Last week’s look into the crystal ball for DMOs with Gathan Borden was so well received, this week we’re sharing insights from another thought leader.
Josh Collins is one of those rare people who can dream it up AND get it done.
His ability to get ahead of the curve in fast-moving digital communications is widely admired for being among the sharpest. Digital Communications Manager at Visit Franklin and an early member of the eTourism Summit Advisory Board…”Here’s Josh!”
|Thought Leaders See Tomorrow |
Q: Digitally-speaking, what keeps you up at night?
Good question. I’m possibly an anomaly here but there isn’t much that keeps me up at night. I suppose if I could say anything here it’d be concern that the human culture I’ve created through the brand I currently steward would somehow be lost through advancements in technology and automation platforms. Real humans connecting and communicating with other real humans can’t be replaced no matter how hard we might want to try.
Q: What will the successful DMO model look like in five years? What are its main differences to the current model?
The successful DMO model five years from now will be crystal clear on their audience, shedding their diluted attempt to serve too many masters. Currently the DMO model is hampered by the political baggage it attempts to carry in catering to multiple audiences, both internal and external, thereby hampering its ability to truly connect with their inbound travel audience. As long as any marketing organization tries to serve multiple audiences they’ll exist similar to a house divided on itself.
|Q: Where will DMOs be able to add value? And especially, how can we create trust and deliver on it?|
The greatest value a DMO can add is its expertise on their destination. That’ll never change. The things that set them apart, make them unique and create authentic experiences in their own backyards can’t be copied by any other destination. The way to create trust, earn it really, and then deliver on it, is by forging their own paths upon those unique differentiators. Every destination is a little weird in other words, and by leaning into those things that make them weird, they’ll set themselves apart and create more authentic connections with their audience.
Q: Outside of travel, which marketing work impresses you and are there lessons that can be applied to tourism marketing?
I think some of the best marketing happening today is around technology and manufacturing. Start to study and reverse engineer any campaign in the tech and manufacturing sector and you’ll be given a crash course in great story-telling and the bigger picture those stories sweep audience into. Too often, tourism marketing falls short of great story-telling and relies too much on story selling. The audience always knows the difference.
|Q: Looking glass: What will the digital travel marketing landscape look like five years from now?|
The greatest thing I think we’ll see five years from now is an even greater dependence on the only property a DMO can own, its website. Too many DMO websites are awful, tell little to now stories, and create horrible user experiences. Is it any wonder than travelers don’t flock to them in their path to purchase? Social media will continue to change and create way too many unexpected curve balls for the DMO. The only way (IMO) a DMO can set themselves up for success five years from now is by doubling down on their digital road map transforming their average to awful sites into becoming the best answer to the traveler’s question for when and where they are inspired to travel.
Q: How can data drive better creative?
Data will continue to be a hot button commodity but few will know what to do with it. Doing something with data, requires a skill set, let’s just be honest here, very few know how to develop. Listening. Unless you can learn to listen to the data, making decisions from it will continue to be arbitrary. For example, for years research in neuroscience and brain chemistry has proven a concept called the Paradox of Choice. And yet if you survey the websites of DMOs you’ll see something a lot closer to the menu of Cheesecake Factory instead of something truly helpful. Cheesecake Factory wins with their exception to the rule because it’s their unique thing. They get away with it in other words where as a DMO just confuses the user. Data explains it clearly, but few DMO marketers pay attention.