4 Myths about Mobile for Destinations


As destination marketers…DMOs, CVBs, VCBs, etc…there is perhaps no innovation with more potential than mobile.  The sheer number of devices (especially smart phones), geo-awareness (GPS) and mobility (uh, mobile) is an unique opportunity for tourism marketing organizations.

However, as more DMOs adopt a mobile strategy, myths about mobile seem to gain momentum.

Let’s put a stop to some of the more ridiculous ones we have heard recently.  Whether it is an iPhone app, mobile website or texting campaign, don’t let these 4 myths derail your mobile marketing strategy.

4 Myths about Mobile Marketing for Destinations

We have a mobile website, so we have a mobile strategy.

A classic variation of this myth also takes the form of ‘just put the same content from our website on the mobile app/website/whatever.’

Quite a few ‘traditional’ interactive developers have perpetuated this myth in the last year.  Basically, the interactive developer was horrified at the idea of loosing their grip on anything and everything related to digital, so they quickly threw together a plan to make any website into a mobile version overnight.

Plus, it’s free to current clients!

For the client, who let’s face it, doesn’t really understand the different between an app and an api, and just wants to check the mobile box to look good in front of the board, it is the ideal solution.

So, desperation and futility win out and the destination ends up with a mobile version of their website.

A solution that offers relatively little value for the consumer.  For most destinations, a website is a directory…fine for the web…but not right, and certainly not relevant, for mobile.

Does this mean you should not pursue a mobile website as part of your mobile strategy?  No, of course not.  However, be wary of firms who offer a quick fix.

Apps are too expensive, we don’t spend that much on our website.

We spend X amount on our website and get 100k visitors, so why should I spend double on mobile and only receive 25k visitors.

A common misconception.

First, take a look at your website stats.  From experience, I would assume at least half of your visitors are spending somewhere between 10-20 seconds on your website.  With that little nugget of knowledge, let’s re-evaluate our perspective on the value of a visitor.

Mobile is an investment in the future effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

Secondly, tourism iPhone apps can be cost-effective.  Especially if you find the right partner.  Which means, don’t sign with the first developer who walks in your door.  Determine your goals, research the vendors and develop a strategy.

We know of one vendor who is providing a very cost-effective model for any DMO…but that is best saved for another post.

The visitor is already here, we don’t need a mobile solution.

Let us not repeat mistakes of the past.  With every destination fighting to remain relevant in the mind of the consumer, mobile is a critical positioning tool.  The web is fragmented and to be honest, no traveler needs to visit a CVB or DMO website to plan a successful trip.

However, destinations do have an opportunity to capture some market share in terms of mobile.  Especially if the application or mobile site is helpful and useful to the consumer.

Plus, owning the mobile space within your destination allows you to provide additional services to your members, while capturing significant revenue from advertisers who want to reach the tourist in your town.

Yes, the visitor is already in market and what better time to establish the DMO as the local expert.

Everyone uses apps, texting, mobile browsers…and everyone has a smartphone.

Recent data from comScore shows that about 35% of consumers utilize some type of mobile media…app or via a mobile browser.  Which means 65% of consumers don’t care how fantastic your app is…they are not downloading it.

Just one stat, but a good example of why you, as the tourism marketer, should not paint all of your mobile consumers with the same brush.  Some use apps, some text and others just want a phone.

It would be fantastic if everyone owned an iPhone and used apps, but with so much competition in terms of hardware, operating systems and media, a singular mobile future is a long way off.

Additionally, there will always be a group of consumers who just want a phone, nothing more.

Impossible you say?

Take the example of cable television…everyone has it right?  Not really.  Approximately 40% of Americans do not have cable / satellite television in the home.  And that number has remained steady for years.

When developing your destination’s mobile strategy, take the crawl, walk, run approach.  Start small, but manageable and build from there, ensuring a proper solution for each segment of your mobile audience.

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