it can be useful to destination marketers.

Episode Highlights

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Matt Clement
  • Position: Managing Partner at Madden Media
  • Favorite Destination: New Mexico
  • Dream Destination: British Columbia

“Attribution and Data” – Show Notes and Highlights


Show Highlights:

  • Matt’s dream destination is British Columbia. Favorite place visited is New Mexico. 
  • Matt shares his background from the aviation industry to the gaming industry then to tourism. 
  • Matt defines Arrivalist as a visitation intelligence company, utilizing geolocation data from mobile devices to provide both intelligence on the visitor and to a destination. Visitation intelligence is utilized for destination development and supporting an expansion. 
  • In 2012, Arrivalist was launched to provide metrics in media measurements such as destination ads in Expedia, TripAdvisor, Sojourn and ADARA. 
  • Visitation intelligence powered by geolocation data has really changed the game.
  • Visitation intelligence can be transformative for destinations with even more limited budget situations.
  • Arrivalist and other research companies are providing these sources of truth that really empower destinations to learn things that provide them new direction and provide really powerful insights.
  • Arrivalist enabled smart marketers to do the things that they wanted to always do and needed to and have a way of showing the board or local stakeholders.
  • Matt points out that destinations should spend 10% and 20% of their marketing budget on research. 
  • Arrivalist offers an always-on dashboard that can be accessed 24/7.
  • Three important things to consider in getting data services:
  1. Privacy compliance.
  2. Data accuracy. 
  3. Quality of data.


Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:

Episode Transcript

Matt Clement: [00:00:00] I think that I’ve mentioned this is the golden age of having data available. That is true. We have never had so much available to us as destination marketers. We also have to be careful. You have to be prudent.


Adam Stoker: [00:00:20] You guys, I have been working on something for the last six months that has been such a giant project. I’m so proud of it. I’m excited to announce that I’ve just released my book. It’s called Touchpoints. It’s the destination marketer’s guide to brand evaluation and enhancement. It is a comprehensive guide for destinations to look at their brand, evaluate what you’ve done, and make a very clear and detailed plan of action of how to fix it. Look, I’m biased because I wrote it, but I think it’s so good. I think it’s a great guide and I’m really, really happy with how it turned out. I wanted to tell you guys about it. It’s available on Amazon. Search “Touchpoints by Adam Stoker,” and you’ll be able to get that book for your destination. Especially for anyone that is trying to look at their brand holistically, this is the book for you. Check it out.


Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Adam Stoker, I’m excited to be with you today. For those of you that have not yet left us a rating or a review, and you’ve listened to several of our shows, guys, it’s time to click the button. We got to leave the rating or review. We’re excited about the continued increase in listener numbers. We want to keep that snowball rolling. If you’re enjoying the content, enjoying the show, please make sure that you leave us a rating or a review.


The other thing that I want to remind everybody about is we have a LinkedIn group, called Destination Marketers. We have posted some really fun content from the show. Whenever we have something tangible that you can’t really access audibly, we’ll go post the link to that in the Destination Marketers LinkedIn group, so that you can find that information, go back and look at it, and follow up on what you learned on the show.


Those are just a couple of reminders I wanted to give everybody. We’ve got a great show planned for you today. It’s actually a company that I have been wanting to get on the podcast now for a long time. We were able to make a connection and we’ve got a great guest. His name is Matt Clement. He is from Arrivalist, one of the premier organizations in the industry. Matt, welcome to the show.


Matt Clement: [00:03:06] Thanks so much. It’s great to be here.


Adam Stoker: [00:03:10] We’re excited to have you. We got a lot of questions today. I think a lot of our listeners are going to be really interested in what you have to say because there’s so much value in the technology that you, guys, provide for the industry. I’m excited to dive in; but before we get ahead of ourselves, we got a little icebreaker question we’d like to ask everybody when we start on the show. What is your dream destination, Matt? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?


Matt Clement: [00:3:18] I love that question. Well, my primary hobby when I’m not working is something called overlanding. I don’t know how many of your listeners-


Adam Stoker: [00:03:21] Overlanding.


Matt Clement: [00:03:22] Yeah. It’s kind of a niche thing. Essentially, it’s a kind of independent backcountry travel using your vehicle where you spend as much time as you can get, in terms of time off, exploring the wilderness and spending time out there.


Adam Stoker: [00:03:43] Do you have one of those big Mercedes Benz with the bed in the back? Is that you, Matt?


Matt Clement: [00:03:49] I am definitely not Posty. Definitely, I’m not the REI version of Post Malone. No. A lot of folks in tourism probably know I have, probably, an unhealthy love affair with my Toyota 4Runner that I’ve affectionately named Betty White.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:10] Nice.


Matt Clement: [00:04:11] Betty White, the white four runner. My dream destination would be taking a summer to just travel through the backcountry of British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska. I’ve got friends who have had that opportunity. My sisters had that opportunity to go and really just see those natural wonders that are just everywhere up there. That would be my dream. If I had the time to go do it, I would love to just get lost for about three months up there.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:48] Have you ever driven on the Alaskan highway?


