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Review: #DTTTCampus 2018

The key takeaways we learnt from this year’s content event

We’ve just got back from co-hosting #DTTTCampus with Visit Jersey where we were joined by the leading content experts of DMOs from all over the world. Taking place over two days,  DTTT Campus welcomed a sterling round-up of keynote speakers, industry experts, and content creators, sharing their highly useful expertise, successes and challenges within the digital tourism space.

Hosted by The Lido in Jersey against a backdrop of unforgettable 360-Degree views and fantastic hospitality, we learned 10 key things about improving destination marketing strategies at this year’s #DTTTCampus, which we know will be vital for success in 2019. They are:

1 - Storytelling is the core of great content

Storytelling is integral and an absolute must-have in any DMO’s content strategy, but what exactly is storytelling? Creating compelling reasons to visit through products and experiences, and communicating this through rich storytelling is an invaluable tool when it comes to differentiating your destination brand online. Communicating being the key as without it, how will potential visitors know how amazing your destination is? It allows destinations to build a picture in the visitor’s mind, and as Meryl Le Feuvre from Visit Jersey highlighted, effectively matching the product to the promise, creating experiences visitors will remember and share with their friends over dinner.

2 - Quality content

As we already know “content is King", but quality content is the Emperor!  Consumer behaviour is constantly changing and social platforms are adept at responding to this - for example, Instagram now includes a time management tool in response to users’ concern with how much time they spend on the platform. In the case of content, users’ attention span can be as little as 3 seconds before moving on to something else, so how can you grab their attention? Not only has the way consumers absorb information changed, but the type of information they are seeking has changed, therefore in a highly competitive market, your content needs to be compelling, engaging and eye-catching from the get-go so it doesn’t get lost in the noise. It is also vital to stay on top of the latest trends, for example, more and more users are watching videos without the sound on so video content should now include captions or subtitles. Joel Thorpe noted this in his workshop about shaping brand stories through video storytelling.

3 - The importance of destination websites

Invest in your destination website as much as you do your social channels, keeping it up to date with useful and engaging content. Visit California found that conversion points were all happening on the website, so the team is always working to close any gaps and maintain strong hub content. As such it created a new content series, California 101, in response to what consumers were asking and developed SEO rich content for the website based on search insights and social listening.

4 - Consumer at the fore

Singapore Tourism’s Terrence Voon summed up traveller’s attitudes perfectly by saying that they “want to be transformed by their trip, it’s no longer about what you can do, but what you can be”. Therefore it is essential to always have your consumer at the forefront to develop a strategy that focuses on the consumer experience and what the consumer really wants. The key to a consumer focused strategy is to listen to find out exactly how to engage with your audience.

5 - Geographic spread 

More and more destinations are focusing their strategies on the importance of geographic spread in response to the current overcrowding challenge. This involves telling stories of the lesser known places to visit instead of resting on the more well -known. For example, Paris Tourisme’s ‘Discover Another Paris’ campaign focused on promoting positive geographic spread, highlighting the hidden gems of the city. As a result, you will effectively decongest busy areas, reach new ‘niche’ tourists and create a more authentic, less ‘touristy' experience by discovering new places.

6 - People 

People are so important in any content strategy both internally and externally. Internally, invest in teaching your team new skills or upgrading existing ones. In the case of Cape Town Tourism, it ensures all content production is done in-house and every single person in the team is responsible for their own content, tailored to different audiences but always with one central point for consistency.  The team is also encouraged to go out, explore and fall in love with the city on a daily basis in order to discover new places and create regular, fresh content. The external content strategy focuses on the local communities, your biggest and most loyal brand ambassadors! Cape Town realised how the locals are very much the heart of the city and have a direct influence on the visitor experience. Tourists always remember the people! As such, they effectively translated this to rich video content through the eyes of the locals, communicating authentic stories and creating truly immersive experiences for visitors.

7 - Time is of the essence 

When you are developing your content strategy, be sure to consider your organisational processes at the same time. The key to sharing good content is to ensure it is timely and relevant to your audience. With this in mind, you may need to review your approval structures so as not to delay sharing new content, focusing on an agile content strategy, as well as being prepared to take risks when needed. Singapore Tourism Board demonstrates this perfectly in response to a recent survey stating that Singapore is ‘boring’. STB responded with speed and humour, creating a tongue-in-cheek video challenging this statement, with the opening caption being ‘Yeah, Singapore is boring!’. The video went from brief to live in just 24 hours and due to STB’s agile content strategy, Terrence Voon, Director of Digital & Content, made the call to release the finished video straight away, a stark contrast to the traditional approval structure of before. As a result, with speed of response and humour, the video achieved a fantastic response in both engagement and reach, also starting a conversation with people who lived in or had visited Singapore, jumping to it’s defence! This is a great example of developing a responsive and reactive strategy to maximise content opportunities.

8 - Great content speaks for itself 

Great content that is timely, engaging, relevant, consistent, and most importantly, responds to your audience’s needs will speak for itself. Fabian Reichle from Switzerland Tourism found inspirational content to be the number one driver for their social first content and campaigns. This involved incorporating influencers and user-generated content into their strategy to successfully deliver and distribute inspirational travel content to all their audiences, keeping their destination on top of mind.

9 - One size does not fit all 

In a constantly evolving digital landscape, one thing is clear, there is no recipe or a ‘one size fits all’ manual. The key is trial and error, and a recurring notion mentioned by several DMO speakers, fail! Also known as the ‘spaghetti test’. Try different things to find what ‘sticks’ and most importantly, what fits your destination, brand and values. What works for other destinations may not necessarily fit with yours.

10 - Have patience 

Give your brand, style and campaigns time to grow and don’t necessarily focus on quick wins. Storytelling and rich content has never been more important, so it’s essential to build content over time to create meaning and to build a really strong story to inspire visitors with a variety of compelling reasons to visit year-round.

In summary, engaging consumers with rich, inspirational content should be  an essential component of any destination’s top of funnel activities.

For more great content and ideas shared across an inspiring two days, check out #DTTTCampus on Twitter and Instagram, or sign up to our Launchpad  for more in-depth insights into the topics and challenges discussed. This will also give you a taste of what Global 2018 has to offer - inspiring talks and the opportunity to meet DMO's from around the world. 

Stay tuned for more takeaways from Campus and if you attended and have content to share, please do with #DTTTCampus! Campus 2019 dates are yet to be announced, so keep up to date with our social and newsletters so you don’t miss out!

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