Tourism trends: Top five takeaways from destination experts

Aug. 14, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau.

As destination designers, the Sioux Falls CVB has to stay on top of travel trends.

That includes everything from technology to data dissection and the growth of global esports.

“It’s a priority to stay on top of trends through networking with peers and watching how other DMOs operate,” said Teri Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“We travel to a number of trade shows and industry education conferences and bring what we learn back home, especially as we continue to roll out our strategic plan and enhance our community outreach.”

Across the industry, organizations such as the Sioux Falls CVB are evolving from destination marketing organizations to destination management organizations. It’s a subtle shift but an important one.

“This evolution has taken shape because tourism impacts nearly every sector of a community,” Schmidt said.

“It’s not just hotels and entertainment venues; it’s everything from gas stations to banks and medical facilities. DMOs have to educate residents and stakeholders, and advocate for new and upgraded services and experiences more than ever.”

In short, becoming a destination of choice takes the whole community staying on top of trends and adjusting to provide a first-class visitor experience. So here’s what you need to know about the top five things the CVB learned at its recent international convention for destination professionals:

  1. Meeting professionals want the CVB to be “Destination Designers.”

Once the relationship is established, meeting professionals want the entire team of sales, services and hosting parties to stay present from the start of the sale to the end of their event. The most important attribute destinations can offer is designing the experience attendees will have and the walkability between host facilities and things to do. In fact, attendee satisfaction ranks the highest in measuring the success of a meeting or event.

  1. Technology developed for meeting professionals will be the top trend to shape the meetings industry in the next three years.

When asked about what the future of the meetings industry will look like in three years, technology developed for meeting professionals rose to the top at 85.2 percent. This trend is especially important with entertaining apps, facial recognition software and the ability of the destination to host events such as global esports through 5G technology.

  1. CVBs should increase front-line engagement and their relationship with Airbnb operators.

CVBs across the country are increasing and enhancing front-line hospitality and local ambassador training so their services remain top-notch. In a world where rideshare and vacation rentals continue to grow, this is especially important. Since 2017, the perception that meeting professionals have on the strength of relationship between the local CVB and Airbnb grew by 6.8 percentage points, from 26.2 percent in 2017 to 33 percent in 2018.

  1. Stay ahead of data dissection and communicate relevant measurement.

The focus of measurement for CVBs has shifted from hotel rooms booked and venue revenue to enhanced focus on visitor satisfaction, resident sentiment, per person daily spend and total visitor spend. Hotels booked and venue revenue are still very important, but the CVB often doesn’t hold full control over those metrics. Brand perception and marketing performance indicators remain imperative to showing the return of advertising spend and effective use of data to target the appropriate audiences.

  1. Collaborative practices are imperative.

We all know the visitor industry positively impacts the community, but soon there will be a more consistent way to measure it. Destination International coordinated a task force to develop a collaborative practices framework for CVBs and convention centers. The pillars include trust, structure, sharing, access, accountability, advocacy, technology and defendable.

The organization also has a new event impact calculator that will offer a more consistent methodology for convention centers and CVBs to report the economic stimulation of all events.

The good news is Sioux Falls is positioned well to be a leading visitor destination for the future, Schmidt said.

“Our community has an endearing spirit of collaboration that puts us in a great position to continue evolving and elevating visitor experiences,” she said.

To see more visitor industry updates from the CVB, click here.

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Tourism trends: Top five takeaways from destination experts

Take a look at the top five trends the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau learned at its recent international convention — because attracting visitors today takes the entire community.

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