DMO Website of the Future

Are you working on an iteration or redevelopment of your destination website?

Are you working on an iteration or redevelopment of your destination website? Then our template is ideal to help you brainstorm some new ideas on how you can make your destination website future proof. To get you started and thinking about some of the key website and consumer trends, we have outlined some thinking around core topics such as search, personalisation, experiential content, maps, chatbots, visual marketing and trip planning. All are important to ensure your website is in line with consumer needs and expectations that are rapidly changing.

Are you working on an iteration or redevelopment of your destination website? Then our template is ideal to help you brainstorm some new ideas on how you can make your destination website future proof. To get you started and thinking about some of the key website and consumer trends, we have outlined some thinking around core topics such as search, personalisation, experiential content, maps, chatbots, visual marketing and trip planning. All are important to ensure your website is in line with consumer needs and expectations that are rapidly changing.

Search

SEO priorities and Google are inextricably linked, however, they should also be considered separately. Google has increasingly shifted away from search towards becoming a publisher. This ever pressing push to be a strong content aggregator and provide answers to users’ questions creates strategic challenges for DMOs.

Google Destinations: Google’s offering is generally good for consumers. From this point of view, it deserves to be recognised. However, Google is also only one channel and therefore one choice of where consumers go to get their information. Useful web resources when planning travel as opposed to seeking tips are always going to be necessary and nobody is better placed than the DMO to deliver this experience. Consider user expectations are extremely high if you do it do it brilliantly or not at all as better resources will trump yours. Also, consider the importance of using influencers to tip people towards the DMO as a resource that trumps others from a planning point of view. Very good authentic content, good linking and recognition from credible well ranked sources, relevance and social endorsement are key to SEO

Personalisation

Direct & Obvious: Invite users to tell you what they like and serve up content based on their interests

The Opportunity - Invisible & Data Driven: Using cookie data your site can increasingly learn more about a particular user and continue refining their experience as they ‘move down the funnel’. To do this successfully, it makes sense for the site not to be a ‘one-shot’ sensory brand experience but support the visitor as a place to inspire, discover and plan. Tools like Adobe Marketing Cloud can prove immensely valuable in tracking behaviour and conversion across multiple channels and devices, such as e-mail marketing, ads, social behaviour etc. and are worth investigating at the same time as a rebuild, where their integration can be more seamless than retrofitting.

Experiential Content

Whilst the importance of the website in the digital visitor cycle may have diminished, it still serves as the only where the experience is 100% controlled by the DMO. Many visitors will never reach the destination site, staying within other channels they representing ‘safe zones’ for them or going directly to other trusted sources leapfrogging the DMO.

Some questions you might want to consider here:

  • How to design a site both structured and fluid?
  • How can they live seamlessly alongside inspirational editorial and practical tools
  • What ‘problems' or 'curiosities’ can experiential content solve for the visitor?
  • “I want to know what it’s like to go there"
  • “How do I experience something unique”
  • “How does it feel” - touch sensory aspect
  • How can existing content be made richer and interactive?
  • What ‘core experiences’ fall within our brand and content framework

Maps & Regional Product

Maps are huge and have always been really important for Destination sites. They help visitors understand the geography of the country and also plan their experiences depending on the time they have. The trend: a departure from fully overloaded database Google Maps which draw content from a heavily loaded database. The user experience in these cases often isn’t optimal and users may not be looking for such granular detail that they could just as easily find directions on Google Maps. Just as with search, think about where the DMO can deliver something unique - which is on brand, curation and product. Leading destinations here have divided the geography of their destination into tangible slices, given them quirky names which appeal to their consumers (consumer research here would be smart!) and present them in a simplified, yet playful way which invites discovery. The practical function that maps can serve is better met not as a separate feature, but in how trip plans are generated and how content is contextualised.

Chatbots

Consumers are significantly more likely to convert when a chat with a good UX is present on a site. There are currently not any really strong examples of DMOs using chats which feature a good UI or feature any form or real automation, except for a pilot recently completed by Amsterdam Marketing. Looking at ‘the trend’ this has the potential to be a real “USP” for those who dive in early (possibly too late). There are endless possibilities to be explored:

  • Restructuring database content to be searchable for voice
  • Rebuilding content to provide direct answers in the context of chat
  • Looking at the most common ‘problems’ faced by visitors and user and seeing if small-scale automation could answer common questions (think FAQ)
  • Consider the huge value of working with local DMOs AND Market offices to personalise and provide relevant localised answers based on user location

Visual Marketing

Visual Marketing is a key driver of engagement on destination websites. There are many integrations which pull in social content through a simple iFrame solution, transforming either the homepage, stories and sub-sections or entire social sections with Instagram community content.

Custom Built v.s Third-Party Integrations: As with itinerary makers, there's a judgement call between building core functionality or plugging in someone else's solution. Companies like Crowdriff and Hashtagio do a great job of providing a platform you can plug and play, but for a number of reasons, hard-coding could be better.

Creative Licensing: Whilst stock content is a definite "no", there are 'social content licensees' out there which are great resources. Also, resources like Behance, where you can source incredible talent for custom-built stories and pages if you're going for illustration especially.

Trip Planning

The direction taken here depends on what the research is telling you. European markets aren’t likely to need the same level of support as long-haul markets so the investment placed in such a tool depends on the need. A very good tool could prove costly to custom-build because of the complexity, so consider alternatives:

Consider the Alternatives: Linking to Google itineraries, as it’s on the horizon consider that as a low-cost alternative

Third-party integrations: whether pre-made itineraries would provide a good alternative, considering that only a rich template is required


Are you working on an iteration or redevelopment of your destination website? Then our template is ideal to help you brainstorm some new ideas on how you can make your destination website future proof. To get you started and thinking about some of the key website and consumer trends, we have outlined some thinking around core topics such as search, personalisation, experiential content, maps, chatbots, visual marketing and trip planning. All are important to ensure your website is in line with consumer needs and expectations that are rapidly changing.