Industry Survey Indicates DMOs Expect Marketing Re-Engagement by June

MMGY Travel Intelligence, in partnership with Destinations International Foundation, has just released data from its third wave of bi-weekly surveys conducted among tourism destination professionals in hopes of tracking how COVID-19 has affected this sector.

Part of its purpose is also to ascertain what shifts in strategy are being implemented by North American destination marketing organizations (DMOs) during this unprecedented and volatile period.

The latest findings show that nearly the entire sector (95 percent) has now reduced or postponed planned paid promotional efforts (up from 84 percent during the previous two weeks), yet 50 percent of all destination organizations said they expect to return to investing in paid promotional advertising within the next 60 days.

Eighty percent also revealed that they’ve shifted their sales and marketing strategies or either revised or altered their marketing message.

“COVID-19 has had a substantial financial impact on the tourism industry, and destination organizations have responded quickly by deferring marketing funds in a responsible manner,” said Craig Compagnone, chief operating officer, MMGY Global. “However, search data is telling us that there is still a strong desire to travel, and we believe this pent-up demand will result in a high volume of shorter booking window trips when bans are lifted and consumers believe it is safe to get out and explore again.”

More than half of respondents said they expect to resume paid promotional email campaigns, paid search and paid social media placement within 60 days, while the other half also expect to resume paid advertising within the same timeframe.

The survey also discovered that DMOs have continued to use their own social media channels and informational email message throughout the course of the pandemic to stay in touch with their audiences.

Opinions suggest that industry sponsorships and brand activations may be the most-impacted types of marketing efforts, at least during the upcoming two months, as only 20 percent of DMOs anticipate investing in this area over the next 60 days. Pre-pandemic, more than 80 percent of these same organizations were investing in such channels.

The MMGY survey information was gathered between March 30 and April 6, 2020, from employees of various destination marketing organizations representing U.S. cities, regions and states. The full report can be found here.

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