Politics aside, the sheer complexity and uncertainty of Brexit is beginning to bite. For UK travellers and holidaymakers planning next year’s trips, there’s a worry that a weaker pound and fewer travel freedoms could make things pricier and more complicated. So what can international DMOs do to attract this audience in these uncertain times?
No one really knows what’s going to happen at 11:01pm GMT on Friday 29 March, 2019, but European and international DMOs looking to attract UK audiences to their destinations need tactics that target the right audience at the right time. And we certainly don’t advocate relying on the old-school ‘spray and pray’ approach. For us, this is where data capture can really earn its worth.
Go for broke(r)…
In the past, you may have been tempted to buy a list of names and email addresses from a list broker, based on what you know (or think you know) about your target audience. While GDPR has now put an end to this practice, we don’t think it was ever a worthwhile tactic in the first place. Why? Because that list data wasn’t captured with your specific goals in mind, so you’re paying through the nose for a lot of waste. And as Mark Twain said, “Data is like garbage. You’d better know what you’re going to do with it, before you collect it.”
…or go for the long-game (but quickly)
The better option is to build lists with high-quality, GDPR-compliant data, geared around your needs. Lists you know contain only highly qualified targets. Targets you know will be receptive to your campaigns (and your destination’s charms). And the better this data is, the better you can serve your audience with campaign content, ads and emails they’ll really respond to.
In turn, this should give you even richer data about audiences’ needs and interests. You can then segment these lists based on people with different or similar profiles and interests to those you’re already working with. Then you can further segment your future campaign messaging for even more impact.
It’s all in the… timing
Just like comedy, timing is everything in destination marketing. Hit the right person at the right time with the right message and you’ll be laughing. Research shows most people book their summer holidays between January and March. So to be ready to target them during those months, you need to be building your database during October, November and December, while your potential prospects are researching next year’s holiday plans.
A case in point
You can build a database in different ways. One way we did this was to create an incentive to drive traffic to a campaign landing page, where we captured high-quality data (all double opt-ins, of course). We also used relevant bloggers and influencers to extend the reach and coverage of the campaign. The result? Nearly 10,000 highly qualified and GDPR-compliant email addresses that our client can use for future campaigns.
It’s this kind of creative approach to data capture that we use to help clients such as Aruba Tourist Authority, Catalunya, Visit Japan, and Mauritius create high-quality databases they can use in different ways at different times of year. Yes, Brexit is bringing with it some major headaches and challenges, but it’s also creating new opportunities for forward-thinking DMOs, with limited budgets, to re-evaluate and rebuild their databases.
Simon is one of the founders of Digital Visitor and has over 20 years of marketing experience in the tourism sector, particularly with destinations and visitor attractions.