Finding Your Digital Co-Op Partner for Destination Marketing

Maximize the potential of your destination marketing co-op.

September 19, 2019

Tourism co-op programs traditionally have been a challenge to implement given the needs of diverse stakeholders who must come together and run marketing campaigns to serve the greater good of the destination. But that’s all about to change as Sojern has just announced a new digital co-op program designed to empower destination marketers across North America. Here we share the benefits, pick the brain of a destination expert, and ask our clients what they think:

Maximize the Potential of Your Destination Marketing Co-Op

Sojern knows smaller independent hotels, attractions, and CVBs. Having worked with Tourism boards around the US for over a decade, Sojern’s new co-op offering will allow hotels, attractions, CVBs, DMOs, and their agencies the ability to run online campaigns with ease. Designed for DMOs, and their agencies or media partners, the program can support CPM campaigns, programmatic video, display, and native advertising.

The program helps organize the various partners, make billing easier, provide discounted media for all participants in the program, and generate the required data and insights to serve all co-op participants. Plus, the program ties all of the individual campaigns together, so that the destination can see the overall economic impact of their co-op—allowing for greater visibility and reporting back to their states and stakeholders on their effectiveness. It also incorporates the same technology used to influence travelers, backed by Sojern’s leading traveler audiences and digital marketing solutions.

A Destination Expert’s Take

How will this announcement impact DMOs? We asked the expert who designed our co-op program, Cat Origitano, our Senior Manager, Destinations & SMB Attractions.

What do you find most exciting about Sojern's digital co-op program?

Co-ops are complicated, and no two co-ops look or work the same. So building a scalable system that can meet diverse customers’ needs is not easy. But I am really excited that we’ve done just that—we listened, learned, and iterated on our offering based on our customer feedback and made something that is super flexible for them and scalable for us. And I am excited to keep that going—to talk and learn and evolve this offering based on even more customer feedback.

How will the program help DMOs the most?

DMOs have so many stakeholders they have to support—hotels, attractions, CVBs and more—often for their entire state. A co-op, in theory, unites all of these together to create a greater force than they could be separately, but it’s a lot of work. And then you have to do it well, so that you are advertising on behalf of all these different businesses. Doing that work, on top of all your other responsibilities as a DMO, just feels overwhelming. So, I think that’s really where the program helps the most—it brings peace of mind to the DMO that they are supporting every individual business in their program.

What's next for destination marketers looking to expand their digital marketing reach?

I think it’s a lot more of the same—that is, we’re in the midst of a transition for DMOs and their constituents to move offline dollars online. We’ve seen in our own research just how that shift is happening, and I think we’ll continue to see that in the DMO space because it allows better accountability and tracking of advertising spend. With that online shift, I think we’ll also see a greater movement into social channels like Facebook & Instagram. Other travel marketers are already seeing the payoff there and I think Instagram, for example, is a place where people go for inspiration – including for their next trip—and DMOs can really make a splash there.

The Client Take

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what our client’s have to say:

"Sojern's digital co-op program has been giving our industry partners a very cost-effective way of connecting with our campaign's target audiences. It also gives us a cost-effective way of expanding our overall Colorado media footprint. They make it simple for our partners to participate, and with their match and ours offsetting the costs, it's no wonder that several of our DMO partners are integrating this into their own plans." - Cathy Ritter, Director of the Colorado Tourism Office

"We began working with Sojern earlier this year and set up co-branded campaigns for Discover Puerto Rico and several partner hotels. Based on the innovation around the Sojern co-op model, we saw strong results, not only within our website, but also in visitation to Puerto Rico." - Christine Johnson, Associate Media Director of Miles Partnership.

“Digital co-ops play an important role in our marketing efforts, as we allow industry partners to join in sharing our island’s story and elevating our brand. We're excited to continue partnering with Sojern to support Discover Puerto Rico.” - Liz Mabe, Digital Marketing Director of Discover Puerto Rico.

To learn more about Sojern’s Digital Co-Op Program, click here.

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