Would you take a detour to check out a cool craft brewery? Or, is it a tasty pork belly taco that turns your head? Golf, or rock-climbing, or visiting historic war memorials? Passions motivate people. And knowing where to find those passions within a destination is the secret sauce for DMO success.
Things to Do: Eat, Stay, Play
Mo Parikh, Founder and CEO of Bandwango, has long felt that “locals are an even more powerful force than heads in beds” and he has advocated for years about the power that resident ambassadors embody. “VFR and local tourism is in the DNA now and here to stay as part of the tourism mix,” says Mo.
In the days following Bandwango’s announcement of a $3.1 million funding round, we caught up with Mo to talk about Bandwango DXE and more. Bandwango DXE is the destination marketing and e-commerce platform that redefines the relationship between people and places, a way to infinitely organize and tailor your attractions, museums, breweries, wineries, restaurants, and retailers into passports, trails, and activity marketplaces that are paid or free. The DXE platform even integrates with your website so consumers can sign up and buy experiences as they read about them within your existing website, he explains.
Track and Measure
As Bandwango knows, it’s not magic, but it is attribution. While visitors are checking in and redeeming discounts at following the spots along these special interest trails, DMOs are digitally connecting the dots between efforts at the top of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel conversion. This, in turn, gives destination marketers a wide array of data to analyze in order to spot trends, track leads, and prove economic impact, which Mo calls “the golden metric.”
- destinations get first-party data from every person who signs up for the passport in return for value received
- destinations establish a one-to-one communication channel with each individual visitor
- destinations engage with local businesses
- destinations and businesses see the dollars spent
- destinations and partners create new long-term opportunities
- community partners appreciate the joint marketing efforts (oddly enough, a pandemic bonus)
It’s a Win-Win-Win
Tip #1: Offer what people want: Sweepstakes, prizes, vouchers, deals, discounts, coupon books, packages, itineraries, and discovery, as with Tourism Richmond’s “Big Red Scavenger Hunt,” a free family adventure.
Tip #2: Entice users with prizes such as T-shirts and mugs, as with Visit Indy, so they keep checking into locations included in the passport.
Tip #3: Segment these value-added offerings into content themes for better personalization.
Between the company’s focus on leisure business, self-guided experiences, and being the glue that stitches the community together, Bandwango has timed the market perfectly with their products. Their number of customers more than tripled in 2020.
Going forward, Mo has his sights set on rethinking the bottom of the funnel, the next generation of conversion and e-commerce, and developing ways to help DMOs generate revenue via different channels, allowing for less reliance on hotel occupancy tax.
So, having a solid foundation built right, we wondered —
Q: “Digitally-speaking, Mo, what keeps you awake at night?”
A: “Keeping promises made and keeping customers happy. We’re built on being open and honest and nothing else will do.”