ESTO – Part 2 (Mapping Engagement)
[Writer’s Note – This is Part 2 of a two part summary of the recent ESTO conference; read Part 1 here]
The topic of an “engagement matrix” to be used by state tourism agencies—or or all destination marketing agencies for that matter—was the subject of one of the first ESTO learning sessions.
The need for an engagement matrix was initially presented at the Smackdown conference in Portland this spring by Troy and me and aims to build a common platform for measuring “engagement” across the digital platforms for all 50 state tourism agencies. The concept is pretty simple; account for the success of your site (or blog etc.) by dividing the total number of visitors who take a tangible action(order a guide, subscribe to e-mail etc.) by the total number of visits to the site.
At the Portland conference, we (25 state tourism marketing folks) initially brainstormed 11 “engagement points” (see them here) and these points were vetted through a survey sent to all 50 state tourism agencies this summer. While the initial response has been low (18/50), the survey gives good directional guidance on what our peers consider the “most important” online engagement actions. After presenting the results of this survey (see the full presentation in the bottom of the post or download it here), the folks in our session (about 20 states) came to a consensus that the following are the four most critical elements of any engagement formula:
- Ordering publications online
- Time spent on site
- Subscribing to electronic information (e-news, deals etc.)
- Searching for specific experiences (or using internal search)
It’s noteworthy that while the above four could become the most weighted elements of the formula, the objective is to keep the formula flexible enough to include other variables unique to each tourism agency.
Our next step is to re-survey all 50 states to reaffirm this direction prior to working with our research team colleagues to build the final formula.