Matt Clement: [00:04:51] I have not. The Dalton Highway is something, again, I would love to do. Someday, I will. Someday, I will. That’s my dream, for sure.


Adam Stoker: [00:05:01] I’ve got a unique perspective on what you’re trying to do because in 2005 I was in the middle of going to school, and I was walking down the hall, and a guy was standing there handing out brochures. He said, “You can drive tour buses in Alaska this summer.” I grabbed a brochure and walked into my next class and there was a guy that I had just barely met. I’d known him for a couple of days. It was the beginning of the semester. I said, “Hey, you want to go to Alaska this summer with me?” He said, “I’m in.”


We went to Alaska and drove tour buses that summer and had the time of our lives. We drove on the Alaska Highway, on the route between Fairbanks and Skagway. It was amazing. We got to see so much of Alaska. We leveraged our position as tour bus drivers, and said, “Hey, if you guys will let us go on your tour, we’ll talk about your tour when we’re driving our buses.” We did that and we got to go on small planes flying through the canyons of Denali National Park. We got to go on this Jeep Safari tour. It was so fun. If it’s your dream destination, you’ve got to make it happen. It is such an incredible place to visit.


Matt Clement: [00:06:17] Well, I think what’s so important these days, my wife and I have a daughter who’s 11 years old in sixth grade, about to finish up sixth grade, and we got into this three, four years ago because this particular generation, more than any other I think before it, is so inundated with everything electronic. We really wanted to give her, or provide her, experiences that disconnect from that and really reconnect with nature.


I think the other part of it is, honestly, raising a little girl to be a woman one day, my thing is that if I can teach her not to be afraid of bears-


Adam Stoker: [00:06:58] You’ve been in a job.


Matt Clement: [00:07:00] …then, I’ll have a lot less to worry as the dad of a woman in this world. That’s kind of what got us into it. It’s a real passion of ours, for sure.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:12] Really cool, really cool. As a girl dad, I actually just ordered my shirt. There was an Instagram ad for these shirts that had “Kobe’s” outlined on them. It said “Girl Dad.” I just couldn’t help but buy a shirt.


Matt Clement: [00:07:25] That’s awesome.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:26] I just got mine. I’ve got three girls and we just had our first boy. I can relate to some of the emotions you’re going through there.


Matt Clement: [00:07:33] Absolutely.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:34] Tell me, Matt, your favorite place you’ve ever been. We talked about Alaska as your dream destination. What about a place you’ve been?


Matt Clement: [00:07:42] Oh, man. I have to go ahead and say New Mexico. All of it.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:48] Really?


Matt Clement: [00:07:52] Look, there are so many beautiful places around our country to go visit; but, New Mexico, for me, as someone who’s very specifically interested in backcountry travel and the freedom that it provides, there’s just very few places that are accessible to me as someone who lives here in Texas.


I love Albuquerque, Santa Fe, but we do spend a lot of time in the area around Cloudcroft, Ruidoso, New Mexico, Carlsbad. That whole region is relatively undiscovered. You can go and you can just camp anywhere. You can see all sorts of beauty, biodiversity. You can start in someplace like Cloudcroft at 10,000 feet. In the space of 30 minutes, you’re on the desert floor and white sands, and a completely different environment.


There’s wonderful food, the culture, the people, the biodiversity, the open spaces. There’s just so much about it. Now, I’m also a huge fan of Colorado. Everybody is. Arizona, the American West in general. But New Mexico really does hold a special spot in my heart, for just the experiences, I think, we’ve had there as a family are things that I really treasure.


Adam Stoker: [00:09:21] Well, you’re not going to believe this, Matt. I have actually spent a lot of time in Ruidoso, New Mexico and Alamogordo, and the White Sands area, because we had a client based in Alamogordo, New Mexico years ago. We drove up there with the cable provider. We drove up to see Ruidoso.


On the way up there, I saw the biggest elk I’ve ever seen in my life, on the way up to Ruidoso. Anyway, what a cool place. Pretty undiscovered. I’m surprised that you and I have both been there.


Matt Clement: [00:09:56] Absolutely. Well, it’s a neat place. I recommend it highly to anyone that’s not been before.


Adam Stoker: [00:10:02] Awesome, awesome. Well, let’s get into a little bit more about you and your background, and why you got into tourism. Let’s just start with who you are, Matt, and how you ended up in your role today.


Matt Clement: [00:10:15] Sure. Well, the thing that a lot of people might not know about me is that my degree is actually in aviation.


Adam Stoker: [00:10:25] Wow.


Matt Clement: [00:10:26] I always joke when I tell people that I guess I’m in tourism because I wasn’t a very good pilot. The truth of the matter is I was in college, getting an aviation degree, and was actually headed to the airport on the morning of 9/11 to go fly. In an instant, everything changed.


Adam Stoker: [00:10:49] Wow.


