2020 was a tough year for destination marketers. We had to pivot from the immediate objective of increasing visits to a mid to long-term objective of raising awareness to be top of mind when people can travel.
As we see the start of vaccine rollouts around the world, we are cautiously optimistic about tourism in 2021. So, what can you do to get your destination top of mind? Check out our list of the top destination marketing resources that will help you boost your visitor numbers.
Destination marketing conferences
Conferences are an excellent way to network with your peers and learn more about trends and innovations in the tourism industry. Here’s our pick of the top events this year:
March 17-19 2021, Online.
This is the inaugural edition of the European Cities Marketing Conference with the theme ‘Exploring your DMO-JO, exploring recovery and the future role of DMOs’. With sessions covering ‘smart tech’, ‘what travelers want’, and ‘unleashing social impact’, and speakers from a number of high-performing convention bureaus, this conference is a must-attend for anyone marketing a European city.
28-30 June 2021, Online.
With a program focusing on innovation in the travel industry and curated round-tables, this popular conference is back with another online edition. The speaker list and finalized agenda are yet to be published but looking at last years’ stellar line-up, you can be sure that you will make some excellent connections and gain valuable insights.
9-11 November 2021, Las Vegas USA.
This well-known MICE tradeshow offers an excellent educational program, running in parallel to the exhibition. With 180 knowledge sessions in a number of different formats, from research pods to seminars, you will be able to deepen your knowledge in business tourism marketing while enjoying the sites of Vegas.
Destination marketing courses
There aren’t that many destination marketing-specific courses out there for marketers to enhance their skills but we have found a couple that you should definitely check out.
Destinations International is an association for destination marketing professionals that is built on community, research, advocacy, and education. They offer a certificate program directed at entry-level professionals, teaching the fundamentals of destination management and sales. For senior executives, the Certified Destination Management Executive Credential focuses on leadership and business strategy.
Run by 3 Australian destination marketing professionals with ample experience in the industry, the Tourism Marketing Academy is a great option if you feel like you are missing the link between strategy, investment, and ROI. The Destination Marketing Bootcamp that starts in August 2021 will tackle the impact of Covid-19 on tourism and looks to be loaded with useful insights.
Destination marketing blogs and publications
If you want to stay informed on industry trends, the best thing to do is read! Bookmark these blogs or sign up for their newsletters to grow your knowledge.
As the largest travel industry intelligence platform, Skift shares many stories and news of innovation from across our industry. Regularly updated and global in scope, this should be top of your list when it comes to industry publications.
Travel Daily News is a long-running travel and tourism news portal and it’s a great place to catch up on all of the latest happenings. We especially love the ‘Columns’ section, which includes trends and thought pieces on the state of the industry.
Tailored specifically to destination marketers, the Tourism e-School blog covers a range of topics that are pertinent to the industry today. Divided into 6 categories, you can read articles on SEO and story-telling that will give you practical tips that you can use in your daily work.
We might be a little biased but we think you’re going to love our blog. With articles like how to improve your destination branding, increase website conversions, and TikTok for tourism, you will learn new tips and tricks to enhance your destination marketing efforts.
Weekly stories curated for digital tourism marketers, The Travel Vertical is owned and published by Connect Travel. This unpretentious blog offers fantastic insights for digital marketing specialists.
Destination marketing services
Do you need a little extra marketing support? We got you covered. Check out our list of destination marketing agencies and consultancies that can help your destination to reach its full potential!
Aviareps is a marketing and PR agency that specializes in the tourism industry. With over 25 years of experience and 67 offices around the world, they work with destinations such as VisitBrussels and Lower Saxony. If you are looking for market research and strategy, PR support, or tradeshow management, they should be on your shortlist.
Connect Worldwide offers integrated marketing and sales solutions to destinations across the globe. With clients such as the Arizona Office of Tourism, Wonderful Malaysia, and Jamaica Tourist Board, they offer a variety of services from projects to ongoing representation. Specializing in partnerships, events, travel trade, and social media, Connect Worldwide is a great option to enhance your marketing presence.
The Tourism Marketing Agency (TMA) is a self-explanatory name – they focus on digital marketing for tour operators, activities, destination, and travel companies.
Based in Glasgow, this agency has a great reputation and also produces regular resources about the industry. For example, you can check out their book, blog, and podcast to learn more about their services and tourism marketing in general.
Hills Balfour is a UK-based travel company that works with a number of international destinations to create brave, insightful, and data-driven creative marketing. With an impressive client roster including Visit USA, Vienna Convention Bureau, and Yas Island, Hills Balfour can help you to redefine your brand strategy, create your communications plan and represent your destination around the world.
Well done for making it this far! After the last 12 months, our industry needs innovation and creativity. We hope that our list of top destination marketing resources will help you to take the initiative and create great campaigns to add your destination to the top of the list for 2021 tourism.
You might also like:
- The Most Useful Destination Marketing Tools for Any Budget
- How to Use Social Media for Destination Marketing
- 10 Destination Marketing Strategies to Help You Grow Quickly