Remembering Why Travel Matters

Carl Ribaudo, President SMG Consulting

The work never stops.  Most destination marketing organizations is a constant on the go place. There is always something to do, always a crisis to deal with, a request from a board member or constituent.  But at some point, it’s important to remember why we’re in the business were in and most importantly to remember why people travel.

Many DMO’s confuse what business they are in. Sure, it’s important to generate revenue, taxes, and employment. But those are outcomes and the results of what DMO’s do. But what business we are really in is subtler, but just as important.

Why Travel Matters

Too often we tend to think of why people travel in terms of the activities they participate in. Golf, Ski, wine tasting and many more. But it is open a deeper reason. Yes, those are activities people love to engage in, but the act of travel is different.

According to Pico Iyer, a British born essayist and legendary travel writer “People travel to lose themselves; and we travel next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than media will accommodate.”

In the haste and immediacy of a high pressured industry always on the hook from constituents and local government to produce more, it becomes increasingly important to square those needs with those of potential travelers.

The reality is the marketplace has shifted over the last hundred years from producing commodities to products than services to where we are today. Providing experiences for everyone. A simple trip to the grocery store has been transformed into an experience, everything from music, to food samples that would have never been considered before, the same is true for tourism and travel. Though most DMO’s know that and understand this it can often get lost in the focus of social media, traditional media and Google analytics.

It’s About Connection.

As tourism marketing efforts have shifted in this digital age, one of the changes is the plethora of number we now have access to. One can literally get lost in Google analytics and research available at the tip of a finger. One of the consequence has become an obsession with hitting target goals, measurements, effectiveness, All of which are a good pursuit. It’s always good to have the data available to refine marketing efforts. One of the consequence is being overwhelmed with data and data becoming our priority.