One could argue that this blog post should be titled, “How Data Drives Everything.” It’s true, and it should certainly be driving your destination marketing strategy.

Technology has changed the way travelers and tourists plan their trips. From the time they book their flights to that last minute dinner reservation on the final night of their trip – technology has given travelers full control to research, plan and book all aspects of their trips.

Smartphones and tablets have given travelers the ability to sit at a coffee shop in the morning and plan out their entire day. They no longer have to plan weeks ahead of time. Every search and booking provides valuable data. The question is – are you getting your hands on it?

Let’s take a look at two examples of how data is changing the destination marketing landscape.

43% year-over-year increase in the number of smartphone searches related to travel.

This is not a surprising statistic. If you are like me, you plan travel on the go with your phone. That’s why we have them right? Well, that and to call your mom to tell her you love her. Stop reading this and do that right now. Done? Let’s continue.

Two things we can pull from this information. First, your website should be mobile friendly. If you do not have a responsive website, you need to remedy that quickly. Google has begun penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly. Second, all your digital ads should be optimized for mobile. According to Google, mobile searches just exceeded desktop searches. Your tourists are heads down, looking for you right now as they walk into a light pole. For their safety and your benefit – focus on mobile.

More than half of searches on hotel mobile websites take place within a week of a traveler’s booking window.

If you offer a travel planning tool on your website, then there is a good chance you are seeing similar trends within your data. Use that data to drive “last minute deals” and drive spontaneous trips to your destination. Also, encourage people to plan early by giving “early bird deals”.

Your data tells a story about your visitors. It can tell you when and how they like to travel. It’s important to continually dig deep to find trends and build strategies on how to capitalize on them. If you aren’t sure that you are collecting good data or need help in creating a strategy to build data-driven growth, give us a call.