As destinations worldwide refine their strategy in light of the ongoing pandemic, Simpleview recently shared a new data resource to examine traffic trends, informed by website traffic data from over 200 DMO websites. On this week’s Layover Live, I spoke with our director of digital strategy, Aaron Nissen, to explore what DMOs are doing to continue to be valued members of their local communities, all while staying informed of the data trends.

First, the bottom line: since March 11, overall traffic is down 57.68%, and is down about 10% year to date. We’ve found that it’s holding steady and stabilized there.

As a digital marketer, I know you are already examining data constantly when it comes to informing your digital strategy. But this particular case was a unique one, and that’s why we wanted to take the step to analyze a larger set of data, both to give context to your own DMO’s website traffic patterns, and possibly to provide a bit of reassurance during this unprecedented time.

More importantly, we believe it will provide an indicator as to when things begin to turn back around for the industry, as a lift in web traffic should be a sign that people are researching and planning once again. It’s one thing to understand your own website’s year over year impact, but seeing that trend across the industry allows you to measure against a more meaningful benchmark. Many of the key findings from this data set are outlined further in the report (updated regularly) so be sure to review that if you want to learn more.

While it’s still early yet, what can we say about these observations?

While the February-March drop-off in website traffic occurred generally across all markets and DMOs, we are likely looking at a regionalized recovery. Furthermore, this will likely not resemble a “V” shaped increase, but a more gradual period of recovery.

With this in mind, we recommend taking a phased approach in terms of your strategy, beginning with a more local promotion strategy (marketing local businesses and partners to those who live in your destination), then into a regional drive market (marketing to those in about a 200-mile radius). Eventually you can expand out depending on how your particular area of the world is dealing with the pandemic and how air travel returns.

Right now, your best approach is to continue to feed local content consumption toward activities and business that are currently available. Once indicators of positivity in terms of travel return, then you can begin to shift resources and efforts to target audiences outside of your local area.

As always, let our team know if you need support as you apply this data in your own destination.