A new year is here and that means new trends and predictions in the travel and tourism industry. For those who work in destination marketing, 2017 holds a fascinating mix of old and new marketing strategies to create effective campaigns that captivate, convert and innovate. From virtual reality tours to “last chance” tourism, the gamut of trends for DMOs is vast and diverse, giving marketers the chance to look at their locations from different angles while amping up their technological capabilities. Here are Barberstock’s top picks for 2017 Destination Marketing trends and predictions in part 1 of our 2 part series:


Big Analytics, Big Data, Big Returns

You may have heard a lot about Big Data over the past few years, and that’s because it has influenced nearly every industry from sports to retail. It is a term that encapsulates the endless amount of data and analytics available in the world for strategic purposes, or as Forrester states, it is “…high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.” In plain speak, it offers brands the ability to target consumers individually by harnessing information about their personal buying preferences, demographics and multiple other attributes via data mining technology and procedures.

For DMOs, it offers the ability to customize and personalize travel offers for target demographics or even individual travellers. For instance, Big Data might give marketers enough information on a particular consumer to know that they have travelled to Florida 3 times in the past 2 years, all at the same brand of resort, for 1 week at a time, at a price point between $900-1000, with car rental and breakfast included in their package. Using this data, a savvy DMO might be able to offer this same traveller a similar deal for the upcoming year, a move that many consumers find both impressive and convenient in our modern era.

In fact, according to new data released from The American Express Future of Travel and the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, “83% of Millennials place a premium on personalization and are willing to have brands track their habits in exchange for a more bespoke experience,” whilst “the vast majority of respondents (85%) said that a customized itinerary is far more appealing than a pre-packaged one, and 72% would spend more time planning a trip that is tailored to their interests. Additionally, 90% of respondents say they appreciate the efforts of a travel professional to customize an experience based on their preferences.”

Essentially, in 2017, destination marketers will be using Big Data to get detailed and personal with travellers—not only because travellers crave it, but also because it leads to incredible sales and marketing opportunities.


Virtual Reality Remains Strong

Garnering a lot of attention in 2016, Virtual Reality for destination marketing gained traction for brands on the cutting edge of technology. In 2017, the case for VR is even stronger, segueing into mainstream use, as more and more brands are picking up the technology for marketing purposes.

In the travel and tourism industry, popular uses for the technology include showcasing a resort, as Virgin Holidays did when they used VR headsets to deliver 360-degree video sights and sounds at one of their resorts in Mexico. An experience offered at their Virgin Holidays stores, the move not only created hype for the brand, but it also increased sales of the trips to the featured resort.

Similarly, Marriot Hotels had a successful YouTube campaign that took just-married couples at New York City Hall on a virtual honeymoon experience to London and Hawaii using live-action video and a mix of CGI and 4-D.

Other effective campaigns include Destination BC’s ‘The Wild Within VR Experience’ using Oculus Rift technology, which allowed viewers to experience the Canadian province of British Columbia as if they were actually there.


Stay tuned for part 2 of 2017 Destination Marketing Trends & Predictions!