DMOs, Social Media, Tourism

Top Ten Reasons Destinations shouldn’t increase their Social Media Strategy


In honor of Dave’s departure from Late Night, I offer a handy count-down list to give you the perfect out on this Social Media thing.  True, lots of destinations are crushing it in SM, but continue to consider the impact anecdotal.  Social Media communications will be the make or break moment for DMOs to capture hearts and market share.

10.  You have more followers than XYZ city.

I don’t have to tell you, that the number one brand in the world remains so because of diligent loyalty and attention.  You may have secured that vanity spot, but beware it’s temporary.  With $20 and a clever strategy, your competition can change that scenario overnight.

9.  It’s too difficult to measure results.

Well, yeah – if your only tools are the installed measurements – you don’t know what in the hell that means.  Isolate the value of this owned and earned media exposure with advanced analytics and solid research.  The answer is waiting to be discovered for your destination.

8.  We don’t have time to concentrate on Social Media.

You don’t have time to ignore it.  The game has started, the ball is in play.  Every single visitor has time to search Social Media in destination investigation (Google Travel Study, 2014).  I’ll spare you my “level playing field” lecture and just say from one person DMOs to multi-staffed marketing departments, a solid brand communication plan can save hundreds of hours per year and yield predictable results.

7.  Facebook algorithms have changed and no one sees our posts, anyway.

You have all the bricks in front of you, it’s your choice to build a wall or a bridge.  Shameless plug:  I can spend 15 minutes with your SM team and you’ll never have to pay for promoted posts again.

6.  The young people/agency/freelancer handle our Social Media.

I’m all for outsourcing, otherwise I would have no career.  But, let me lend you this thought:  there’s HOW you do social media and there’s WHY.  Truly building a loyal, shareable community requires mastering the WHY people should care at all.  Social Media is not a “young” persons domain, it’s a communicator’s palace.  If you aren’t absolutely motivated by your SM strategy, why should your visitors?

5.  No one bought the package we promoted via social selling.

What lessons were gleaned from the experiment?  Did you properly lead your group through the entire relationship process before asking them to buy?  Did you retarget to others that were already shopping?  Social selling is a relatively new concept, especially for DMOs.  Consider reserving social sales for major events or dream packages that cannot be found elsewhere.  Sorry, your Girlfriend’s getaway package is just not enough to move the needle.  Step back and realign a better strategy.

4.  We tried Vine, but it didn’t work.

I call this the “try-curious” curse.  It bubbles, you posted a few times, hasn’t been touched since.  Instead of being everywhere, pick unique channels you can own.  Hold on to that goal like a dog with a bone and do not let up until you dominate.  Trust me, perseverance is 75% of social success.

3.  There is too much local chatter on our social channels, not all positive.

Hello, reputation management!  This really points at deeper issues and begs the question if your destination really needs a community brand approach.  If your community is positive, activate those cheerleaders!  Incentivize them.  For those who troll (negative for the sake of negative), consider removing the troublemakers.  Your page, your rules.  Whenever possible, use your charm to sway them.  If you understand what they really are saying, you may win a die-hard fan.

2.  We already see 20% of our web traffic coming from social media.

Ok, great.  Do you know what that means, though?  Were they using the site to plan, look at events or did they bounce?  Loyalty tracking should start from first touch and really never end until the permission does.  Also, DMO site visits are slightly down industry-wide, indicating the Google Travel Study was right when they suggested that some visitors may never visit a traditional website.

And the number one reason you shouldn’t concentrate on social media….

1.  Our demographics are non-tech and older, so they don’t use social media.

Boomer and Gen X parents are the most prolific habitual users of social media, and their kids call the travel shots.  Hit em low, hit em high.

Hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek piece to motivate you to a much stronger focus on social media.  It’s real business and there’s so much more of it out there for you.

Don’t know where to start or how to measure the real impact?  Just give us a call, we are good therapists and can craft an impenetrable strategy just for you.

Jennifer is the SVP, Digital & Planning for North Star Destination Strategies. for inquiries,


JB has a “brand” new bag and Google Travel Study

First thing’s first.  I’ve been away from the blog for a bit.  A reinvention stage.  A next step in my tourism career.  It was time to step my game back up.  In my experience the best way to grow is to find groups doing things in your industry that inspires action.  I have always been a big fan of Don McEachern’s work.  His clients aren’t joking when they say he is the first name in community branding.  Who doesn’t want to work with the best?  After getting to know each other, I was over-the-moon excited to accept the position of Senior Vice President, Digital & Planning for North Star Destination Strategies.  Right in my wheelhouse, I’m taking my lifetime of digital marketing experience direct to North Star’s branding and research clients.  I have a wicked good partner in SVP, Research, Rupa DeLoach, and if you haven’t met an economist that understands destinations from every level – please let me make an introduction.  I’ve long respected community branding and will be excited to share important updates.

