As the new year comes into full swing, I'm sharing some interesting themes Clarity of Place encountered during our work in 2022. Here are five topics that are emerging for destinations and the communities they serve that can help you position your community for success.
1. Transforming People
If you have not read Pine and Gilmore’s The Experience Economy, make 2023 your year to sit down with it. You can save yourself some time and jump to Chapter 10 to read about the transformational economy. Destinations that focus on providing experiences that transform their guests (mindset, health, environmental consciousness, etc.) will create unprecedented levels of guest satisfaction. Is your organization prepared to help your destination transform lives?
2. Comforting Places
If transforming people is the new standard for visitor satisfaction, then COMFORT is the new metric for the destination economy. In most destinations, it is no longer acceptable or realistic to continuously strive for 100% lodging occupancy or all seats filled in restaurants, aboard flights, or occupying space in parks. Maximizing results creates too much strain on residents and guests. The better measure is comfort. If you achieve comfort, then your businesses can grow while residents remain supportive of the visitor volume. Comfort must combine residents’ desires with businesses’ needs.
Addressing comfort is not just about reducing current strain. It also gives the perfect inroad to assess current offerings’ ability to absorb shifts in the destination’s capacity and needed future development. Is your organization prepared to help guide community planning by introducing capacity and comfort key performance indicators?
Learn more on the recent Future of Tourism podcast (Video / Audio) where Eliza Voss, Vice President Destination Marketing at the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and I discuss how Aspen is using the new CAPCOM2 tool that Clarity of Place developed.
3. Sharing Data
Countless amounts of data resources are now available to destinations. Never before has this industry had so many options from survey research, geolocation data, impact calculators, indexes, and other resources. These data resources are useful internally for guiding decision making, but the most progressive destination organizations proactively translate these data points into applied resources to answer specific questions of stakeholders and partners. Data has become as vital to shared destination and community goals as marketing and sales programs are. How is your organization empowering your information resources?
4. Reassessing Community Assets
No matter whether you refer to them as demand drivers, attractors, magnets, or something completely different, the assets that motivate travel to your destination drive your market opportunities. For example, if your destination does not have strong leisure assets, then you should consider product development before marketing for leisure. Smart destinations are building strategies based on what they currently offer. How well does your organization understand what is driving demand?
5. Valuing Visiting Friends and Relatives
Check your visitor profiles, and you’ll likely find a missing marketplace. Chances are that one of the top three reasons people come to your destination is for visiting friends and relatives (VFR). This often glossed-over market segment deserves to be reevaluated. Sure, some VFR travelers prefer the hotel bed to Aunt Edna’s guest room, but the real push for building this market is reminding your locals just how special their home really is. Reaching out locally with marketing messages can help you build greater support and stronger resident sentiment. How is your organization prepared to motivate local ambassadors?
To learn more, please contact me at email@example.com or 315-569-8908. Together, we will make sure you have Clarity of Place.