Co-Op Marketing Can Drive Recovery for DMOs, Hotels, and Attractions

Now is the time to get creative with your Co-op digital marketing strategy.

Christy Jobman
October 15, 2020

Picture this, you’re stuck at home with a pandemic in full swing. You’re surfing social media aimlessly, looking for a connection with the outside world. You scroll by an ad with a backdrop of mountains and blue skies, what looks like a lovely, safe retreat from your four walls. It’s a destination in Montana you’ve never heard of–the mountains in Colorado usually call your name and admittedly, you’ve had your eye on some of those destinations recently. But now, you’re officially inspired to try a new destination.

This is just one example of the millions of people who are inspired online to travel, especially during Covid-19, as people spend record times online. But, Covid-19 has also brought immense struggles to the travel industry. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) find themselves cut off from crucial funding to drive digital marketing strategies. Local businesses within these destinations are struggling as well, as hotels rely heavily on occupancy and attractions need people to come to see them. How can DMOs, hotels, and attractions continue to stay visible in a time where potential travelers are more hungry than ever for inspiration, yet marketing funds are nearly gone?

The answer lies within Co-Op Marketing. As they say, with challenge comes massive opportunity. It’s more important than ever for DMOs, hotels, and attractions, both big and small, to band together to drive results. That is what a Co-Op Marketing program can offer–the opportunity to pool marketing budgets and messaging to drive incremental visitation to a destination and direct bookings to key partners. Key takeaway: Co-Ops have historically been prohibitively expensive, but now, small DMOs, attractions, and hotels can participate and maximize funds with Sojern’s matching funds program.

“We believe strongly that this moment [COVID] is showing everyone how important it is to work together to promote a destination. It's a moment where there are less resources, and you need to be more precise, and potentially you need to be very fast. It's very important to stay close [to partners] and to work together.” – Luca Martinazzoli, CEO, Milan and Partners

Now is the time to get creative with your Co-Op digital marketing strategy. Target those domestic road trippers or families looking for a change of scenery. Test out in-state or regional marketing efforts like Visit California did with their “Calling All Californians” campaign. Or, you can try something really out of the box like the Faroe Islands did, giving would-be travelers a chance to pilot a drone, even 10,000 miles away, to explore their destination. Like these ideas and want to read more? Sojern partnered with Skift to release a comprehensive report on all things Co-Op Marketing. In the report you’ll find:

  • An investigation of how destination marketing has been impacted by Covid-19, along with predictions for how the sector plans to recover.
  • Exploration of how tourism marketing budgets are adapting to shifting traveler habits in 2020.
  • A review of co-op marketing as a tourism recovery strategy, along with details about how the discipline is evolving to meet the marketing challenges of the present moment.
  • In-depth interviews with executives from tourism organizations in the United States, New Zealand, Italy, and the Asia-Pacific region.

Follow the link to download the report. If you’d like to speak with an expert at Sojern about the Co-Op Marketing program click here.

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