Making data work for your place organisation

Being able to respond agilely is critical for any organisation, but for place brand teams which are typically resource and time-poor, it’s essential. We reached out to four of our partners for their advice on what destination marketing, economic development, and place branding organisations should prioritise in order to run more nimbly, and there was an overwhelming theme to their answers: data.

Data is the lifeblood of an organisation and is the key to understanding the impact of your strategies. Four of our experts share their insights on what a focus on data means to them, and how you can shape your priorities accordingly.

Aggregating real time data to respond quicker

Having a steady stream of sentiment data is key for any place organization looking to become more agile (or flexible/adaptable) in 2023. For tourism organizations, for instance, having access to a single dashboard which visualizes traveller sentiment, aggregated in real time from social media and digital channels - is critical. For investment promotion agencies, having access to a monthly or quarterly stream of investor sentiment, feedback, and intentions is critical. For place brand organizations, collecting and visualizing sentiment at all levels - resident sentiment (collected via monthly or quarterly surveys), visitor sentiment, investor sentiment, and local business satisfaction is key. Sentiment analysis and visualization allows a place organization to be able to position their programming or marketing to incorporate feedback from key stakeholders. At Trove, we work at all levels to collect real time sentiment data for all relevant stakeholders in an easy-to-use dashboard.

Danny Cohanpour, CEO / Founder, Trove Tourism Development Advisors

Understanding the needs of your customers, residents, and stakeholders

Research, research, research! Carrying out regular research in your destination is vital in order to understand and keep on top of key trends, the latest resident perceptions and to check on consumer confidence levels.

The extensive research we carried out during our EU funded Experience programme in Kent is a great example of how you can create a significant number of new and exciting off-season experiences which were highly targeted towards today's consumer needs.

We also find that working with and listening to a broad range of stakeholders e.g. visitor economy businesses; residents and local universities around a common, shared destination narrative is also critical to developing strong support for the visitor economy and destinations which support residents, businesses and visitors alike.

Deirdre Wells, CEO, Go To Places


Using data to communicate your key messages

The key for Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) that are interested in operating in more agile ways is to use business intelligence data to inform their decision-making. In order to clearly understand guest expectations and what is happening in their market, they can use comprehensive, forward-looking air and accommodation data to make necessary infrastructure changes, identify need periods, and generate increased visitors in off-peak seasons. DMOs are able to overcome seasonality – one of the biggest challenges they face – by creating attractive packages and advertising campaigns that increase interest in the destination on a year-round basis.  

New Amadeus research shows that an important consideration for both DMOs and travelers is sustainability. To appeal to travelers looking for a more sustainable way to travel and are conscious of their carbon footprint at their destination, destination marketers can advertise non-polluting activities, natural wonders, or best times of year to visit. Environmental sustainability is a higher priority for travelers today than it was in 2019 and only 7% of travel agents say that clients are unconcerned with travel companies’ sustainability efforts. According to The Independent, three quarters of the UK Gen Z demographic emphasize the importance of staying somewhere green and ethical and are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly holiday. As global green agendas progress and interest in sustainability continues to grow, DMOs will need to scale up their sustainability message to align with this increased focus on sustainable travel.

Tom Starr, Vice President of Global Destinations, Hospitality, Amadeus

Tracking dynamic perceptions of your place

The world is in flux, probably more than ever before. Challenges like the pandemic over the past few years, the cost-of-living crisis today, and the climate emergency for years to come, require place organisations to stay alert, understand the changes around them, and adapt their strategies fast. Staying in touch with the shifting preferences of your target audiences and tracking the dynamic perceptions of your place is the key to achieving that agility. Ongoing monitoring of your brand online and frequent stakeholder research are now indispensable.

Konrad Jagodzinski, Place Branding Director, Brand Finance

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The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.