Helping destinations drive recovery

Tuesday July 19, 2022

By becoming bookable online with TXGB, DMOs can become go-to resources for consumers researching their destinations.

The role of destinations in driving discovery and capitalising on pent up demand is being downplayed.

According to VisitBritain’s sentiment tracker research, a third of overseas travellers are turning to official destination websites as a trusted booking source (rising to 40 percent for long haul trips).

This research also shows that, throughout the booking process, the same number of people would be as inclined to go directly to the accommodation provider as they would to the destination site.

And DMOs proved the second most popular route after travel agents or tour operators.

This strongly suggests that consumers researching places to stay and things to do are looking to destination websites to deliver much more than inspiration.

Seizing the opportunity for destinations

While historically DMOs have not driven online bookability, those that have now stand to benefit from an exciting raft of commercial opportunities that will ultimately make them less reliant on membership fees.

By leveraging the shift in consumer behaviour and becoming a distributor of a richer mix of tourism products on their doorsteps, destinations can not only generate more sales but also upsell the wider region.

Having bookability across all tourism sector businesses will have the halo effect of making the region a more attractive choice, as well as encouraging extended stays and wider exploration of perhaps lesser known tourist spots.

Ultimately, this means more visitor spend, less seasonal impact and greater destination equality.

Seeing the bigger picture

Certainly, how people plan, book and experience travel is changing. The big industry brands are leveraging this shift in consumer mindsets to make up for lost time and revenue and also to drive recovery to ensure they remain relevant. By taking the VisitBritain research on board, being more consumer focused and thinking more commercially, DMOs could do the same.

The recent De Bois review put great emphasis on the benefits awaiting destinations that can think bigger, bolder and more expansive by entering the e-commerce space.

With a digital offer that puts customer needs first and leverages the technologies available, DMOs can take the lead on driving the sector’s recovery and show a more progressive way forward for our needlessly fragmented industry in this age of hyper-connectivity.

The transformative power of technology

By giving consumers what they want while in discovery mode, then delivering a streamlined booking experience that serves visitor needs throughout the many micro moments that make up the customer travel journey, destinations can further increase revenue for marketing everything their region has to offer.

As referenced earlier, this could help turn the whole membership model on its head and give all types of tourism suppliers a huge incentive to invest in additional DMO support.

With TXGB technology used to make a richer, more diverse mix of tourism products more visible and bookable online it keeps customer attention on the destination site.

This helps drive more direct sales for attractions, activities and events.

Promoting a broader mix of products has become especially important with advance bookings now the norm.

People want to plan beyond where they stay and being seen and bookable in those ‘can’t wait to explore’ moments is a huge plus for tourism businesses and destinations alike.

TXGB’s extended reach proves mutually beneficial because it enables a wider choice of tourism suppliers to become bookable.

This provides even more chances to attract new customers and secure additional spend – before, during and even after their visitor experience.

Thoroughly modern destination management

There is no doubt that the tourism landscape has changed, but the desire to experience more of what our industry has to offer has only grown stronger.

Tourists crave memorable moments over material things and seek a more streamlined, personalised booking process that gives them what they want.

As the VisitBritain research referenced earlier reaffirms, there is a diverse range of booking options being used.

And with only marginal differences between respondents’ preferred channels, it points to the fact that consumers are likely to refer to several sources at the same time.

That said, it’s clear official destination sites are one such preferred booking channel.

Shying away from adopting a more commercial approach could be costing DMOs time and money.

This means teams may not have the headspace or resource to focus on the more exciting opportunities that being digitally equipped brings.

With TXGB, DMOs can find new ways to better serve an already captive audience.

This includes building on trust and existing technology to become an inspirational, bookable and revenue generating, go-to resource for every stage of the consumer travel journey.