WTM 2015: ‘The geeks are taking over destination marketing, and that’s a good thing’

WTM 2015: ‘The geeks are taking over destination marketing, and that’s a good thing’

The old ways of measuring the effectiveness of destination marketing are going to be replaced by much more accountable, measurable factors, WTM delegates were told this week.

Big data marketing platform ADARA used the film Moneyball starring Brad Pitt, about a US basketball team that used data analysis to put together a championship winning side despite have the lowest budget in the league, to illustrate what destinations should be doing.

Ted Sullivan, vice president destination and resort analytics, said; “Geeks are taking over tourism and that’s a good thing. We have more data tools than ever before and that’s going to be good for us. Researchers are getting more power than the marketing people.

“Every single destination has to justify their media at the end of the day, they have to prove their relevance.”

Sullivan said the future was media spend assessed against conversions and bookings, “that’s going to be the new benchmark”, he said, not the old ways of measuring impressions, clicks and click through rates.

“We all want accountability. If you are going to be run like a business you are going to start to be tracked like a business and that’s good for the industry.

“Use data. The main reason why is to fight wastage. Spend money where you get results and spend less where you do not. The research geeks and marketing are finding a way to work together to make data work for them.”

Darren Dunn, senior director destination marketing at ADARA, said: “In the past you would go to your research department and say look you need to go out and prove I did a spectacular job. This next year or two is going to be among the most disruptive in tourism. You are going to be able to do better and better and have real results to take to the people above you.”

Dunn said the key was quality over quantity using data and insight to put the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

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