When the weather outside is frightful, it's a good time to daydream about vacations and warmer travel destinations. No matter the season, our team at Designsensory is creating and developing ways to enhance travel, tourism and destination marketing. While some of you reading this may not be in the tourism industry, we’re sure these trends and our best-in-category solutions are insightful for every marketer.

Designsensory knows tourism. It shows throughout our process. From the first concepts we bring to our experienced, collaborative approach, we know how to create a brand that will entice visitors to destinations, intriguing and delighting them once they connect with our content. We're driven by focusing on results—the results you, as a client, want to see—no matter the size or location of the destination. We've designed productive campaigns at the state and regional level, as well as county, city, neighborhood and district initiatives.

We are more than merely part of a conversation with your team. To help get the destination story started, we’re comfortable guiding digital and integrated problem-solving, asking and answering questions, and engaging in a collaborative approach. Let's look at five trends for destination marketing and what we’re doing to stay ahead of the curve. 

Expand Your Communication Goals
Shift all-important key performance indicators, KPIs, for your digital and integrated efforts from travel guides mailed, heads-in-beds or butts-in-seats to encompass more moments throughout a journey. We’ve helped spur success for destination clients by focusing on measurement categories of demand, engagement and conversion with separate KPIs for each.

Measuring Demand
KPIs: unique visits, inbound links, referrals, social shares, likes

Measuring Engagement
KPIs: time on site, page shares, video views, partner page views (value to partners)

Measuring Conversion
KPIs: vacation requests, itinerary planning, retrospective travel, click-through rates on partners 

Embrace Seamlessly Sharing Your Destination
We know sharing is fundamental to social media. Sharing your story in content and creativity with other Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can also enhance your destination's brand efforts. Rather than a singular focus on what your community has to offer, recognize that your location is one of many stops. Showcasing the destination connections helps visitors piece together their larger journey.

Designsensory partnered with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to create 16 apps for Tennessee’s Trails and Byways program. DMOs and CVBs across the state collaborated to enhance each trail app, bringing together a seamless, shared story. 

Integrate Communication Efforts
Whether your audience is a tour group, a business looking to relocate, weekend road trippers, conventioneers, locals, the travel press or others, developing an integrated campaign focused on each segment will allow your destination to create moments that connect on any device, from desktop to tablet to mobile and in the spaces and places that matter.

Among other initiatives, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development motivates businesses, musicians, entertainers and filmmakers to live, work and perform in Tennessee. Our integrated campaign efforts to help achieve these goals included original photography, video and development of websites and print pieces.

Remember Residents
Destination marketers that stay focused on travelers and tourists may be missing out on one of their most important groups—residents of that community. Even if your website isn’t targeting tourists—rather, focused on the people who live and work in your area—a compelling digital presence can play a key role in community building, promotion and DMO performance.

Designsensory is working with the city of Milton, Georgia, to develop a new website that goes beyond the typical bureaucratic site and promises personalization, highlights the relationship between the city and its residents, and spotlights relevant and timely news.

Create Never-Ending Content Wells
Rarely does anyone want that perfect vacation or destination visit to end. Neither should your content. Social media and content calendars, public relations and other campaign efforts create strong connections. Travel happens in stages: daydreaming, researching, planning, visiting, sharing, decision-making, booking. And, if the experience is wonderful, often we make plans to revisit the destination. When a vacation comes to an end, engagement with that destination and your connection with the experiences can continue.

We’re always proud to celebrate this great state, and its new travel website—as well as producing and developing the state’s most impactful seasonal advertising campaign to date, with original photography and videos spotlighting regions. The experience was an amazing chance to showcase the Volunteer State and welcome everyone to Tennessee. 

Remember, there's more to tourism marketing than just getting the information out there. Our campaigns work to move people from destination awareness to folks sharing stories, then all the way to planning a return trip. We're excited to be your travel partner throughout the journey.