100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Top 10 Tips: Digital Strategies to Reach Meeting Planners (Part 1)

Posted: October 24, 2013
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When it comes to digital marketing and social media tools, reaching meeting planners and tour operators can often be compared to trying to find bigfoot, or searching for that ever-so elusive unicorn (i'm still waiting for my first sighting). This rings especially true for DMO's as we all try and understand what, where and how these groups prefer to be communicated to.

This is a topic some colleagues and I attempted to address at the recent eTourism Summit in San Francisco a few weeks back. As you can imagine though, with this being a task of such enormity, the panel and I were struggling to get all of the information into one session.

Mya Surrency, Smith & Surrency Digital MarketingBut have no fear though, as we are going to continue the conversation online with our latest blog post today from one of the panelists! Mya Surrency of Smith & Surrency Digital Marketing stopped by and we asked her what would be her top ten tips for reaching meeting planners using digital and social methods? Just to build a little excitement, we are going to break this up into two posts, and post the latter next week, so be sure to check back with us early to mid next week.

Let the countdown begin:

10.     Use Social Media Effectively
The same study mentioned during the presentation previously reported that meeting planners rated social media less than 5% as the preferred method of communication.  Don’t waste your time managing Facebook and Twitter accounts focused on meetings messaging. 

If planners are going to consult your social media accounts, they will be just as interested in your leisure messaging as it will help inform them about the destination, what there is to do and what the experience will be like for their groups.

When it comes to social media, focus your DMO’s time on LinkedIn.  Make sure your sales team’s profiles are complete and branded with the destination’s messaging.  Teach your sales team how to utilize relationship marketing via LinkedIn to cultivate relationships with planners. 

9.     Guide Planners to the Content You Want Them to See
When you create your digital marketing campaigns to reach planners, make sure you drive the advertising to a landing page that complements the messaging and asks for an online RFP.   Don’t send planners to the home page of your website or the home page of your main site where they will have to search for what they are interested in.  Guide the planners by using a mobile responsive landing page.

8.     Use Retargeting to Maximize Your Digital Spend
As marketers, we have been leveraging retargeting for leisure campaigns for quite some time, but Im astonished by how many DMOs don’t use retargeting for their meetings campaigns.  Especially, when we can actually convert meetings business via an online RFP submission. 

Retargeting gives you the opportunity to keep your message in front of planners as they continue their search across the web.  We utilize retargeting that is managed at the element level with search terms, behavioral search and contextual search to reach our targeted audience.  When you take your meetings campaigns digital, complement the campaigns with a retargeting program to keep your messaging in front of planners and maximize your spend.

7.     Take Your Meetings Campaigns Digital
73% of meeting planners said online advertising is the most effective form of marketing to them.  We see many of our clients are still relying on traditional advertising to reach meeting planners.  For some reason, the DMO industry knows that most people are looking and booking online, but we still rely on traditional media to reach meeting planners. DMOs should start to transition your meetings media spend to be 70% digital and 30% traditional as clearly that is the split planners’ follow.

There are many great sites and tools you can use to reach planners online.  Another digital marketing option is to utilize the marketing opportunities available at the tradeshows your team is attending. Review your sales team’s travel schedule and invest in the opportunities available to your destination.  This is another way to maximize your presence and return on investment.

6.     Only Send Responsive Emails
It is imperative that you make sure your emails are mobile responsive.  We are seeing upwards of 50% of emails being opened on a mobile device.  If you aren’t sending your emails mobile responsive, then don’t send them until you can make them responsive.

There you have it folks! Installment one of our two part post on how to effectively create and manage relationships with meeting planners via digital marketing tools. What tools and tactics are your DMO leveraging? Leave us a note on Linkedin and tell us what works best for you. Stay tuned next week as we will post the top five ways.