We live in an era where it is easier than ever for people to find great content online about destinations, and they are searching at any time of day—both on desktop and their mobile devices. In other words, content is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. And there’s an insatiable need for it.

This is both good and bad for marketers. The problem is that since anyone can create content, most of the popular online and social platforms are very crowded, and that has driven down your organic reach. In order to grow your audience of locals and visitors by double or triple digit percentages in 2017, you need to make the most of your paid digital campaigns. Here are some key tips on how to do that:

  1. Create a paid social media budget, even if it’s small. If you are not doing paid social media, you’re leaving a lot of traffic on the table. A budget of just $10 to $15 per day on Facebook can increase your reach by at least 50 percent on the world’s most popular website.
  1. Add the Facebook pixel to your site. If you do not already have the new Facebook pixel (updated June 2016) on your site, add it as soon as possible. This pixel helps you to collect data on people that are visiting your website and they, or people like them, can be targeted for future campaigns.
  1. Revise your search ads for new space dimensions. Did you know that Google and Microsoft now give you 47 percent more space within the body of your text for search ads? As of June 2016, the search giants increased their character limits from 95 to 140. This is more space to create a call to action that will get people spending their dollars in your destination with your partners.
  1. To reduce your bounce rate from display traffic, make sure the click-through URL matches the messaging of the banner ad you’re using. If your banner is about outdoor activity options or meeting space or upcoming concerts in your destination, do not drop those people on the homepage and make them hunt for the info they want.
  1. Install the Google Display Network retargeting pixel on your website—even if you aren’t running an active campaign. This way data is being collected and when you actually want to do a campaign, you don’t have to wait a month for the retargeting pool to fill up. You can just press “Go” from the Adwords interface when it is time to go.
  1. Create video assets. Those do-it-all devices we carry around in our pockets and purses, better known as smartphones, have excellent video quality. If your phone is less than 5 years old, chances are that it has an HD video camera built in. Throw in a free video-editing app like Adobe Premiere Clip, Viddy, or iMovie (iPhone only) and you’ve got social media or YouTube video content at your fingertips.
  1. Focus on meaningful content. Not every blog post needs to be promoted. Is your destination really special for hiking, food, beaches or something else? If so, write more content based on those subjects and pick the appropriate audience for that content from your paid distribution channels.
  1. Don’t ignore email marketing. One of the more “boring” and original forms of digital marketing is making a strong comeback. As Google and Facebook continue to tweak their algorithms, it is a MUST that you continue to build your e-mail list because those assets can be used for many other digital campaigns such as paid social or re-targeting.
  1. Leverage other DMO’s e-mail lists. Your neighbors in Dallas, Houston and Austin probably have lists much larger than yours, and those lists could be useful if you’re targeting people to take the 45-minute ride from their city to yours. If you can’t get theirs, take a look at LiveIntent to help you leverage other travel-related lists.

Connect Southeast
Oct. 3-5, Little Rock, Arkansas

  • Must be physically located in the Southeastern
    states
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally

Connect West
Nov. 9-10, San Francisco

  • Must be physically located in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and/or New Mexico
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally

Connect Winter Marketplace
Nov. 28-29, Washington, DC

Connect DC

  • Must be a Corporate or Association Planner that is physically located in the DMV area
  • Third Parties are allowed with completed Trusted Planner Form
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally

Connect Med | Tech

  • Must plan meetings or events that serve the Medical OR Technology industries
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • May be located anywhere in the United States
  • Must have the ability to source meetings nationally

Connect Pacific Northwest
Nov. 14-16, El Paso, TX

  • Must be physically located in Texas
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally

Connect Pacific Northwest
Sept. 19-20, Boise, Idaho

  • Must be physically located in WA, OR, ID, Northern California or Vancouver
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally
  • Must demonstrate a solid 2-year event history

Connect Florida
Sept. 13-15, Kissimmee Florida

  • Corporate or national association planner based in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally

Connect Faith
Oct. 3-5, Little Rock, Arkansas

  • Must plan faith-based meetings & events
  • Must generate 50+ rooms on peak
  • Must have the ability to rotate nationally

Connect Spring Marketplace
May 22-24, Puerto Rico
M
ore than 2,000 event professionals are expected for this industry leading event in Puerto Rico. Tracks include:

  • Association
    • Event must be able to rotate nationally
    • 50+ room nights on peak
    • 2-year history planning events
  • Corporate
    • Financial
    • Medical
    • Technology
      • Event must be able to rotate nationally
      • 50+ room nights on peak
      • 2-year history planning events
    • Citywides
      • At least 1,000 room rights with 100,000 square feet of exhibit space
    • Diversity
      • Planners for multicultural and inclusive organizations
      • Ability to rotate nationally
      • 2-year history planning events
    • Luxury & Incentive
      • Proven history using 5-star hotels and resorts for events
      • Ability to rotate nationally
    • Sports
      • Rights holders and event planners for tournaments/competitions that rotate nationally with at least 50 room nights on peak
      • LGBTQ+ Summit

Connect Marketplace
Aug. 8-10, Detroit
More than 4,000 event professionals are expected for Connect’s largest annual event.

  • Association
    • 50+ room nights on peak
    • Solid 2-year history planning events
  • Corporate
    • 50+ room nights on peak
    • Solid 2-year history planning events
    • Event must be able to rotate nationally
  • Specialty
    • Planners of SMERF (Social, Military, Educational, and Fraternal) events
    • 50+ room nights on peak
    • Solid 2-year history planning events
    • Event must be able to rotate nationally
  • Sports
    • 50+ room nights on peak
    • Solid 2-year history planning events
    • Event must be able to rotate nationally
    • Women in Sports Tourism Forum
  • BizBash
    • Must be a decision maker who is responsible for the procurement of event activations and experiences
    • Does NOT source meetings & events with hotels or CVBs
    • Third Parties and Intermediaries are not yet allowed to participate
    • If you are a Third Party/Intermediary, we encourage you to apply for the Connect track that is best suited for you