Five Reasons Tourism Research Investment is the Smart Year-End Spend

November 28, 2023
Confident young mixed race man using digital tablet while working in the office

We’re careening towards the end of another fiscal year when the budget is begging to be spent, and tourism research investment is the smart way to ensure those funds get used constructively. Having more information to help guide your destination marketing choices is never a poor decision, whereas throwing a giant end of year party can end with, well, other types of regrets.

These justifications spell out why you should be planning new tourism research investments before that budget disappears and you’re left wishing you had probed a few unresolved issues.

1. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

It’s easy to shrug off the idea of engaging in any form of research. Most marketing professionals think they are the experts on their destinations, but the fact is, you don’t know what you don’t know. A few focus groups or surveys can change all that.

A tourism research investment, especially if working with an external research body, can help uncover missed opportunities or shortcomings in your destination marketing strategies. There are a myriad of ways to engage in research, but only when you start turning the stones over do you see what is – or isn’t – beneath them.

2. Data Drives New Strategies

Having data sets to illustrate your marketing campaigns and destination attributes are powerful ways to help spark new strategies and ideas. Once you see the numbers, whether it’s a report on new talent arrivals, data on new tourism businesses, or any other statistical inquiry you can imagine, you and your team can unlock new ideas.

The research doesn’t have to be carried out with any specific idea or goal in mind, only that it will be used to spark new ideas and strategies in the new year. It’s better than letting the money go to waste!

3. Engage the Community with Questionnaires

Destination marketers need to be thinking about how they are engaging and serving their local communities. A year-end survey or focus group with those very community members is a strategic way to do just that.

Conduct research into the local community to provide an outlet for them, to bring them into your DMOs operations, and to invite the possibility that they’ll spark some new thinking for future strategies. If nothing else, your community will be flattered that you asked, and more likely to support your goals in the future.

4. Avoid Relying on “Generic” Research

Having your own research going into the new year will allow you to avoid relying on generic travel research that, while useful, does nothing to speak to your destination’s specific situation. General travel trends are exactly that. General. A successful marketing strategy shouldn’t rely on the same data and research that destinations around the world are reading.

Opt for something more specific and tailored to your destination. It’s a wise use for that budget that will yield more useful results.

5. Kick off the New Year with Purpose

End of year research can be a great start to the new year. Give your destination and its partners something new and fresh at the beginning of the year by revealing the results from your latest study. 

Kicking off the new year with fresh results and a new report is a strong way to motivate and energize your DMO and team members following the holiday celebrations. Give them something to think about and begin the year with an innovative mindset. Start new with a tourism research investment that’s already paid off thanks to the previous year’s budget!

Considering a tourism research investment before the year’s end? Even if the results don’t arrive until the new year, you can use that budget now. Contact Robyn Domber at [email protected] to learn how DCI’s research division can help you think about a project to yield results you can put to good use.

Written by

Robyn Domber

Senior Vice President, Research