Matt Clement: [00:10:50] I got out of school. A couple of years later, I spent an extra year or two getting some education in business. I went to work for American Eagle Airlines. I really couldn’t find a job. It was such a tough time that my first job out of college was putting gas in airplanes at a local airport. I went to American Eagle, thought I’d hit the jackpot working for $9.25 an hour, working at a gate at DFW Airport, getting called all sorts of names.


Adam Stoker: [00:11:28] I [00:crosstalk 00:11:29] that.


Matt Clement: [00:11:31] I left the airline pretty quickly. I did about a year at American Eagle. I have a lot of respect for the people that work there. It’s a very, very tough business. Then, I kind of went on walkabout professionally for a long time. I did a stint as a commercial loan officer for a bank. I worked in newspaper advertising. Around 2008, I was working at a hotel, in sales. Of course, in 2018, we know how that went. I was laid off.


For about 24 hours, I was unemployed. I was fortunate enough to get picked up by a local racetrack and casino called Oaklawn back home in Arkansas. That was my break. That was my lucky break. I went to work for Oaklawn right around the time that the gaming laws in Arkansas were changing to allow casino-style gaming at racetracks in the state.


We built a casino operation really kind of from the ground up. I was fortunate enough to work for some really brilliant people, really brilliant business people, and really super brilliant database marketers. That’s where everything started for me. Really, why I’m at Arrivalist today is it all comes back to that because what I learned in the gaming environment was that knowledge is king. If you can understand what makes your customers stick, do they prefer Camaros or Corvettes or Camaros or Fords, or John Deeres, or Husqvarna, how can you tweak your marketing specific to the knowledge that you’re taking in?


I saw firsthand what that can do, and the power of that. I worked in the gaming industry for about four years. I did decide after about four years, close to four years, that I really wanted to do something more positive. In my opinion, personal opinion, I just wanted to do something where it felt like I could give back to a community more. If I’m just being honest, I wanted to work somewhere where my daughter could come visit me in the office before she was 21.


Adam Stoker: [00:13:51] Totally, totally.


Matt Clement: [00:13:52] The gaming industry is very, very tough. It’s a very tough life. Your hours are weird and long. You come home smelling like smoke. Again, just like the airline industry, I have a lot of respect for the people who’ve made a career in gaming, because it’s a very tough business, it’s a very smart business, it’s a very demanding business.


Adam Stoker: [00:14:14] Not for everyone, right? It’s not a career for everybody.


Matt Clement: [00:14:19] It’s not for everybody. In that capacity of working for the casino, I had become friends with the local Convention and Visitor Bureau folks. I just became really interested in their line of work and what they were doing and what it meant to the community. I became really good friends. To this day, I still am. It’s a terrific gentleman named Steve Arrison who’s the CEO of Visit Hot Springs.


I just felt like, “Man, this is a really cool business and I want to do it.” I was fortunate to get a job at Experience Fayetteville, which is the DMO for Fayetteville, Arkansas in the northwest part of the state. Really beautiful. That’s where I cut my teeth from the DMO side. I spent about a year and a half there.


One of the first things I realized is that coming from a gaming environment, casino environment, to a CVB was, wow, we don’t know near as much in this business. We don’t have nearly as much information at our fingertips as I did in the casino environment. I transitioned. I was fortunate, again, to meet a man named Bob Jameson who’s the CEO of Visit Fort Worth. We became friends at Destination International, DMI’s annual conference back in 2012. It was in Orlando.


We became friends. There was an opportunity to go to work for him in Fort Worth. My wife is from Texas, so we thought, “Hey, how cool would it be to move to Texas and be able to work in a larger market?” I was double fortunate to work for a gentleman named Mitch Whitten who’s the CMO. I’m sorry, now he’s Executive Vice President for Marketing and Strategy there at Fort Worth.


When we got to Fort Worth, what I realized is that even though it was a bigger organization, more budget, a bigger market, more product, a lot of the same problems were still there. We still really didn’t know, to the level that I was used to in the gaming industry, who our customers were, how long were they staying, how effective was our marketing truly at getting them to come to Fort Worth.


Not only that, but even though we had a much larger budget than Fayetteville, I was now in Texas, where you’re competing with some very, very established and well-funded players: Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio. We had to be competitive in that environment, but with less budget. I always said we were the Oaklawn Days of Texas tourism.


Adam Stoker: [00:17:01] You’re playing Moneyball. Everybody else is wasting that money.


Matt Clement: [00:17:05] Well, I don’t think they were wasting. I don’t want to say they were wasting.


Adam Stoker: [00:17:08] That’s aggressive. You’re right.


Matt Clement: [00:17:09] Yeah. I would say that they definitely could outspend us. To compete, we had to really make sure that we weren’t wasting a drop. Mitch went to e-tourism that year and came back. He said, “I had this crazy conversation with a guy named Cree Lawson. He’s got this company called Arrivalist. It’s kind of nuts,” he said. “Cree’s telling me that they can tell us if people who have seen our advertising and visit our website actually physically show up in Fort Worth.”


