Connecting Your Visitor Experience to the Travel Funnel, Loop, Hexagon…

It should surprise no one to hear that the customer journey is not linear, we’ve known for some time that digital consumers jump from devices and platforms several times in their decision-making process. That’s just the start. In the traditional marketing funnel, something happens between awareness and action that can be difficult to define, and many DMOs are unclear in their own stance in what their role is to drive conversions.

For many DMOs, this conversation can feel like a trap – and rightfully so. For a high-value high-emotion decision like travel:

“The language of ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ funnel can also reinforce the value-destroying division between ‘brand’ and ‘performance’.” (Tom Roach, Dec 2021)

So, we also have some destinations in transition that realize that data is critically important to showing impact and value to their community – and a key step to acquiring more data is acquiring more customers.

“The standard funnel almost never encompasses a concept that’s arguably more important: mental availability, or the chance of your brand coming to a buyer’s mind at key decision-making or buying moments.” (Tom Roach, Dec 2021)

The big opportunity for DMOs to meet this moment is to connect on-demand services and content relevant to a constantly evolving tourism experience for their destination, in their destination. Visitors are planning less in advance, they are making the decision to visit new destinations within driving distance, this is the time to build loyalty (Longwoods- Silver Linings 2020). Now the marketing hexagon and McKinsey “Loyalty Loop” become relevant – to name a few examples. (Tom Roach, Dec 2021)

Ok then, this makes sense now more than ever – literally the pandemic forces us all to be thoughtful in communicating trustworthy and credible information on availability. Social proof, including video, comes to the fore as being critically important to drive this forward. Seeing is believing. DMOs must embrace the post-pandemic realities of needing to influence every step of the customer journey.

Here is your to-do list to connect the promises made in the customer journey to the in-destination experience:

  • Availability – If you’ve done your work to build the traveler’s understanding of your brand availability to get them in-destination – great job! Now, is your featured social proof and real-time information on availability lived out in the destination? Show them again the experiences you’ve verified, and help them understand the experiences to be had right now. This also creates an invitation for the visitor to contribute to your #hashtag as they make their memories.
  • Expectations – are you exceeding expectations by seamlessly connecting your inspirational content with their actual lived experience? 
    • Prebuilt and customizable itineraries – show them how, connect to geofencing and beacons to easily explore and discover.
    • On-Demand Expertise & Local Advice – let them ask! Connect to chat through your app, digital touchpoints like kiosks, digital signage, and social media. If your visitor center is unavailable, this is doubly important. If you are open, give visitors options to continue the conversation. 
    • Cultural highlights – Tap into your community’s DNA and showcase it to your visitors. Increasingly resident sentiment and the idea of the travel industry spurring a cohesive sense of place is a must for any destination strategy. Get locals involved to create memorable experiences for visitors. 
  • Loyalty – invite them to return. We all should know that customers like to be greeted and thanked. They also like to be directly encouraged to return! By giving your visitor valuable and fun interactive digital services to enjoy their visit, you create an opportunity to gain valuable marketing data to continue the conversation. Rewards for completing activities and extras tied to e-mail collection is a great start.

At True Omni we build solutions to extend the brand, continue the conversation and provide a connecting omnichannel experience providing tools for visitors and providing your organization with more 1st Party data.   Call us at 833-300-6664 or email us at info@trueomni if you would like a demo and discuss how you can leverage our platform within your existing technology solution.

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