Now, the “Google” meat:

Google Travel StudyTons of trend blogs, lists and infographics are all over the web. But, none as important as the Google Travel Study on Traveler Decisions.  North Star Destination Strategies reviewed this report and learned there are Six pivotal instructions that DMOs have to consider rightthisminute.  If you’ve read the 60-page report, you’re ahead of the pack and congrats to you!  If you haven’t, allow us to scoop you with the 6 Trends for DMOs from Google Travel Study white paper.

In this essential white paper for Destination Marketing Organizations, you will learn how travelers are inspired to choose a destination, what digital devices are used at stages of the planning cycle and how much of an influence can be made on traveler decisions.

And guess what?  It hasn’t been released publicly. So, I’m your hook-up, your scoopstress, well you get the point.
Just shoot me an email at and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.  Yep, old fashion email required for insider stuff. (^^,)


Prepare to Drink From a Fire Hose at #eTS14

Originally posted on eTourism Summit:


We’re all very excited about seeing everybody at #eTS14 next week in San Francisco.

Drinking in the knowledge

We’ve designed the program to reflect the fast-paced ways online marketing has evolved.  Prepare to drink from a fire hose as 79 presenters offer a stream of information in 15-minute (or shorter) segments built around your pain points and our commitment to provide attendees with a comprehensive view of what’s available. Of these 79 presenters, 23 are your peers: DMOs and attractions sharing insights from their experiences and initiatives.

In our attempt to show you the breadth of information, our content will not provide great depth, so we’ve added rotating round tables, a networking reception and lunch as well as DigMe media marketplace where 60 of you can follow up one-to-one.

Walking through the meadow

In our 15th year, we’ve identified several overarching trends reflected in the program that’s crafted to help us all…

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Brand Journalism, Business, Media, Niche Travelers, Tech, Tourism, WTG! The *best* lists...

Are you a painkiller or a vitamin? Five ways to find out.

Start-up environments often talk about this theory. It’s a great way to put your destination, business or product to the test. Considering the latest news that over 1/2 of Americans took NO VACATION over the summer (me included, hint-hint Paris;)), it’s more important than ever to stand out as a disruptor of thoughts and plans. As the title suggests, it may come down to how you’re viewed.

Remember your last toothache? I’ve had 4 children and I’d rather have a 5th sideways over a toothache. Ouch! Notice the feeling you have when you’re in pain. You’d do just about anything to relieve it right?!? Whether you prefer homeopathic methods or go straight for the Vicodin cocktail, you NEED a pain killer.

Now, tell me the last time you bought vitamins. Hush up wellness freaks-this part is not for you. :-P. The theory goes, you are less likely to feel pressed to buy vitamins that may avoid problems. But, if in pain, will definitely get that painkiller. Be a painkiller.

1. Painkiller brands promise relief, and deliver in short doses.
2. Painkiller brands are more valuable than the cash spent. You don’t have to be cheap, please don’t be. But, the visitor needs to leave feeling they should have paid twice as much for what they got.
3. Painkiller brands relieve a specific need. Stress relief is the obvious relief spin for travel (if it’s only stress relief, sell that s*** like they’ll never have another problem), try and be more specific if you can. Americans thrive on stress as a badge of honor.
4. Painkiller brands are ON TIME. Stop forcing un-targeted visitors to come Wed night to your limited service property when they have a job. Fish where AND when the fish are.
5. Painkiller brands become staples to their buyers. If you and I were friends and I told you I had a migraine, chances are you would have a brand suggestion. We are loyal to our painkillers. We tell our friends and families when they are in need.

If the dog doesn’t like the dog food, the packaging doesn’t matter. Cultivate your travel business as a true painkiller. This does threaten the “we are for everyone” milk toast brands. But, wouldn’t you rather increase your conversions instead of useless impressions?

When running your next campaign, run an A/B strat with one very specific pain-relieving message and let me know how that performs. Then add me on your speed dial the next time you find yourself in need of a little pain relief.

Tomorrow is Friday! See what I did there, easing that work worry already.
Peace, love and bed tax <3