He said, “Would you schedule a call with Cree and just check this out?” He says, “I don’t know if it’s crackpot or if it’s for real. It sounds really interesting.” I scheduled that call and the rest is history.


Adam Stoker: [00:17:57] Got it.


Matt Clement: [00:17:57] Certainly, we went on to become the fourth client of Arrivalist. We were one of the first clients of ADARA’s Impact product as well. I was very fortunate to work for an organization, Visit Fort Worth, that was willing to try new things, to invest in new technologies. We really put it to work.


I feel like at the time that we were doing things that really not many other people were doing. It was super effective. We were able to really understand how our marketing affected visitation to the city. We learned how to optimize our media buys, to be smarter, to be more tactical; but also, strategically more sound. It really changed the game for us. From a background perspective, that’s it.


Adam Stoker: [00:18:54] I’m just going to jump in because you said so many interesting things in your process. It’s always fun for me to hear people go through experiences in their career, that while it may not be something that they want to do for their lives, it sets the table for the job that they eventually end up. I’m just thinking about your experience in gaming and how, while you’ve decided, “Hey, this isn’t the career for me. I’d like my daughter to be able to come visit me,” those four years gave you the knowledge to go to Fort Worth and recognize an opportunity to work with Arrivalist and why you needed it, right?


I just think that’s so fascinating, the steps that go into a career. When you’re in a moment in your career, you don’t exactly see how it’s going to affect the big picture. Now, looking back on your career, you can see how important that four years in the gaming industry was. It’s just so fascinating to me to hear some of those experiences.


Matt Clement: [00:19:53] People ask me about my career. The truth of the matter is, I think I was luckier rather than how good I was or smart I was. It was mostly some lucky breaks, and then, trying to be hungry and take advantage of the opportunities that were given to me. The gentleman that I worked for in Oaklawn, his name was Bobby Geiger. Unfortunately, he passed about a year and a half ago from ALS.


Bobby would sit down with me. I have such good stories. One of the stories I’ll tell you very briefly, one of my jobs at Oaklawn was to, I don’t think I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but was really to spy on rival casinos. One of the things that Bobby sent me to do was, I would go to Tunica, for instance, or Shreveport, and I would take a bankroll and I would play on specific games, very specific. I and Bobby would figure out the math.


I would sit down at a $1 game or a $5 game and I’d play X number of times. Then, I would leave. It didn’t matter if I won or not. Now, one time, I did hit a jackpot, which was very weird, to tell you.


Adam Stoker: [00:21:13] Did you get to keep that or was that —


Matt Clement: [00:21:14] I did not. I did not get to keep that money. I did not get to keep the money.


Adam Stoker: [00:21:14] I just got to ask, how much was it?


Matt Clement: [00:21:16] It was a $10,000 jackpot. I did not get to keep it.


Adam Stoker: [00:21:17] That was wild.


Matt Clement: [00:21:32] Don’t think I didn’t ask. I did.


Adam Stoker: [00:21:35] Oh, man.


Matt Clement: [00:21:36] The reason that we were doing that, because in the gaming industry, when you put a player’s card in a slot machine, everything is being tracked and the value of the offers and the type of profile that is assigned to you as a player is very, very dependent upon the behaviors you exhibit. How often you play, how often you visit. We did this because, then, those casinos would send me marketing offers in the mail. We built our loyalty program based on the feedback that we saw from our competitors sending us offers in the mail.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:12] Wow. Now, that’s some serious competitive research. I like it.


Matt Clement: [00:22:19] I will also tell you I was not allowed to take the offers like free cruises or trips. Yeah, I was strictly forbidden to do any of it.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:28] Matt, you talk so nicely about your boss back then, but I got some real issues with some of his decision-making on what you could do.


Matt Clement: [00:22:37] It was a very regulated experience, believe me when I tell you.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:41] Wow.


Matt Clement: [00:22:41] I was very, very incredibly fortunate to work for a visionary like Bobby, and to learn at his side. I owe everything to him, to be honest.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:56] Even that experience, Matt, of monitoring activity and understanding how important knowledge of the customer is, and the extent that casinos will go to have that knowledge, once again, really set the table for ending up at Arrivalist. I want to have you tell us just the big picture. I’ve got listeners from all over the world, destinations big and small. Some know what Arrivalist is. Most probably know what Arrivalist is, but a lot of them, probably, also have some misconceptions about what Arrivalist is and the different types of products that are available through Arrivalist. Can you give me just kind of a 30,000-foot view, and then options that destinations have of how to utilize Arrivalist?


Matt Clement: [00:23:43] Sure. We are a visitation intelligence company, utilizing geolocation data from mobile devices to provide intelligence on the visitor. I just reworded visitation intelligence. Sorry, everybody. We’re providing intelligence on visitation to a destination. Where do people come from? How long do they spend in the market? Where do they go while they’re here? How do geography and seasonality affect those variables?


