Last month, ITI Digital asked our DMOs questions related to their website content. These questions, which will be distributed bi-monthly, are designed to provide insight on issues that DMOs consider and deal with on a regular basis. The March survey focused primarily on website management – time spent updating content, how often content is updated, and satisfaction with CMS platforms.
We were overwhelmed by the response and willingness of DMOs to share their experiences that will contribute and provide valuable information to all our subscribers who are passionate about destination marketing.
Below are the key takeaways and suggested strategies and best practices.
Keeping your content up-to-date helps build trust between you and your customers. Customers rely on your site for information that impacts their decision-making. 36% of DMOs responding to the survey indicated that they update their website content on a monthly basis or were unsure how often content is updated. Out of date or incorrect information negatively impacts the visitor experience, and customers aren’t shy to express their displeasure in reviews.
Updated web listings also help your SEO. If you don’t update your website, it’s sure to fall in the search engine rankings. Search engines regard websites with the most recent content as the most relevant to web users. If your site has the same content as it had two years ago, then search engine crawlers might not think it is as relevant anymore.
A good rule of thumb here is to make sure that you update your content at least once a week. A significant new content upload of some kind on your website should happen at least once a month. Depending on your social media activity, it wouldn’t hurt to update your website with new content every week if you can stay consistent.
Destination marketing organizations around the world have felt the impacts of COVID-related restrictions and shelter-in-place orders. With major sources of funding eliminated, jobs have been cut…and with the cuts comes less time to provide potential visitors with information and resources they need to be inspired to travel when they are ready to do so. Nonetheless, 27% of DMOs indicated that they spend ten hours per week (or more) updating content.
A Travel Wisconsin study from last April indicated that 60% of responding counties would change, or expected to change, staffing levels. With DMOs facing unprecedented staffing challenges, automated web content is a must.
Visitors get the information they need, and staff can focus on other tasks designed to bring more visitors to the area.
Average Rating: 5.4 out of 10
The final score is not a ringing endorsement of existing systems. Considering the need for fresh content, a key emerging trend is a shift from a Content Management System that delivers and manages static content to a DXP – a Digital Experience Platform.
The DXP is a tool that powers personalized, cross-channel digital experiences. A DXP creates unmatched personalized customer engagement with content – such as events, images, business listings, reviews, and user-generated content.
This dynamically-generated content is automatically delivered via API (an Application Programming Interface; APIs make it possible for programs to interact with each other). ITI Digital’s automated website content widgets use data from Google, Facebook, Instagram, Eventbrite, and other sources to power the ITI Digital Experience Platform.
The optimal website strategy uses a combination of DXP content (to maintain up-to-date place data, event listings, and UGC) and CMS content (like blogs, welcome pages, and contact information).
DMOs around the country are overwhelmingly optimistic about their spring tourism forecast. 82% of DMOs indicated that they expected more visitation than in the January-March time frame.
Nationwide, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is hovering around 50,000 cases per day, down from the January peak of 230,000. Vaccination rates keep climbing, adding more confidence to consumer vacation planning. And, as ITI Digital’s research shows, event calendars are filling up and have surpassed last year’s pre-COVID decline.
Embracing innovative solutions, such as a Virtual Visitor Center, is a must to address the incoming demand in Spring and Summer travel. Visitors get the information they need, and staff can focus on other tasks designed to bring more visitors to the area.
The survey results tell the story of destinations that, facing resource pressures, are struggling to deliver content to potential travelers when traveling itself is on a rebound. In a resource crunch, destinations should look to automated content to deliver information (and inspiration) to travelers.
Schedule a consultation with us to review our suite of automated solutions for DMOs. Our products will enable you to deliver destination content efficiently and affordably.