The most wonderful time of the year is upon us — a fruitful time for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) trying to inspire travelers and encourage bookings. With time spent online continuing to rise, digital marketing has become essential for connecting with potential travelers year-round, especially during the fourth quarter. 

56% of holiday shoppers in 2022 discovered brands and products on Meta during the holiday season, and Google advertisers saw a 20% increase in conversions during the fourth quarter compared to the rest of the year. 

We all know people are more inclined to spend money during the holidays, but we also know how hectic this time of year can be. It can be hard to know which marketing strategies to focus on. Not to worry, just like Santa, we’re here with a sackful of proven holiday best practices. Read on, and in no time, you’ll be ready to add a little extra merry and bright to your holiday marketing efforts.


1. Set Clear Goals

Before embarking on your holiday marketing efforts, clearly define your goals. Are you looking to increase awareness of your holiday events, drive website traffic, drive partner referrals, or boost bookings? Having clear goals will help you focus your efforts and measure the success of your campaigns.


2. Create Engaging Seasonally Relevant Content

Share gift guides, holiday-themed stories, and promotional offers to capture attention and drive engagement. Post videos, images, and blogs that showcase the festive atmosphere, shopping, local events, and special dining options available during the holiday season. Use evocative holiday-themed imagery and messaging to capture attention and attract visitors.


A screenshot of Grapevine, Texas' "Christmas capital of Texas" page

3. Highlight the Unique Holiday Experience of Your Destination

Showcase the unique and memorable holiday experiences that your destination offers. Promote events, festivals, and attractions that are specific to your destination and add to the holiday charm. Share stories and testimonials from past visitors who have enjoyed the holiday season in your destination. You can even create interactive content, such as virtual tours or augmented reality experiences, to allow potential travelers to experience the holiday spirit in your destination firsthand.


A screenshot of Visit Tucson's "Warm up in Tucson" page

4. Run Targeted Paid Advertising Campaigns

Leverage paid advertising platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram to reach a wider audience and drive highly engaged traffic to your site during seasonal campaigns. Use engaging seasonal messaging, images, and video along with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven targeting to increase high-quality traffic and conversions.


5. Create Contests & Promotions

82% of holiday shoppers say they care about discount offers when making purchase decisions. We recommend designing special holiday contests and promotions to generate excitement and engagement among potential travelers. Offer prizes such as gift certificates, hotel stays, or experiences in your destination. Encourage social media sharing to expand your reach and attract new followers.


A screenshot of Visit Ithaca's "Retreat to Ithaca" page

6. Give the Gift of Your Destination

Promote gift certificates, packages, and experiences as gift ideas for the holidays. Make it easy for potential travelers to purchase gifts for their loved ones and experience the joy of your destination.


A screenshot of Visit Greater Palm Springs guide to unique gifting

7. Leverage Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to connect with potential visitors during the holidays. Segment your email list and send targeted campaigns with personalized holiday offers and promotions. Use engaging subject lines, compelling copy, and clear calls to action to maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.


8. Optimize Your Website for the Holiday Season

Ensure your website is easy to navigate and optimized for conversions. Update your website with holiday-themed imagery, messaging, and special offers to make it easy for potential travelers to find the information they need to book a holiday trip to your destination.


9. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

After all the work you’ve put into your campaigns, you want to make sure people can find you on Google and Bing. Make sure to optimize your site for holiday-related keywords, create themed landing pages, and use specific meta tags. Regularly monitor your website's SEO performance during the holiday season, use analytics tools to track keyword rankings, traffic sources, and conversion rates, and adapt your strategies based on data insights to maximize your holiday SEO success.


10. Monitor & Analyze Your Campaign Results

Track the performance of your holiday marketing campaigns and make adjustments as needed. Use analytics tools to measure key metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, and bookings. These insights can help you optimize your campaigns and achieve your goals.


11. Extend Your Reach

Explore marketing channels such as Connected TV, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to supercharge your holiday marketing efforts. Inspire holiday travel to your destination, share your content, promote deals and discounts, and connect with more potential visitors.


12. Make the Holidays Part of a Year-Round Seasonal Strategy

By incorporating seasonal marketing into your year-round strategy, you can stay relevant, build trust, and establish your destination as a top vacation spot all year round. Update messaging, images, and videos to highlight the four seasons in your destination. Run campaigns for each season and for holidays throughout the year — such as Easter, Halloween, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, and Pride Month.


A screenshot of Lehigh Valley's events page

By implementing these digital marketing best practices, your DMO can effectively reach its target audience and attract more visitors during the holiday season and beyond. By crafting engaging content, highlighting unique experiences, running targeted ads, and leveraging social media and email marketing, your campaigns will be memorable and impactful. By embracing these best practices, you can effectively capture the spirit of the holidays and inspire travelers to make your destination a top choice for a memorable holiday experience.

Ready to elevate your digital marketing efforts?

Simpleview is ready to position your destination to your ideal visitors through these ideas.

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