We can utilize that to help destinations really get a strong grip on what their market looks like and to be able to utilize that to build their marketing strategies, to adjust their strategies to report that out to stakeholders, to justify the things that they’re doing. More recently, we’ve seen that visitation intelligence is utilized for some very cool things, like destination development, supporting an expansion of a convention center, for instance, or supporting new service at the local airport, to use for advocacy for sustainable tourism initiatives. Really cool things. I think what we’re proudest of is that these are new uses of the data that the clients invented.


Adam Stoker: [00:25:10] You’re not even selling this application of your data. They’re coming up with creative ways to use it. That’s pretty cool.


Matt Clement: [00:25:18] I think that’s something that we’re the proudest of, is it’s the clients that are coming up with these cool things. They’ll send us an email and they’ll say, “Hey, we need to show a local political adversary that it’s not tourists that are contributing to overcrowding in a park. Can you help us?” It’s like, “Hey, we can.” Then, you go from there.


Visitation intelligence has really become, I think, so central to what we do. What we were built on and what we continue to do to this day is media measurement. In 2012, when the company started, the issue that we had in the DMO industry was that we, as DMOs, don’t have a cash register, like our hotel and attractions and museum partners all do. We have to be able to market effectively without a true point of conversion.


In 2012, if you had a marketing campaign, the way that you would decide the success or failure of that campaign came down to things like, maybe, on-site bookings, or click-through rate. Maybe, it was time on site, or how many times people were clicking your ads on Facebook. Those are really the things that we had. The problem with those metrics is that, although they have their place, they’re not useless, but most of the time they don’t translate into the thing that we need to know the most.


Adam Stoker: [00:26:58] Yeah. What matters is visitors, right?


Matt Clement: [00:27:00] Yeah. Did they actually show up in the market? In 2012, Arrivalist was launched to provide that metric. In the media measurement side of things, we provide a conversion metric that is very holistic in nature. We are lodging-agnostic. We are transportation-agnostic. It doesn’t matter if they stay in an Airbnb or a Hilton, or a boutique hotel. It doesn’t matter if they got an airplane to come to the destination or if they drove in their car. Or, in my case a 4Runner.


Adam Stoker: [00:27:40] Betty White.


Matt Clement: [00:27:40] Betty White. We look at folks who are interacting, or not even interacting but just being exposed to your media. If they see your advertisements with your media partners, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Sojourn, ADARA, whomever you’re working with, people who are interacting with those ads or are being exposed to those ads, people who are visiting your website, ultimately, we want to know do they actually show up in the destination?


Adam Stoker: [00:28:15] This works with digital ads, specifically. Am I understanding that correctly?


Matt Clement: [00:28:21] Correct. It works in the digital realm. What’s really exciting is that, in the last year or two, we have started to work successfully, and doing it quite a bit now, with connected devices, smart TVs.


Adam Stoker: [00:28:35] Interesting.


Matt Clement: [00:28:35] We work with the Pandoras of the world. We have actually, now, worked with connected out-of-home, programmatic billboards, which is pretty wild. The way that this has really evolved on the media measurement side is that, early on, what we did is to say, “Okay, someone was exposed to an ad or a series of ads, and then arrived.” Then, we would measure that through a metric called APM, arrivals per thousand impressions.


I always laugh, or used to laugh, and say this was CPM’s smart cousin. It was a very effective metric. It was a much more fair metric. It was fairer to the DMO. It was fairer to the media providers, the good media providers that have quality inventory. It was fairer to the agencies that, maybe, we’re working on behalf of DMOs.


Previous to this, if you were doing a brand awareness level advertisement and you were using click-through rate as a primary metric to say this, it either was a success or failure. Even if you were doing it with someone who utilized, maybe, post-campaign reporting with bookings made at an OCA, if you were doing a brand-level advertisement, there’s a good chance that someone who sees that is not going to interact with it, that first time or first few times that they see your brand, especially, those that don’t have a strong call to action, for instance.


It was very hard to know if those advertisements were successful or not. Oftentimes, they were either labeled failures, or people would say, “Well, we can’t measure this. We just kind of have to accept this as a cost of doing business,” which doesn’t go over that well with boards, in my experience. This provided a way to measure those things, where the consumer might not be taking very direct action right off the bat. We were able to measure that impression over a period of months, even years, to see how it would influence visitation, even if that took three months, six months, nine months, and all the subsequent impressions.


Adam Stoker: [00:31:02] You’re sparking an interesting question for me.


Matt Clement: [00:31:05] Sure.


Adam Stoker: [00:31:05] At least, that I find interesting. Our listeners might not find it interesting, but here we are. What have you learned in that process? You’re monitoring over, you said, months, years from that first impression. What have you learned about the buying cycle for travelers in that process?


Matt Clement: [00:31:25] Well, I think that in travel, the biggest challenge that we have is that if you’re Starbucks and you run an advertising campaign on Facebook or just online, there’s a pretty good chance you can convert that day. I see an ad for $2-latte at Starbucks, I can get up and say, “I’m going to go to Starbucks,” and convert that day.


