by Kevin Millington, Acorn T-Stats director
So you want to market your destination more effectively. But how do you generate some really useful intelligence from a load of data that you’ve collected from existing or potential visitors?
This is the conundrum that faces most destinations. If information is data with a story attached, intelligence is information with a strategy attached – or at least some strategic pointers. Intelligence should clearly assist the user to make some decisions – it gives direction.
If you Google search Tourism Marketing Intelligence System you are unlikely to find anything significant. Put simply, the concept doesn’t really exist in any meaningful form. Some destinations have developed computer-based programmes that help interpret data, most typically relating to visitor arrivals, but these tend to be few and far between. The tourism sector, it seems, is remarkably uninventive when it comes to developing systems that help interpret data and give users some clues with regards to what they should do next.
I have just arrived in St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and this week we are gathering together representatives from all nine Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries to thrash out what will become the bones of a Tourism Marketing Intelligence System for the region.
The options up for discussion vary widely from a system that will provide intelligence on air and cruise visitors, through to the monitoring and analysis of social media campaigns to provide intelligence on their effectiveness.
Whatever is agreed upon when all the talking is over, one thing is for sure, the system will interpret the data and turn information into intelligence that will give all nine countries some clear direction on what they need to do to be more competitive in the region. Hopefully it will also inspire other destinations to think more about being creative with their data, and start making it work for them.