Travel industry experts shared insights Tuesday about the digital travel landscape at a statewide tourism industry conference organized by the Delaware Tourism Office (DTO).
Presenters offered suggestions on how the travel industry can use digital marketing tools, including TripAdvisor and Google My Business, to increase awareness.
Secretary of State Jeff Bullock and Delaware Tourism Office Director Liz Keller also spoke at the event, held at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. The program’s mix of educational content and networking opportunities was the result of input received from the industry based on a Delaware Tourism Office survey last fall.
“Tourism is a vital part of Delaware’s economy. It is the 4th largest private employment sector and contributed $3.4 billion to the state’s GDP in 2017, up $100 million from 2016,” Bullock said. “This workshop is an example of how the state and private industry can work together to assist small businesses and organizations to raise awareness of their offerings which will continue to grow the tourism industry.”
Stephen Pagnelli, head of destination marketing for the Americas at TripAdvisor, discussed how the changing digital landscape affects tourism in Delaware.
“It’s exciting to be giving the state and its partners the latest travel and tourism insights as part of the Delaware Tourism Office’s workshop,” Pagnelli said. “We know sharing information about the trends driving tourism growth and providing updates on TripAdvisor can be valuable to the industry in many important ways.”
Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Office Director, shared DTO’s experience in implementing the Google suggestions shared at the workshop. That resulted in a 100 percent increase in visitation to Visit Delaware’s Google My Business page.
“Online marketing is a key component for inspiring travel to destinations,” Keller said. “We must meet the traveler where they are making their decisions. Tips and trends shared at today’s workshop will provide a cost-effective roadmap to industry businesses and organizations on how to increase online awareness to potential visitors.”
Nine million people visited Delaware in 2017, including increased visitation from the Philadelphia and New York areas, regions where the Delaware Tourism Office has placed a marketing emphasis.
Visitor spending in Delaware generated $522 million in taxes for state and local governments in 2017, up from $504 million in 2016. Without the tax revenue tourism generates, each Delaware household would pay an additional $1,468 in taxes.