Untrendy tourism trends in 2016

Tourism trends 2016: what's on your list?

We will try to make this tourism trends 2016 post quick, or it will be tl;dr (too long, didn’t read.)

But before we get into that….

Keeping up with the latest thing doesn’t really help destinations, attractions, or hotels if they aren’t already doing well with the basics.

The top two fundamental errors we see in social media for destination marketing:

1) Lack of response, like when visitors or guests tag or otherwise give a social media shout-out to a brand, and either no one answers at all, or they answer days later.

Yes, here it is in 2016, and we still see this happen all the time. DMOs have to fix it or they won’t succeed with trend number two below.

2) Auto-posting the same thing across social accounts, particularly from Facebook to Twitter, but also auto-posting from email.

Not the same general information – that’s fine – but the exact same post, even when it doesn’t make any sense as written.

Like this what-the-heck-are-they-saying Twitter stream sent from Facebook (CVB logo and name are covered)….

Screenshot of what a CVB or DMO Twitter stream looks like when auto-fed from Facebook


And this stream of no-one-will-ever-click-these tweets sent out by an email service provider….


Example of why you should not autofeed email into Twitter

Everyone knows you don’t run a TV ad on radio, right?

Craft the communications to fit the channel.

OK, OK, rant over, moving on. Here’s what we see ahead in 2016….

Visual Storytelling to Share Experiences

Being able to tell your story visually, with images and video, is only increasing in importance.

Budget to hire pro photographers when you need the best shots, or a company like Candidio to help with your videos (update: sadly, their editing service is now defunct,) and increase your own staff’s skills with the help of resources like tips for beginners from Digital Photography School.

Try new perspectives, like they did in Newport Beach, California with drone photography and video.

Newport Beach CA CVB experimenting with drone video


Try new platforms, like Visit Savannah and Choose Chicago who are using the Periscope app to livestream video from phones. Visit North Carolina used the app to highlight North Carolina music across the state.

People with iPhones can also see those live ‘scopes play within their Twitter stream; expect the same capability soon for Android phones.

Visit Savannah does a live tour on Periscope

Screenshot of a Visit Savannah Forrest Gump tour on Periscope.


Do you want to reach a younger visitor demographic with visual storytelling?

Consider experimenting with Snapchat, which is beginning to get some traction with brands. Here is our post on getting started with Snapchat for tourism.


Snapchat for tourism attractions: how LACMA does it in Los Angeles

LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) on Snapchat finding a little Beyonce in their collections, in this screenshot from the app.


Do a search on Snapchat to find these tourism and hospitality brands and see their snaps:  Update – this is a running list that we’ll keep adding to until it gets ridiculous. 🙂   

Pure-Michigan, RenoTahoeUSA, ParisJeTaime, DiscoverNI, VisitSavannah, VisitRichmond, VisitPhilly, PoconoTourism, ExploreGeorgia, TravelKentucky, OnlyinSFTV (San Francisco,) VisitGrandHaven (in Michigan,) VisitMobile, ExperienceGR (Grand Rapids, Michigan,) GlacierMT, adirondacks usa, whistlerblckcmb (Whistler Blackcomb ski resort,) RustonCVB (Ruston Lincoln Parish in Louisiana,) Pac-Sci (Seattle’s Pacific Science Museum,) usinterior (U.S. Department of the Interior,) TXParksWildlife (Texas Parks & Wildlife Department,) LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art,) BlantonMuseum, AerLingus airline, romtoronto (Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto,) nauticalresort (the Nautical Beachfront Resort in Lake Havasu, Arizona) and MarriottHotels.


Social Media for Customer Service

It is a noisy world. At some point, shouting more loudly and spewing out more content is not going to work for getting people’s attention.

What will?

What can ANY tourism or hospitality organization – of any size – do better than their competitors?

Take care of visitors and guests. Answer their questions and concerns, including online, and say thank you when the compliments come in.

Screenshot of good AAA customer service for Six Flags tickets

People expect customer service now on social media. They expect responses from airlines and hotels, especially on Twitter.

They expect it from destinations and attractions, too.

Be that friendly digital concierge. That helpful voice that you already have offline? Bring it online, too.

More social. Less media.

Build Alliances & Partnerships

It is increasingly important for destinations, attractions, and hotels to see themselves as part of a larger tourism ecosystem, because that is how visitors see them.

Visitors do not see county lines or political boundaries. They are looking for the whole experience in a destination.

Don’t defeat yourself with your own organizational chart.

“The international market does not see the political boundaries…. San Francisco is stronger when we talk about Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, & Monterey as part of why people come here.”

Joe D’Alessandro, CEO, San Francisco Travel,
quoted in Skift

Attractions, retailers, restaurants, and hotels/lodging in particular must build that “marketing layer cake” up from their own individual efforts to include other merchants in a neighborhood, everyone in an historic or Main Street district, towns along a scenic byway, heritage highway, or trail, regional tourism efforts, and even multi-state tourism projects like the Americana Music Triangle.

Form partnerships to build strength.

For example, National Geographic partnering with G Adventures tours makes sense for the strategic direction of both organizations.

Who could YOU partner with in 2016 to reach your objectives and bring in more visitors and guests?

Any other ideas about current trends? Let us know down in the comments!

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Commenting area

  1. Woukd like to talk to Sheila about an upcoming presentation in 2017 about The NOW in SM trends.

  2. Very nicely written! This is exactly what I have been conveying with my small community. Unfortunately many are still not understanding. I am fortunate to have a very talented social media coordinator who gets it, so we strive everyday to build up alliances and at least our social media is off the charts. Your ideas are so much fun and adds to the creative fun of my job! Thanks for the inspiration, keep doing your great work.

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