Your Destination Marketing Budget for 2011

Your 2011 Destination Marketing Budget...our rough notes.

For destinations, planning season is upon us.

At least, it should be.

Even if you are just in Q1 of  your budget year, the end of the year is an ideal time to tabulate and examine the results of the past 12 months.

And for those setting DMO / CVB budgets…or just playing the shell game with your line items…December also offers a chance to begin allocating funds for new projects, come the new year.

Not to mention a bit of space as coworkers take vacation and your agency begins the annual 4-week holiday party.

So, what should be in your destination marketing budget for 2011?

We thought you would never ask.

3 Line Items for Every Destination Marketing Budget in 2011


Every year for the past 5 years was the ‘year of mobile,’ but 2011 truly feels like the year when something is actually accomplished with the medium by most destinations.  We don’t need to review why mobile is critical for every marketer (see our post ‘Travel Trends – Mobile Travel Stats, Flipboard‘), but you know what, it is.

However, do not narrow your perspective on mobile to just developing an iPhone application.  Mobile sites, advertising, mobile search, 3rd party integration opportunities, tablets, Facebook Places and, yes, iPhone apps are just some of the viable possibilities for your budget dollars.

Additionally, even if you have a small budget, say $5,000, you can still begin building your mobile presence.  A basic mobile site (your logo, intro paragraph on who you are, visitor center location and phone number) should be well within your range, plus an excellent test of the mobile potential with your consumers.

Advertising (including Search)

Specifically search, local search and social media marketing.  The opportunities within each will allow for greater targeting and more creativity, which should equal greater ROI for your dollars.  For all the talk of Google v. Facebook, both are still required for a complete and effective advertising campaign.

Not that I would recommend the following strategy to all of my clients, or every DMO / CVB for that matter, but some organizations will be able to run the majority of their digital campaign through Google and Facebook…without ‘traditional’ display advertising.  Add in local search with Google and your digital marketing plan is done.

Content Development

Content is still king in 2011.  The buzzword will still be social, but the meaning behind it is content.  Social media is simply a communication tool.  A medium for sharing content.  Without content the typical Facebook wall would appear quite sparse.  For 2011 to win at social media, you need to win with content.

But where do we start?

Find a local writer, blogger or English major.  Give them a pay-per-story contract and your branding book (you have one, right?), then tell them to get out and experience the destination.

One story a week would be nice.

Oh, and tweet about it while you are in the field.

Troy Thompson, a self-described technopologist, is a respected blogger, consultant and thought-leader in the Tourism / Travel industry. Owner and consultant at Travel 2.0 Consulting, Troy has been providing strategic planning and consulting services to destinations, DMOs and CVBs for more than a decade.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.