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As we approach a new decade, we reflect on another year gone by, and start to think about what the next year has in store. We know the world of travel and digital is constantly changing so who knows what the new year may bring. One thing we do know for sure, the visitor economy will continue to thrive, but there are means and solutions to ensure a positive impact. We believe existing trends over the last year and looking towards 2020 will only continue to develop and strengthen as more DMOs adopt a similar approach.

During #DTTTGlobal 2019 and with the knowledge and insights of DMOs, leading social platforms and tech companies, the conversation mainly centred around sustainability, smart destinations and innovation. There has never been a better opportunity for destinations’ to do what’s right for the planet and local communities than today. 

Here is what we predict 2020 will be all about...

Sustainability will continue to sit front and centre of destinations' manifestos.

Booking.com’s sustainable travel report revealed that “72% of travelers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations”. For those who have implemented new initiatives, it will be about rolling these out, monitoring, optimising and measuring to ensure longevity. For those who may not have the means or resources to start yet, they will be inspired to start small, and small changes can make a huge difference.

“It has to be understood that change has to happen now - there is no chance of doing it tomorrow" - MyHelsinki

This year has been full of bold DMO strategies and initiatives in terms of sustainable destination management, but will 2020 be the year of action and measuring the true impact of these new strategies? As sustainability continues to dominate everything from shopping to travel, it is important for brands and companies within the industry to show they are making visible and active changes - for example, hotels opting for non-plastic / biodegradable toiletries. A small change like this may be the difference between a visitor booking one hotel over another. Travellers' motivations for how and why they travel continue to evolve and as such, transparency is key. Your sustainability initiatives could be a reason why people visit your destination and not your competitor's.

More destinations will start using big data to shape content creation and create even more personalised messaging.

Storytelling will still be one of the most effective means of content as travellers are more conscious and responsive to an emotional narrative. Big data can also enable DMOs to disperse tourists around the destination to not only reduce overcrowding, but to also show tourists the many other amazing places to visit outside of the well known hotspots.

“Using data in day to day marketing activities is soon going to be the new normal. The sooner marketers adapt and integrate this process, the better” - Blanca Perez - Turespaña

“Sustainable growth requires more than marketing, it requires stewardship” - Visit California”

Throughout 2019, we saw many destinations' shift from the traditional role of DMO, to Destination Stewardship or DMMO (Destination Marketing & Management). This ethos runs parallel with sustainable destination management as now more than ever, you as a DMO have the power to make a difference for your destination’s future. We predict this will position itself at the forefront of 2020 strategies.

“Collaboration is the most important cornerstone to achieve sustainable growth” - Espoo Marketing 

There is one common theme running through many destinations' strategies with regards to sustainable development and that is collaboration. For some, it is the foundation of their future strategy. It has been widely recognised that collaboration is the key to innovation and managing a destination sustainably. All stakeholders need to be involved in order to achieve the goal of a sustainable future, and this will be key in 2020 onwards.

Values should underpin every decision

Marketing is all about values, especially today more than ever where travellers are engaging more with brands they really connect with. With this in mind, it is really important for your brand values to be clear and communicated in the right way. Core values should never change regardless of how much noise there is and how quickly the market changes and evolves.

Every destination marketing campaign in 2020 should include a purpose driven narrative

We live in an era of purposeful marketing where genuinely standing up for something also makes for a really effective marketing strategy. Audiences continue to seek a greater purpose in everything they do from how they travel to the content they consume. Every destination marketing campaign in 2020 should include a purpose driven narrative, putting your core message at the centre. Posting with purpose is key but always be sure to understand your visitors’ interests and passions and how your brand supports these, then create content accordingly.

What do you think 2020’s biggest trends in destination marketing and management will be? To see which destinations are already embracing these trends, check out our Insights and key takeaways from #DTTTGlobal 2019.

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