If I’m in Texas, I’ll just pick a city at random, let’s just say San Francisco, cool town. If San Francisco shoots me an ad on a Thursday afternoon and I’m like, “Wow, I want to go to San Francisco.”


Adam Stoker: [00:32:05] You’re not jumping on a Friday?


Matt Clement: [00:32:08] Not at my salary. Maybe, for some people, they can. I think for the vast majority of us, if I see an ad for Australia, which I know Josh, Josh Collins, who did an interview with you a while back, he said he would love to go to Australia. If Josh sees that ad on Thursday, he can’t get on a plane realistically on Friday and go to Australia. We have these really long conversion periods.


There’s a lot of factors that go into that. If your city like Fort Worth, where I live, or maybe in Oklahoma City, Austin, you have big drive markets. That can be a very different cycle than if you’re Puerto Rico or if you’re Alaska, somewhere that’s more dependent upon airplanes to get people to your destination, where you have people that are going to take a longer time.


Generally, as a best practice at Arrivalist, we really like to look at post-campaign reporting, two months or so. Then, even after that, to continue to report back on how a given campaign is doing for a while. I think the question really becomes kind of, if an ad is kind of that seed, at what point do you kind of say, “Someone saw an ad a year and a half ago, does it really count?” Maybe, not just that ad by itself, but if that ad was the seed that, then, got them to visit a website and then they got retargeted, if that ad becomes that first touchpoint in a chain, a long chain sometimes, of touchpoints, then, it still continues to be valid.


Generally speaking, I think that what is very, very difficult for a lot of digital metrics, the legacy metrics, is that they’re just not very well-suited for the environment that we operate in.


Adam Stoker: [00:34:11] Well, let me ask you a follow-up question, then.


Matt Clement: [00:34:15] Sure.


Adam Stoker: [00:34:15] Attribution, especially in tourism, has become such a hot button, right? You talked about the reason. That’s why Arrivalist started is because vanity metrics just weren’t cutting it. My fear for a lot of destinations that get caught up in attribution, my fear is that there’ll be looking at it from a last-click standpoint. You touched on this a little bit, but to give everybody some frame of reference here, the last-click attribution model is that 100% of the credit for a visitor is given to the last touchpoint that you can track before someone made a buying decision.


If I’m understanding correctly, Matt, Arrivalist gives you the ability to track that. What was your trigger event that led to the purchase? I want to make sure that destinations understand that last click is not a holistic view of the buyer journey. I love some of the things that you’re doing to track the full buyer journey. I might be getting a little deep here, but do you have an attribution model that you’ve developed for destinations to attribute credit across their media plan?


Matt Clement: [00:35:30] Sure. I think the discussion between first touch and last touch is one where if you get a lot of marketers into a room, they’re all going to have their opinions about it for sure. At Arrivalist, we’ve really subscribed most to a multi-touch model, which is probably the Switzerland of the argument. What that means is that we really give equal value to all the touchpoints. From that first touchpoint to the last one, we try to assign equal value to all of them with the belief really being that no one sees one killer ad, typically, and then makes a decision to travel.


I think what’s more likely on the whole, in a typical situation, is that someone might see a really cool ad that sparks the imagination, maybe they decide to visit a website, they get a retargeting ad, they start to search, which then opens up even more opportunities to target them. It’s one very interconnected ecosystem.


Adam Stoker: [00:36:34] I’m really glad you’re looking at it that way because I think so many people get caught up in the last touch that it doesn’t give them a clear picture of what actually led to their success. That’s really good to hear.


Matt Clement: [00:36:47] Look. I’ll put it this way. I live in Fort Worth. If my friends in Denver … We’ll go further afield. Let’s say my friends in Seattle or Vancouver send me an ad that says, “Hey, we’ve got $200 hotel specials in Seattle,” which would be an amazing deal, by the way, but if I had never seen anything else from them and I wasn’t really that familiar with Seattle or Vancouver or Montana, I don’t know that I would be as likely to take action on that ad, even if it’s a great deal. Versus if I live in DFWI, I’m currently seeing these really cool television spots for Montana, and occasionally, I see some digital spots from them as well, and it builds that sense of imagination of how cool a place like Montana is, or Seattle, or any of these destinations, that snowballs. Then, ultimately, I make a decision.


Matt Clement: [00:37:45] For me, I don’t put as much weight on the last touch concept. I respect everyone’s opinion, for sure. For me, I think multi-touch is a much more fair way of doing it.


Adam Stoker: [00:37:59] Makes sense, makes sense. I also know that attribution isn’t the most important thing that you do. Even though it’s a really great feature of what your data provides, there’s a more important use, right?


Matt Clement: [00:38:11] Absolutely. I think that as important as media measurement has been, the access to visitation intelligence powered by geolocation data has really changed the game. I’ll give you an example of that. Whereas, we used to gather intelligence after a campaign to see how it did. Then, we would take those learnings and apply them to the next campaign. What resonated? What didn’t? What markets did we see more visitation from or less visitation from?


