Travel Tech To Maximize Your Destination Marketing EffortsJune 24, 2021 | By: Daniella Middleton
Travel tech has evolved enormously over the past year, meeting the needs of a challenging new travel landscape. When human interactions are compromised, digital solutions keep things moving along. We’ve all seen the headlines about the disinfecting drones and robots. It’s not some Star Trek fantasy.
For destination marketing organizations, incorporating this sort of technology may be second nature – or it may be totally foreign. We’re past the point where basic mobile apps and available internet are nice to have features in the travel industry. They are essential.
While not a focal point of most marketing strategies, technology does often seem conspicuously absent when destinations are touting their selling points.
Let’s change that.
Instead of just recapping the best new gadgets – plenty of other publications can do that – we want destination marketing organizations to understand how they can use tech to attract attention. Whether it’s for targeting consumers, travel trade, or even the press, destination marketing organizations can use travel tech to their advantage to spotlight that they are no strangers to innovation.
Do not touch
Contactless everything has been a rallying call since the pandemic hit, and it’s not going away. From contactless check-ins to restaurant orders, this technology has passed from a fun new innovation to a must-have in the tourism industry. It may have started as a necessity to ward off the virus, but now many in the industry realize the long-term potential of contactless applications.
Destination marketing organizations who work with their partners to ensure that contactless services are out there will stay ahead of the curve. Those who don’t are not only risking looking ignorant considering the current pandemic, but also disinterested with travelers’ safety.
Major brands like Marriott are already touting the benefits of contactless tech. Ensure you’re your destination partners are weaving it into as many experiences as possible, for consumer travelers, business travelers, and even press visits and FAM trips when possible. From hotels and restaurants to public transportation and museum tickets, contactless isn’t the future. It’s the now.
Testing, 1, 2, 3
Ever-evolving COVID-19 testing is also the sort of thing destination marketing organizations never had to imagine before 2020. How far we’ve come. With new travel tech developing all the time, destinations will want to stay on top of the most updated and accurate testing out there.
Imagine press trips or conventions where readily available, reliable, accurate testing is the norm. Well why are you just imagining it? It’s out there already, but destination marketing organizations need to get all of the information straight. There are a lot of tests out there with varying efficacies. Even MIT is on the hunt for the best one, so make sure that someone in your DMO keeps their finger on the pulse of medical technology when it comes to these tests.
For the foreseeable future, testing is still an ally to destinations worldwide, and many places like the UK still require them. Even as destinations open more and more to vaccinated travelers, many people remain unvaccinated, and rapid PCR testing – among other options – will continue to be part of the travel experience.
They are contentious, and perhaps not fully useful quite yet, but digital vaccine passports will likely become something that travelers will carry with them. Countries and U.S. states are producing their own versions, so destination marketing organizations need to keep up with this evolving trend.
These passports will help DMOs better organize things like press trips and conventions. In some cases they may be needed to enter a country in the first place. Knowing the vaccination status of visitors will greatly mitigate the risk posed by COVID-19 and will be a huge step towards returning to more comfortable travel.
Of course they aren’t without their drawbacks. Passport vaccines don’t always replace testing and tracing apps, which are also still used in many places. How they correspond to public policy and how they differ from one destination to the next will also come with a certain learning curve.
The point is, they are happening, so know what your destination is using and how to employ it most effectively to ensure the safety of visitors and business travelers moving forward.
Another type of tech to consider, especially when planning press trips, FAM trips, or any other sort of branded swag, is mobile charging devices. Solar chargers are increasingly more affordable types of travel tech that are useful – more so than the water bottles and USB keys many destinations still hand out today. What journalist or travel advisor doesn’t have a box full of unused “swag” from destination marketing events over the years that is accumulating dust somewhere in the closet?
When journalists and travel trade members are on FAM trips in your destination, a branded solar charger sends two messages. First, it says you’re in touch with what they really need – power to fuel their visit quite literally. Second, it says you’re not blind to sustainability issues.
The technology is getting better – read: more affordable – so consider looking into outfitting your next batch of journalists or travel advisors with some travel tech they will actually use.
In the same breath, a concern among visitors on a FAM trip is how to stay connected as many of us work from “home,” or, well, from wherever we are. Mobile hotspots are the solution. Like solar chargers, mobile hotspots are a type of travel tech that destination marketing organizations should provide for visiting media or travel trade, allowing them easier access to their work without accumulating huge data roaming charges.
They’ve been around for a while, but they are still not the cheapest travel tech out there. Offering them on loan to press and travel advisors in your destination is a powerful gesture,
While getting off the plane on a tropical island should be a magical experience, for some professionals, the stress of not being connected is overwhelming – we’ve seen it firsthand. Handing them a hotspot right away so that they know they’ll be connected will allow them to appreciate – and actually experience – your destination without constantly feeling the disconnect from their home and office.
Wondering how travel tech can become a feature of your destination’s brand? Get in touch with DCI to find out how our 60 years of destination marketing experience can help. Reach out to Daniella Middleton at [email protected] to get the conversation started.