A Millennial Confesses: 5 Digital Tools Destination PR Pros Need

October 20, 2023
Popular social media apps on an Apple iPhone: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok, and Threads.

Understanding the digital tools destination PR pros need can be a slippery endeavor. We’re all joining platforms we hope will stick, just to see them crash as quickly as they launched. 

Today’s millennials were the “young people” that boomers were trying to figure out a few years ago. Now we’re doing the same thing with Gen-Z. TikTok is to them what Instagram and X are to millennials, and in many ways what Facebook is to boomers. But look how quickly things are changing – now Threads is in the mix!

As destination marketers, we need to make sure we are hitting all of our target audiences in the right space with the right tools, no matter our own experiences and usage preferences.

Rather than wish for the way things were, let’s look at five digital tools and social media platforms that a destination needs to embrace – even if it means hiring a Gen-Z team member to master them.

1. TikTok: More Than Dancing

With more than 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is a non-negotiable for DMOs. The platform offers a unique opportunity to showcase destinations and attract a diverse audience through highly visual video content. The short-form video format allows for creative storytelling, providing a visually captivating experience for visitors. It’s not just silly dancing videos anymore.

Some travelers might rely a little too much on the app, but stories like this demonstrate the potential for generating realistic, positive buzz about your destination.

2. ChatGPT: More Than Last-Minute Term Papers

AI writing apps like ChatGPT or Google’s Bard are changing the way we all produce content. It’s even possible that this post was created using one of these tools (it’s not – but you’d probably never know!).

These tools analyze data and provide insight that – while sometimes dated due to their limitations – demonstrates how future iterations of these AI tools will be powerful allies. They aren’t replacing human writers, but they can help streamline and augment what humans do.

If you’re writing a blog post or social content about your destination, ChatGPT can help you identify ideas or phrases for target audiences that you may not have thought of, by scraping data sets well beyond anything you could imagine. It requires a lot of oversight and fact-checking but for a baseline text or an outline, AI can bolster destination marketing, rather than hinder it. Sounds like something a chatbot would say, right?

3. Threads: More Than a Twitter Killer

Well over 100 million people have already signed up for Meta’s new X’s alternative, Threads. Sorry, Elon! Its potential is huge thanks to being part of the Instagram family. Whether or not it changes the world remains to be seen. Savvy destinations, however, will not hesitate to jump on it and roll out conversations now, just in case it does stick.

Like Twitter, Threads gives destinations the chance to start discussions around their experiences. The focus on positive and uplifting content – according to Meta – is what sets Threads apart. Travel is inherently a positive and uplifting domain, making Threads a potentially game-changing platform for destination PR pros.

4. YouTube: More Than Traditional Videos

Most of us already know that YouTube is an excellent tool for destination marketing for several reasons. As the world’s largest video-sharing platform, it provides unparalleled access to audiences through visual content. No surprises there, but many destinations still haven’t made the leap.

Showcase your offer through engaging content, like guides and top five lists. Immerse viewers in your experiences. The possibilities are endless, and the investment is twofold, because any high quality video content can play out on YouTube and also be repurposed vertically for YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and TikTok, reaching your audience wherever they’re at. Multiple platforms, one medium – not bad!

YouTube welcomes engagement through views, comments and likes, providing a set of data to measure video successes, so you can see what works and what doesn’t. It offers a treasure trove of possibilities as a digital tool for destination PR pros.

5. Substack: More Than a Newsletter

As far as digital tools for destination PR, Substack is still underrated. While creators have been growing wiser to its potential, it remains an untapped well of engagement for destination brands.

It’s a newsletter, yes, but it allows you to connect directly and regularly with target audiences who want to know more. Send them updates and stories, images and links. It may not be the highest volume in terms of reach, but you’re connecting with highly engaged and motivated audiences who want to hear your destination brand’s messages. 

The platform’s analytics and feedback tools help marketers track engagement, understand subscriber preferences and optimize their marketing strategies effectively. Its monetization features add an extra layer of value, in case you want to go that route. 

No matter which tools you embrace, remember that in a few years (or months), even your twenty-something colleague will be faced with new social media apps that will leave them pining for the days of yesteryear!

Thinking about expanding your arsenal of digital tools and social platforms for destination PR efforts? Connect with Hanna Gbordzoe at [email protected] to learn how DCI’s 60+ years of experience in destination marketing can help you stay up to date.

Written by

Hanna Gbordzoe

Vice President, Digital