Marketing Trends for DMOs at Destinations International 2017

Travel consumers and tourists have a plethora of choices at their digital fingertips when it comes to choosing destinations. As such, many DMOs are creating innovative ways to reach these shoppers. We wanted to keep everyone informed of the latest trends in marketing strategies of tourism boards. So, at this year’s Destinations International conference, Expedia Media Solutions hosted a panel to showcase those trends. Here’s what we discussed!

Emerging Technologies

The digital world is evolving, providing copious opportunities for DMOs to share their destination story through cutting-edge technologies and reaching consumers through dynamic mediums. Virtual reality (VR) is one of those trending technologies. As VR becomes more popular in other industries, DMOs are beginning to use it as a supplement to their traditional marketing strategies.

For example, Arizona’s Office of Tourism launched a VR experience immersing potential travelers into the Sedona desert via stationary bikes with VR helmets/goggles. The virtual experience allowed travelers to go on a bike ride through the captivating Sedona desert. Coupled with a quiz to determine what kinds of experiences tourists desired, this campaign afforded a more personalized feel for the destination and helped set it apart from other locales travelers might be considering. To get more details on this campaign, click here.

Emerging technology for DMOs

Big Data Means Big Returns

Nowadays, it is standard practice to incorporate data insights to make effective marketing decisions. With so much rich data from either your own channels or out in the marketplace, you can glean insights ranging from travel audience trends all the way to click data to optimize engagement with your content Likewise, we believe in the scientific data approach where we provide consultative expertise on industry trends to our marketing partners.

We work with research partners to develop custom studies to help build our industry understanding of the digital influences, resources, and booking platforms travelers use throughout the consumer journey. For example, we launched our “Multi-National Travel Trends in the Tourism Industry” study—research we presented at Destinations International—to reveal the latest travel trends in key global markets. You can download the study here.

Traveler Research DMOs

Along with insights from our custom research, we also tap into our billions of data points gathered from travel intent search and booking behaviors and mine those insights to help partners set up effective campaigns with the right types of targeting and content placement across channels.

You can see other research studies we have produced to help you use data to enhance your marketing strategies: The Path To Purchase, Bleisure Travelers, and Traveler Attribution.  

Increasing Your Return on Ad Spend  

It’s increasingly important for DMOs to discover inventive ways to broadcast their message, slicing through the noise and competition. We highlighted useful techniques for DMOs to increase their return on ad spend, like: display advertising, effective targeting, and sponsored listings.

One compelling example of a DMO developing and launching an efficient and targeted campaign is the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) of Shenandoah, TX. We partnered with the Shenandoah CVB and our hotel supply team to craft a media plan that increased brand exposure and hotel bookings through sponsored listings that are featured in the hotel search results. Specifically, the campaign served over 80,000 impressions and obtained a 14:1 return on ad spend over one month! This example demonstrates that DMOs can realize a great return on ad spend with a targeted and efficient campaign.

  Shenandoah Expedia Group Media Solutions

Navigating the digital landscape of emerging technologies, large data, and varying budgets, creates a myriad of opportunities (and sometimes challenges) for destination marketers. Understanding and using these trends boosts your return within the changing digital landscape. Check out our industry research to help enhance your marketing planning and strategy and take full advantage of your marketing and advertising budget.     

Wendy Olson Killion

Senior Vice President, Expedia Group Media Solutions

Wendy Olson Killion is senior vice president of Expedia Group Media Solutions, the travel advertising platform of Expedia Group, and leads the business including product, engineering, strategy, operations, and partner-facing teams. Prior to this role, she was vice president of business development, where she oversaw the global teams responsible for managing advertising partner relationships and campaigns across the portfolio of Expedia Group travel brands. She previously directed global product development and marketing for the entire suite of advertising products, including display, email, social and mobile solutions. Before joining Expedia Group, Wendy led product management of the emerging channels and brands at, including their mobile offerings. Wendy also previously spent five years at J.D. Power and Associates where she managed a suite of publications aimed at defining automotive marketing online, and co-founded the Automotive Marketing Roundtable conference. Wendy serves on the HSMAI Americas board and on the VisitBritain Tourism Advisory Council board. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and lives in Washington state with her family.

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