How to connect with potential tourists

Friday, March 23, 2018 8:49 PM

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series on tourism marketing strategies.The relative importance of media to the tourism marketing industry has been drastically evolving over the past few years.

In order of importance in our 2018 budget, we invest almost half of our dollars into digital media, followed by print, broadcast and social media taking about one-third of our budget. Our remaining dollars are divided up between out-of-home, international and group marketing.

What does this mean? As I’m sure some of you are aware, digital for us means online advertising, and print means just that: ads that are printed, such as in magazines, newspapers or guidebooks.

But what about the rest? Broadcast media has traditionally always meant ads that run on television or radio, but in today’s “streaming” culture, we also can broadcast ads on platforms such as Hulu, Apple TV or YouTube.

Social media means ads that show up in your Facebook or Instagram feeds. Out-of-home means just that: when we are on the go and we see billboards, ads on buses or park benches, or even spots that play in movie theaters before the movie starts.

International is money spent to attract travelers from outside the United States, and group marketing aims to attract tour groups and events like weddings, reunions and small conferences.

One of the reasons that digital media has grown in popularity is something called “trackability.” In the simplest of terms, this means that the websites that you visit, the time you spend on those sites and the clicks you make all get recorded and counted and given to the website owner.

Through tools such as Google Analytics, we can see exactly how many times someone ended up on our website through the digital ads they were served, and even what actions they took once they arrived at our site. We’re able to see in real time whether the audience we’re targeting is responding to the ads we’re serving them and can adjust accordingly as needed. Different from print media, you can actually measure an ad’s effectiveness out there.

Each medium has its own drawbacks and benefits, and we spend a great deal of time evaluating the purpose and goals for various campaigns in order to determine which medium will work best.

Are we trying to get brand recognition in a market where we’re targeting more baby boomers who are just beginning to think about a trip to Colorado? Or are we trying to get the family decision-maker who is in the final stages of planning a vacation to come to and download a travel planner?

Evaluating information like this helps us determine what might be the best fit for each audience, and most effectively use our marketing funds.

Contact Durango Area Tourism Office Executive Director Frank Lockwood at