Creating a delightful and memorable experience for visitors is what DMOs strive to do, but more and more, the access to a city literally rests in the hands of the traveler.
It’s the mobile screen that’s now the source of the majority of digital bookings in the US. Visitors research destinations to find top-rated activities, places to stay, shop and eat from peer-to-peer sites, like Trip Advisor, as well as directly from DMO websites. With 73% of digital Americans using a mobile device to do their trip research, destination marketers know how important it is to have a strong mobile presence.
Moreover, smartphones are never far from reach during a trip. Mobile devices touch nearly every part of a vacation. We take pictures of the monuments; our kids snapchat stories to friends; we get directions (and get lost anyway); and we Uber to our next adventure after tapping a screen in our hands.
Facebook’s VP of messaging products David Marcus recently said, “Just like the flip phone is disappearing, old communication styles are disappearing, too.” Americans now spend about 26 minutes a day texting, compared to spending about six minutes a day on voice calls. Text is the #1 app on a smartphone leaving the original “phone” feature in the dust. 75% of Millennials suggest they would rather text than call, and this is the generation that’s spending nearly $200 billion annually on travel, and travel more frequently than any other generation.
Mobile devices and messaging can liberate and expand the DMO. Now, a visitor center can be everywhere. Travelers already use text messaging, or a handful of social apps to communicate with friends - they want to communicate with a destination the same way. Sweden recently created a way for anyone in the world to connect and chat with a random Swedish resident. What’s next? Can DMOs push further to create authentic conversations between visitors and merchants? Can messaging inspire visitation? More likely than not, the leading destination marketers will find the answer lying in the hands of travelers.
Chatbox is a messaging and collaboration platform for business teams and their customers.