5 DMO Search Engine Marketing Tips

Blue Ion has been partners with the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) for over a decade. A part of this partnership for the last 6 years has included managing their search engine marketing campaigns. We thought it might be valuable to share some of the knowledge we’ve acquired along the way with other destination marketing organizations (DMOs).

Here are 5 Search Engine Marketing tips to help improve your DMO’s campaign performance.

1) Protect your brand.
Your city is your brand. Don’t neglect bidding on your city’s name. Historically, we have found these clicks to be low cost and high converting. This also allows us to control the advertising message that our city would like to convey to the audience.

2) Keep a close eye on your negative keyword list.
There are 6 Charlestons in the USA, that we are aware of, and we negative match these to avoid wasteful spending. Consider negative matching appropriate city/state combinations in your campaigns to avoid wasteful spending. You might also consider excluding your city from certain campaigns if new customer acquisition is a goal.

3) Treat customers physically located in your destination different than those outside of it.
We have separate campaigns for users that are currently in Charleston, and exclude Charleston from our other campaigns. This allows us to message them differently. For example, if someone is looking for “things to do in Charleston” and they are in Charleston already, we won’t advertise that they should request a visitor guide. Instead we might advertise local events calendar and include that as our destination URL.

4) Use appropriate ad extensions to help improve the customers’ experience.
We use location extensions whenever possible to help our users navigate to appropriate Charleston landmarks, i.e. the Visitors Center, and call extensions to help drive customers to our call centers so they are never lost or without helpful contact number. We have also begun participating in the image extensions beta program to help showcase our fine city, and help our ads standout from the crowd.

5) Treat the mobile customer appropriately.
Because we have a mobile website without the same full functionality as our desktop site we have mobile specific ads with different calls to action. For example, we advertise more for trip planning with the mobile user versus pushing Visitors Guide requests, due to limited form functionality on our mobile site. We also adjust our mobile bids up or down for each campaign based on conversion rates and cost per conversion.

We hope you find these tips helpful in your DMO search campaign management.

Do you work with a DMO or in hospitality and do things differently? Tell us what works well for you! Keep an eye out for more destination marketing tips on the Blue Ion blog.