With geolocation data and some of the enhancements that we’ve made to the platform in the last couple of years, now we have this always-on source of information, where we take this enormous panel of users, tens of millions of users, and all of their devices. An aggregated, and it’s worth saying in this day and age, completely privacy-compliant way, we’re able to see in a very granular way, in a very accurate way, where they’re traveling, how much time they’re spending in those places, where they’re going while they’re in the destination.


That’s really powering a lot of neat things that I mentioned at the start of the interview, where destinations now can, before a campaign is launched, look at the data. It helps them prioritize what markets they want to be in, where do they want to spend their money. If you’re the state of Illinois, or if you’re Chicago, and you understand that people from Texas don’t come to Chicago to go to Six Flags because they have a Six Flags, but people from Wisconsin do, now you have these sources of information that’s very on time to make those decisions about what that creative looks like, what’s that messaging look like?


If you combine that with other sources of information, too. I think it behooves me as someone who works in primarily quantitative data, numbers-based data, to mention that I think that there’s enormous value in qualitative research as well, the human side of things. When you can combine that, and really, we’re in this golden age of data right now, both from a qualitative perspective as well as is quantitative, man, you can be so effective in ways that even just 5 or 10 years ago would have been hard to have dream what was possible, even if you’re a smaller destination.


I think it’s also worth saying that your listeners who may be working at a smaller destination or working at those Fayette bills of the world that have this amazing product, but maybe not a Dallas-sized budget, look, you can’t have someone who lives in Texas not make biggest Dallas reference. Even for smaller destinations now, things like visitation intelligence can really be transformative for even more limited budget situations.


Adam Stoker: [00:41:30] Almost just as important, or maybe even more important, than having your media attribution, which obviously, it’s important because you’re spending a lot of money, you want to make sure that it’s being spent effectively. Using data to craft your creative, your messaging, and even your geographic locations that you’re planning your media buys is incredibly critical. You, guys, provide the ability to have that visibility.


Matt Clement: [00:41:55] Absolutely. I think that if you’re working at a smaller destination or a larger one, really everything in between, it has never been more important. What we’ve seen in the industry is that our boards and our community stakeholders, our politicians on local and state levels, national levels, really want to know that you know where you’re spending your money. They want you to have that database background.


It’s gone from a buzzword to really something that you have to live by. I think that’s really been a big difference now. With the way that smaller destinations, big destinations, can utilize all of this stuff, it’s so cool. When I went to work in Fayetteville in 2012, the visitor profile was in a binder in a closet. It was five years old.


Adam Stoker: [00:42:56] Wow.


Matt Clement: [00:42:58] At that time, we didn’t know who our visitor was. We didn’t know what experiences they wanted from us. We didn’t have a really strong rudder. I would assume there’s a lot of destinations that were in that same boat. Now, we have these very affordable, relatively affordable, sources of information that can be put together in ways that are so impactful.


If you’re a destination, for instance, has a limited budget. Let’s say, “Hey, we want to crack open a new market,” or, “We want to explain why, maybe, we’re going to invest heavier in our drive market, and we want to go to our board and we want to say, ‘Hey, we want to spend this money to support a drive market.'” Let’s just say, for instance, that board says, “Well, we want people from Chicago to come here in New York and San Francisco all the time.”


Adam Stoker: [00:43:56] Which happens all the time, right? You’ve always got somebody that has this idea of “You know what? There’s this emerging market.” It’s like, “How do you know?” I’m glad you provide that. Sorry, finish your thought.


Matt Clement: [00:44:09] Well, no. Look, it’s that having a source of truth. As DMO marketers, we still answer to these folks. These folks are smart in their own right; but if we can go to them and say, “Here’s why we’re doing the things that we’re doing. Here’s why we’re investing so heavily in the drive market. Here’s why we’re not going to put money in this particular origin market next year because the numbers suggest that it’s not going to provide a stronger return.” We can start to do those things preemptively; instead of just saying, “Well, just listen to us. We know what we’re doing.” That doesn’t always work.


Then, what happens is that those people who say, “Well, we should be putting money in this exploratory market,” and then you do it because they said you have to, because you couldn’t refute it, then it doesn’t work out. Then, they completely, at that point, forget that they told you to do that, to begin with.


Adam Stoker: [00:45:08] Totally.


Matt Clement: [00:45:09] Now, it’s like, “Well, why did we put money there?” “Well, because you told us to.” I think what’s exciting in our industry is that Arrivalist and other research companies are providing these sources of truth that really empower destinations to not just learn things that provide them new direction and provide really powerful insights. We’re pretty good at our jobs as DMO marketers. It’s providing validation of the things that we know.


Adam Stoker: [00:45:50] It’s the ammunition you need in a lot of those meetings to be able to have the positive [00:crosstalk 00:45:54] you’re looking for.


