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Resources for Destination Marketers: A Comprehensive List

The internet has a number of resources for destination marketers, as well as DMOS and attractions. Red Sage has gathered some of them in one place.

In the ever-evolving landscape of destination, attraction, and place marketing, staying ahead requires a wealth of resources.  Whether you’re a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), a city planner, or a municipality representative, having access to valuable data, tools, and expert insights is paramount.  In this comprehensive guide, we explore a plethora of resources tailored to mid-sized communities, offering a mix of publicly available data and renowned agency resources.


Resources for Destination Marketers: Publicly Available Data for Mid-Sized Communities

  1. U.S. Census Bureau:  The U.S. Census Bureau is a goldmine of data for destination marketers.  From population demographics to housing and economic data, it provides a comprehensive snapshot of communities.  The American Community Survey, in particular, offers detailed information on income, education, and commuting patterns.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):  For destinations looking to highlight their economic vibrancy, the BLS provides essential labor market information.  Unemployment rates, industry employment figures, and wage data contribute to a holistic understanding of a community’s economic health.
  3. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES):  Ideal for destinations with educational institutions, the NCES offers insights into student demographics, graduation rates, and academic performance.  This data is invaluable for showcasing the educational strengths of a community.
  4. Local Chambers of Commerce:  Many local chambers of commerce provide specific data tailored to their communities.  From business directories to economic reports, these chambers can be rich sources of information about local businesses and economic trends.  See: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Directory
  5. U.S. Travel Association:  For destinations focused on tourism, the U.S. Travel Association provides a monthly member-exclusive summary of the latest economic, consumer and travel indicators, trends and analysis featuring key highlights from a Recovery and Growth Insights Dashboard.  The Travel Price Index is another valuable resource tracking “travel inflation.”


Expert Resources for Destination Marketers, Attractions and Venues

  1. Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI):  As a global association, DMAI offers a variety of resources for destination marketers.  From industry reports to webinars and toolkits, DMAI is a hub for staying updated on the latest trends and best practices.  The 2024 Marketing & Communications Summit will be held in late February in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  2. Simpleview Insights Blog:  Simpleview, a well-known destination marketing agency, offers a robust blog covering a wide array of topics.  From digital marketing trends to destination management strategies, the Insights Blog is a valuable resource for staying informed.
  3. Skift:  Skift is a powerhouse in the travel and tourism industry, providing in-depth reports and insights.  Destination marketers can benefit from Skift’s research and reporting on travel trends, consumer behavior, and the impact of technology on the industry.
  4. Future Partners:  Future Partners is known for producing The State of the American Traveler survey each year.  The research offers unique findings focused on travel sentiment in relevant audiences.
  5. National Main Street Center:  For communities focusing on downtown revitalization and economic development, the National Main Street Center offers a wealth of resources.  Their publications and toolkits provide guidance on fostering vibrant, economically sustainable downtown areas.


Resources for Destination Marketers: Technology and Tools

  1. Google Trends Google Trends is a powerful tool for understanding search trends over time.  Destination marketers can use it to identify popular search queries related to their areas, helping tailor content and campaigns to match current interests.
  2. Esri ArcGIS Esri ArcGIS provides mapping and spatial analytics for destination planners.  From understanding geographical patterns to creating interactive maps, it’s a valuable tool for visualizing data and conveying compelling stories about a place.
  3. Facebook Insights For destinations with a significant online presence, Facebook Insights offers detailed analytics on user engagement, demographics, and content performance.  It’s an essential tool for optimizing social media strategies.
  4. CrowdRiff CrowdRiff is a visual marketing platform that helps destinations discover, organize, and share user-generated content.  It’s a powerful tool for creating visually appealing and authentic campaigns.


Evaluating ROI in Destination Marketing

Understanding and measuring the return on investment (ROI) is crucial for destination, attraction, and place marketers.  Here’s how to approach ROI measurement effectively:

  1. Define Clear Objectives:  Before implementing any marketing campaign, clearly define your objectives.  Whether it’s increasing tourism, promoting economic development, or enhancing community engagement, having specific goals will guide your ROI evaluation.
  2. Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):  Identify and track KPIs that align with your objectives.  These could include website traffic, social media engagement, conversion rates, or economic indicators such as increased business registrations.
  3. Use Analytics Tools:  Leverage analytics tools to track and analyze data.  Google Analytics, social media analytics platforms, and destination management systems provide valuable insights into user behavior and campaign performance.
  4. Survey and Feedback:  Implement surveys and gather feedback from your target audience.  Big data sets from publicly-available sources can be hugely valuable, but your own existing audiences are irreplaceable when it comes determining what makes you so special in their eyes.  Understanding the impact of your marketing efforts on perception and behavior provides qualitative data essential for ROI evaluation.
  5. Compare Costs and Returns:  Calculate the costs associated with your marketing efforts, including advertising spend, agency fees, and any other related expenses.  Compare these costs against the returns generated, whether in terms of increased visitors, economic growth, or other measurable outcomes.  Yes, it takes time to do this, but it’s the only way to really evaluate forward progress over time.
  6. Adjust Strategies Based on Data:  Continuously analyze your data and be ready to adjust your strategies based on the insights gained.  A dynamic and adaptive approach ensures that your marketing efforts are always aligned with your community’s evolving needs.


Staying Connected in a Destination, Attractions and Place Marketing Ecosystem is Key for Success

In the world of destination, attraction, and place marketing, knowledge is power.  Armed with a mix of publicly available data, expert agency resources, and cutting-edge technology, destination marketers can navigate complexities with confidence!

Whether you’re a DMO, a city planner, or a representative of a mid-sized municipality, these resources provide a foundation for success in promoting your unique corner of the world.

That said, we’ve been doing this long enough to understand the importance of real, actual people too!  Sometimes your BEST resources are contacts and friends who’ve been in this industry for a while and “seen a thing or two.”  Lean on them for guidance!  As a top-ranked agency with extensive experience helping mid-sized communities unlock economic development, travel, and tourism potential, we’ve learned one-size-fits all solutions are rare.

So, embrace the wealth of information at your fingertips.  Harness the expertise of industry leaders in your personal networks and leverage technology to amplify your community’s story.  Staying informed and adaptable will ensure your destination remains a vibrant, sought-after experience for visitors and residents alike.

We’d love this resource guide to grow!  If you’d like to see a go-to resource you love added here, drop us a line at connect@redsageonline.com.

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