by Leah Strickland, Business Development Manager @AirSage
The travel and tourism industry is a highly competitive market with new tourism opportunities continually streaming in - options for travelers are nearly endless. And on top of this, travelers are becoming more educated and demanding when it comes to selecting a destination. This is especially true now that restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have been mainly lifted or scaled back. Moreover, travel demand has finally increased after the initial restriction and lockdown periods.
Those restrictions and lockdowns were in place for most of 2020 and much of 2021 and will have long-lasting economic impacts industrywide. With sweeping decreases in hotel tax revenue, which fund many Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO), it is crucial for DMOs to conduct research on their (and their competitors') visitors in order to thrive and effectively attract tourists to their region.
Why Use Location Data?
DMOs and Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) have been obtaining insights on visitors to their market in various ways over the last several decades. Credit card transaction data, in-person traveler surveys, license plate tracking, flight tracking, and tracking of website visits are just a few of these frequently used tools. And, even with these available pieces of the puzzle, marketing decisions are sometimes still made purely based on assumptions of those on the marketing team.
But, how accurate and helpful are these options? Does it really paint the whole picture on who these visitors are, where they come from, and what they are interested in visiting? If one patron pays a restaurant check for a party of six, do you really know who was at the expensive 2-hour dinner in Las Vegas?
This is where mobile location data comes into play - it is revolutionizing the travel and tourism industry and helps DMOs and CVBs become data-driven destinations, along with owners of the large resorts, stay on top of their game too. It allows these organizations to stay in touch with their market and, sometimes, more importantly, their competitor's markets.
Leveraging Location Analytics for DMO's and CVB's
Every organization wants to know everything they can about visitors to their market. Where do they come from? How long do they stay here? How does seasonality impact visitation? How do large events impact visitation? What points of interest are visitors going to once they get here? How has my market changed over time?
These are just some of the questions that AirSage's location data can answer those other methods cannot. Moreover, you can also see your competitors' markets as well and see how yours compares. AirSage has served DMOs and CVBs across the US with our industry-leading insights, and we are proud of the positive outcomes that our clients have had while leveraging our insights. Our Destination Location Analysis (DLA) platform is a self-serve, web-based platform with a user interface (UI) that allows users to conduct studies on their study market and points of interest (POIs).
One of our platform users in particular, Fargo-Moorhead, is one example of how AirSage location data serves DMOs. Danni Melquist of Fargo-Moorhead Tourism states that "our biggest' ah hah' moment was that our mall was the #2 most visited attraction in our historic downtown area. It helped show us that we truly are a shopping destination and to target more of the shopping travelers in future campaigns." This knowledge allowed them to shift their focus on marketing, and reinvest those marketing dollars with minimal waste.
Understanding the Importance of POI
The points of interest that travelers visit in your market are just one piece of the puzzle. To really understand a destination's visitors, it's important to capture their demographics, their length of stay, and their home locations. For example, DLA can present how long visitors spend in the study area, which hotels they stay at, where they live at a state, county, and MSA level, and visitor demographics, such as ethnicity, age, gender, and average household income.
AirSage's DLA platform provides DMO's and other organizations with instant, on-demand access to historical months and years of insight that allows them to better understand "how many people visit" and a better sense of "who their visitors are". DLA is the latest solution for your team to use in order to monetize opportunities, maximize the value of your ad-spend, and help result in a strong comeback after the decrease in travel and tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.