Rethinking Outdated Travel Media Strategies

Travel and tourism marketers find it’s no longer practical to give mass media the highest priority in integrated marketing communications programs. It’s time to rethink outdated media strategies and leverage ‘owned’ media first, for more effective communications, greater consumer engagement and a higher return on investment. This Wanderlust Report examines the trends that have reshaped the media environment and the opportunities that new media channels present.

Destination marketers must evolve their communication strategies

Sixty years ago, the travel and tourism advertising model was relatively simple: Come up with a single creative idea and send it to as many people as possible, as efficiently as possible. It was all about broadcasting – spending a lot of money to get a few ideas to a lot of people – and eliciting enough response to justify your investment. The metrics were reach, frequency and gross impressions; a simple numbers game that relied on efficiency to deliver visitors to their destinations, resorts and attractions.

Of course, sixty years ago media selection was simpler. The small number of choices made it simpler. Even speaking to consumers was simpler (compared to the sophisticated, advertising-savvy audience of today). But it’s a different world now, and in the increasingly complex media realm of the 21st century, the old way simply doesn’t work anymore.

Fast forward to the present state of the media

Today, media fragmentation and changing consumer habits are forcing us to rethink how we allocate our marketing dollars. It’s imperative that DMOs, CVBs, resorts and attractions that once relied on paid mass media exposure and the efficiency of their buy figure out the best way of leveraging ‘owned’ media to communicate more effectively. Instead of starting with high-priced, low-return campaigns in paid, interruptive mass media, we’re investing in the destination experience first and exploring lower-cost, higher return engagements with small, segmented audiences that are open to dialog.

Just as the media strategy must change, messaging strategies must also adapt. No longer is it as easy as having one brand position - one message - one audience. Now destinations must have one brand position that can be expressed in many relevant ways that are appropriate to a variety of smaller, diverse audiences.