Your destination will host a major event next month and thousands of visitors are expected to arrive. Given the short-term influx of guests – many who are likely first-time visitors – how can your destination marketing organization (DMO) ensure they experience the best of your destination?

Content or community managers can be proactive and create value for their DMO by setting up a virtual listening station.

Listening to visitors improves their experience in the destination

In the past, people in town for a few days might pop into the visitor centre to learn what they should do, or where they should eat. Today, people are looking to their mobile devices. By setting up a listening station during a live event (via Twitter, for example), DMOs can efficiently and strategically monitor conversations to intercept visitors, providing personalized recommendations and assistance, which ultimately improves the overall destination experience.

When tennis star Roger Federer competed in the Brisbane International in 2015, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) set up a listening station on Twitter and Instagram to engage the thousands of tennis fans who were flocking to town. This simultaneously boosted the reach of Queensland as a destination and organically increased the use of their hashtag, while establishing that TEQ cared about its visitors.

Many visitor centres such as Visit Seattle and Destination British Columbia are already embracing social media as a customer service channel. Monitoring live events doesn’t have to mean creating an extra physical station – it can be as simple as adding an extra step into your regular listening routine.

Want to improve your visitor experience online? Destination Think has helped DMOs like Tourism and Events Queensland and Destination British Columbia develop and implement strategies to respond to travellers’ needs in real time. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

How can destinations create a listening station?

First, research your upcoming events. Then, consider the platform. Twitter lends itself best to listening due to the high number of conversations happening at any given time. Instagram can also be a good tool for listening and responding. Monitoring Facebook is also valuable, but conversations may be harder to find due to its privacy settings.

On each platform, finding relevant conversations is as easy as searching for keywords and hashtags relevant to the event and monitoring the conversations leading up to, during and even following the event. Use a dashboard like Hootsuite to automate the process and become more efficient. That way, listening to your visitors is simply a matter of checking in on the latest search results periodically throughout the day for only minutes at a time.

As visitor behaviour changes, listening and responding online is becoming even more important. Anyone can read your destination’s website or read a brochure, but a personalized interaction makes the experience more meaningful for your visitors.

Featured image credit: Phillip Long, Flickr


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