The new digital KPIs for DMOs to measure successNews / Distribution | OnlineBy Viewpoints | August 22, 2018Share This article was originally published on This is a viewpoint by Ted Sullivan, vice president of resort and destination analytics for Adara.Destination marketers (DMOs) are able to craft a compelling campaign and distribute said campaign on the appropriate channels. But most need help with the third and arguably most important step - measuring the success of campaigns.This stage is a key piece of improving the effectiveness of marketing efforts and ultimately increasing visitation to the destination. And traditional measurement and analytics solutions are no longer enough to accomplish these goals, so some forward-thinking destinations are updating their digital KPIs. Out with the old Part of the shift to more accurate and effective methods is a move away from traditional metrics such as website visits, impression levels, click-through rates, social media interactions, and the typical post-campaign online survey of 5,000 travelers, none of which pass the scrutiny of lawmakers and stakeholders who determine the marketing budgets of destinations. In with the new Instead, DMOs should capitalize on real-time data, which offers greater insights into travel behavior and helps link digital campaigns to actual revenue, allowing marketers to more confidently defend their budgets.A simple way some DMOs use real-time data to link marketing campaigns to tourism growth is tracking the number of flights and hotels booked during a given period of time. Tourism Spain, for example, was able to attribute more than 24,000 flights arriving to the country’s multiple airports, as well as an increase in hotel revenue, to their fall 2017 media campaign.The correlation between marketing efforts and visitation is made clear by the real-time data Spain gathered before, during and after the campaign. Game theory For destinations with less traffic overall, large sporting events and conferences are crucial in leaving an impression on visitors. It can be difficult to determine if these large events make a short-term impact or affect the surrounding region beyond the event as well.The Arizona Office of Tourism tracked the effectiveness of marketing campaigns around the Final Four games in 2017 to monitor changes in hotel bookings throughout the entire Arizona market. Looking to demonstrate how revenue was distributed throughout the entire state, they utilized this new KPI to track and map bookings as a result of the campaign.No matter the size of the destination, most DMOs are still relying on click-through rates, which don’t uncover much information about the travelers visiting the destination. An alternative is measuring the hotel revenue per impression. Not only does it reveal the guest’s length of stay and average daily rate, but DMOs can also more accurately attribute bookings to media campaigns. The Virginia Tourism Corporation adopted this monthly KPI, which allows them to make more targeted media buys through the publications that drive hotel bookings. Finding the source Another way to learn more about visitors is by tracking the source of travelers.Did they research the destination through the DMO’s website or social media channels? The travelers interacting with a DMO website differ from social media researchers, so it’s worth comparing and contrasting the length of time to research and book, the length of stay and the hotel rate to better understand both groups. Media campaigns can be adjusted accordingly based on the way these travelers are booking.Most DMOs have key markets they target with specific campaigns, but it can be difficult to measure whether interest is actually growing as a result of these efforts. Travel intent can be determined by monitoring changes in travel searches and bookings in new and existing markets, allowing marketers to have a better understanding of what areas need more attention or a different approach.Real-time data opens the door to a new understanding about how people are traveling in 2018 and how destinations can tailor methods to this tech-savvy group and the effectiveness of media campaigns. The more that DMOs embrace data and new measurements, the more opportunity there is to increase marketing budgets and improve the travel experience for visitors.This is a viewpoint by Ted Sullivan, vice president of resort and destination analytics for Adara.Opinions and views expressed by all guest contributors do not necessarily reflect those of tnooz, its writers, or its partners.