Learning from your peers can be some of the most beneficial lessons out there – and such was the case for Travel Juneau staff at this year’s DMA West Tech Summit. A gathering of over 80 destination marketing organizations in the Western United States, this three-day program was bursting with innovative presentations and case studies.

Destination Marketing Manager Kara Tetley, Membership Services Manager Sarah Cannard and CEO Liz Perry flew to Salt Lake City this past week to soak up all the industry wisdom on offer. With our newly redesigned website, updates to our member communications and creative projects across the office, staff was excited to see how well the efforts of our small office stacked against the giants in the industry.

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Summit-wide presentations started with a year-long study commissioned by DMA West to evaluate the impact of DMO websites on their local economy. Thirteen organizations were included in this study, ranging from larger organizations to smaller locations, such as Yakima Valley.

This study found that DMO websites are incredibly impactful in the visitor trip planning and decision making process. For the participating locations, their website contributed to a combined 304,000 additional visits to their cities. These visits translated to an average visitor spending of $37.

Specifically relevant to Juneau was the finding that in “rural/boutique” locations, a DMO’s website was particularly essential in convincing people to travel – as opposed to planning what to do while on their trip. 

A key takeaway from this information, presenters noted, was that DMOs should be providing content that encourages these travel decisions. From the visitors surveyed, keywords such as “fun,” “inspirational” and “unique” fell to the bottom of rated responses to website content. In order to be the most effective, DMO websites will need to curate inspirational, relevant content that drives emotion.

TL;DR: Travel Juneau went to Salt Lake City and learned all the things. Turns out, our new website is more vital than we knew – high five!