USTOA Survey Shows DMOs Are Hopeful About Future

The United States Tour Operators Association surveyed its destination management Associate Members to gain insight into their post-COVID-19 recovery marketing plans.

The survey found that 24 percent of responding destination management organizations said that they will restart marketing efforts during the second or third quarter of this year, and 11 percent said that they will start campaigns in the fourth quarter.

However, more than half (56 percent) said that they do not know when they will restart their marketing efforts.

“Our DMO members are a highly engaged group that is eager to learn and share as much information as possible to help restart the global travel industry, especially in partnership with our tour operator members,” said Terry Dale, USTOA president and CEO. “In this time of uncertainty, the survey is revealing in that most DMOs expect to continue recovery messaging in the second and third quarters, with a hope to ‘return to normal’ messaging by the fourth quarter of this year.”

Additional findings revealed that 44 percent of the DMO respondents said that their marketing budgets would increase or stay the same while 48 percent said that they believed their budgets would decrease.

The good news was that about half (49 percent) do not expect to see lay-offs while just 12 percent said they do expect to see lay-offs, and 39 percent were unsure.

When it comes to marketing messages, 61 percent said that they would change their message with 39 percent keeping the same message.

Messages that DMOs will likely be sharing include “postpone, don’t cancel;” inspirational social media messaging; education and training for travel advisors; education of consumers; and the avoidance of tactical and overly promotional messages.

“We appreciate that so many of our DMO members are planning to continue to work in partnership with our tour operator Active Members when the time is right to help get Americans traveling again. These are the people who truly make travel happen.”

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