Our Takeaways from Destinations International’s Annual Convention 2019

Jennifer McCarthy, Director of Industry Marketing, Expedia Group Media Solutions
August 2, 2019
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For the third year in a row, we hosted our Insights Summit at Destinations International’s Annual Convention where we connected with destination marketers, heard about new trends in the destination marketing world, and shared our latest insights and best practices. We also presented our latest research on Generation Alpha and their impact on family travel trends. Despite their young age, (Generation Alpha is defined as those born after 2010), they are already playing an active role in family travel inspiration and planning; as it turns out, they’re influencing trip decisions for the entire family.

For those who missed Destinations International, we collected some of our highlights and top takeaways from this year’s event.

Media Solutions Insights Summit

In addition to presenting our Gen Alpha research, we also heard from John Banks from Expedia Local Expert, who shared insights on the importance travelers put on booking activities and experiences when they travel. His insights dovetailed with what we’ve recently learned about Gen Alpha and family travel: activities continue to increase in significance.

Our very own Christine Walker Scarce walked the group through our latest products and features, including incrementality reporting and how it benefits destination marketers. For more information, read the whitepaper Phocuswire produced with us on how our Incrementality Reporting works.

Finally, we also heard from some of our marketing partners, including VisitDallas and the Greater Palm Springs CVB,​ on how they addressed challenges in their markets. They spoke about how they have successfully marketed their destinations to target audiences and about how they have been able to demonstrate tangible ROI to their stakeholders​

Destinations International 2019 Group photo

Thank you to all those who attended our Insights Summit.

The Future for Destination Marketing Organizations

Destination organizations are always navigating shifting political and economic realities. Paul Ouimet, Founder and CEO of NEXTFactor, shared key findings from their 2019 Futures Study, which surveyed more than 500 destination leaders in over 50 countries. Study results identified three major transformational opportunities for DMOs: 1) Destination Stewardship - balancing economic development, sustainable tourism, and quality of life; 2) Community Alignment - building public support around a shared vision for the destination; and 3) Digital Conversion - connecting with visitors on mobile devices to drive real-time sales in-destination.

Ouimet and NEXTFactor predict that destinations that are prepared to act on these three opportunities will be able to rise above the competition and reap revenue rewards.

Engaging the Chinese Traveler

The travel industry has long had its eyes on China, as the largest outbound travel market in the world, and the clear message at Destinations International’s Annual Convention was that we should not lose focus anytime soon. China is the world’s largest outbound travel market and their growth is not showing any signs of slowing. Research from Brand USA shows us that 40 percent of the 140 million annual outbound Chinese travelers include day trips to Hong Kong and Macau, and of the remaining, 26 million are short and mid-haul trips and 14 million are long-haul trips.

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As airline connections between China and the U.S. are on the rise, so are DMOs' marketing initiatives to engage these travelers. VisitSeattle, whose representative sat on a panel about navigating China’s ever-changing landscape, mentioned they are increasing their marketing spend on platforms like Weibo and WeChat to capture this audience’s attention. We believe that DMOs that are able to engage on in-country social platforms and target other marketing efforts at Chinese travelers will be well-positioned to engage this huge and growing group of travelers.

Community Advocacy is Changing the Game for Destination Organizations

As the lines between economic development, tourism marketing, and civic awareness continue to blur, destinations are faced with the challenge - and opportunity - of adapting their operations and making community advocacy a core objective of their overall mission.

Craig Compagnone, COO, MMGY Global, shared key insights from a recent industry survey conducted in partnership with Destinations International and the World Travel Market. The results, captured from leaders and staff across travel and tourism organizations, dove into how DMOs are managing and executing against community advocacy today while balancing the need for further growth in visitation. Leaders from Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Colorado Tourism Office, and NYC & Company also showcased the latest ways they are engaging their communities and focusing on their greatest assets—their people, culture and communities—to inspire travelers to visit.

Learn more about how we help DMOs stay ahead of marketing trends, engage their target audiences, and achieve their visitation goals. 


Picture of Jennifer McCarthy, Director of Industry Marketing, Expedia Group Media Solutions
Jennifer McCarthy
Director of Industry Marketing, Expedia Group Media Solutions
Jennifer McCarthy is the global director of Industry Marketing, responsible for driving awareness in the marketplace of Expedia Group Media Solutions through press, influencer, speaking, content, branding and social programs. With more than 15 years of experience, she leads the global team in managing and bringing to market custom research projects and content, and communicating innovative campaigns, which have resulted in travel and marketing industry coverage, recognition and accolades. Before joining Expedia Group Media Solutions in 2015, for five years Jennifer led the Waggener Edstrom (WE) agency teams in Seattle driving the technology and digital marketing industry PR for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Advertising. Prior to that, she managed teams at leading PR agencies in New York focused on award-winning technology and corporate communications programs for key Fortune 500 brands. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound, and lives in Seattle with her family and feisty terrier.
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