Matt Clement: [00:45:55] Absolutely. I think that something that’s really been fun to watch in my position here at Arrivalist has been to see really smart marketers that had been enabled to do the things that they wanted to always do, and needed to have a way of showing a board or showing local stakeholders, “This is why we’re doing it,” and they get that buy-in. It’s really exciting when that happens.


Adam Stoker: [00:46:22] Good stuff, good stuff. Well, Matt, we could split this into three episodes, I think, and talk for a long time, because this is when I get to nerd out as a marketer here. I do want to make sure before we end our interview today that we talked about just budget level expectations. For the full gamut of your services, what budget ranges are people looking at? Then, if we’re just getting the data side, which I know you guys have a package where you just give access to the data, what does that cost? Then, another important question is, at what point is data and technology too big of a portion of your budget.


Matt Clement: [00:47:09] Sure. I’ll answer those questions kind of in reverse because I think it makes more sense. I subscribe to the theory that if I take my marketing budget and I want to set aside a piece of that pie, I think that it’s appropriate to spend somewhere in the neighborhood between 10% and 20% of that marketing budget on research. I should emphasize here, I’m not saying 10% to 20% of your budget to Arrivalist, as much as I might love that. That wouldn’t be prudent for me to suggest. It’s 10% to 20%, really, I think.


That’s covering any type of qualitative research that you’re doing. Quantitative, whether you’re subscribing to sources of information on booking data, survey data, geolocation data from places like Arrivalist. That’s what I always suggest. I think that’s good practice. I think that you’ll find that most other industries generally subscribe to that as well. For Arrivalist, our product range goes from, as you mentioned, just getting the visitation information, which we offer an always-on dashboard that can be accessed 24/7, that is updated regularly.


If you have a question that someone shoots you, say, a member of your board asks you on Tuesday, “Hey, last month, what percentage of people came to our destination from Dallas?” You can answer that, to much more comprehensive services. I think it scales very nicely. If folks are interested, of course, you can reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.


Adam Stoker: [00:48:50] Well, how does somebody reach you, Matt?


Matt Clement: [00:48:52] Sure. Well, I’m pretty easy to find. You can email me at matt@arrivalist.com, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you’ve got. Generally, what we like to do is to see what does a destination need? What are they trying to accomplish? Then, we try to tailor a package to match that.


Adam Stoker: [00:49:14] It makes sense. It makes perfect sense. Well, this has been a lot of fun, Matt. I feel like we need to do a follow-up episode. For one, talk about your trip to Alaska once it’s done and hear how that went. Then, I bet we could probably dive into multiple levels of this discussion and even maybe even get into a little bit of comparison among other technologies within the industry because I think people would be interested in hearing that.


I really appreciate you taking the time to come share some of your knowledge with our audience today.


Matt Clement: [00:49:43] Absolutely. I would love to come back and talk more. It’s a deep topic. I will say there’s one thing I would love to leave your audience with.


Adam Stoker: [00:49:53] Yes, please.


Matt Clement: [00:49:57] I’ve mentioned this is the golden age of having data available. That is true. We have never had so much available to us as destination marketers, but we also have to be careful. You have to be prudent. Anybody who’s doing digital marketing and the odds or the double O’s, or whatever we call them these days, well, remember when programmatic really boomed and your local newspaper was calling you and saying, “Hey, we got programmatic and everybody was calling you.” What we found over time was that a lot of that was junk.


In the time since, we’ve become very, very savvy about vetting out our media partners. If you look across the destination landscape, the media partners that are available that you’re seeing it shows are generally those that have been vetted and they’ve withstood the test of time. We’re going through that now with data. You have to be careful with anybody.


The thing I would leave with your listeners is there are three questions I would ask anybody who comes to your doorstep, Arrivalist included, offering data services. Those three things, one, I would ask them, how are you ensuring compliance with privacy regulations, like CCPA and GDPR? If they don’t have an answer for you, that’s a major red flag, because this is so important. It’s not going away.


Second is how do you confirm the accuracy of your data, especially geolocation data? How are you balancing the information that you’re giving me? How do you know that the accuracy of the data that when you say someone arrived at my convention center, how are you confirming that accuracy?


Then, finally, how do you source your data and how do you verify its quality? This is important. Really, in all realms of data, especially a geolocation data, where does that geolocation data come from? How do you know its quality data? There’s an awful lot of noise in the marketplace. Those are the three things I would implore anybody listening to ask of all of us in this particular industry. Thank you for letting me mention that.


Adam Stoker: [00:52:16] Great advice.


Matt Clement: [00:52:18] Thank you so much. I’ve enjoyed it. I wish everybody well.


Adam Stoker: [00:52:21] Oh, no. Thank you, Matt. Once again, we really appreciate all that you’ve shared with us today. We’d love to have you back at a later time.


Adam Stoker: [00:52:29] Well, this has been another great episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. Everybody, thanks for listening. We keep trying to bring on the most important people in the industry that have things to share to help you guys grow as destination marketers and improve your marketing efforts. I think we definitely got that today. Thanks, everybody, for listening. We’ll talk to you next week.