Continued education is something that Newport Beach & Company not only supports but, also facilitates for our entire staff.
And for the past few years members from our Executive Staff had the opportunity to enroll in the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) Program with leading Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).
After two years of dedication with intensive and demanding courses and assignments, we are proud to announce that Vicki Higgins, our Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, completed the CDME program and received her certification!
As the DMO industry’s highest educational achievement, the CDME program focuses on vision, leadership, productivity and the implementation of business strategies. In addition, the Executive will learn to adapt to increasing change and competition and to serve as a more effective organizational and industry leader.
With this, we asked Vicki a few questions on what she learned during her tenure with the CDME program and how it translates to you, our partners!
1. Congratulations on your certification, Vicki! What are the top three things you learned from the CDME program that Newport Beach & Company partners should know?
Strategic Issues in Destination Management – I learned how to navigate the issues that many communities face. One issue is too many different messages being communicated to the consumer and the consumer gets confused about what type of experience they will have in the destination in general. Not only did I learn about the issue – and many other issues – but we are doing something about it by creating brand consistency for our entire community by developing Newport Beach & Company and providing a hub of consistent messaging, content, videos, etc. so we are all singing the same song about the wonderful experience that IS Newport Beach.
Destination Marketing Planning – I learned how to stay on the cutting edge of marketing for our destination…not just up on what’s happening now but what WILL BE happening next month, next year and in the next five years.
Destination Leadership – how to be a leader in the community and work with political officials as well as other influential community organizations…the importance of being involved and staying involved with all areas of the community.
2. What are emerging marketing trends that Newport Beach & Company partners need to know?
Orange County is #8 of the top 10 destinations in the country for people to book hotel rooms via their mobile device. The thing partners need to know is that they MUST be mobile and easy to find if they want to be relevant. VisitNewportBeach.com is our newly launched responsive design website that scales to fit any device the consumer is viewing it on – computer, tablet or phone. We promote all hospitality, restaurant and activity type of businesses within the city limits of Newport Beach as a complimentary service to provide an authentic site so the consumer/visitor finds information easily on things to do in Newport Beach.
3. What is the current state of the travel industry? What do you foresee in the future?
I rely on a lot of research to keep me current on what’s happening in the travel industry and to predict trends in the future. I compile research from US Travel, Visit California, Smith Travel Research (STR Report), as well as watching bloggers, leading influencers in the industry and listening to travelers.
I think the current state of the travel industry is on the upswing – this is based on the Traveler Sentiment Index. The TSI is a quarterly measurement of consumer attitudes toward leisure travel based on the following factors: available time and finances, interest, affordability, safety of travel and quality of service.
http://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/page/2009/09/Apr2013TSIShortReport.pdf As you will see in the graph, it is almost at the highest point since 2007.
I foresee a strong growth in mobile use and booking in the future…this is only one part of a full report on mobile use by business and leisure travelers.
US travellers increasingly turn to mobile devices to plan and book travel, according to Google/Ipsos MediaCT ‘The 2012 Traveler study’.
- What Travellers Value: leisure travellers seek value from trusted brands, business travellers seek convenience.
- Internet and Search: 83% of leisure travellers and 76% of business travellers plan online.
- Mobile: When booking travel on a mobile device, travellers tend to book via mobile browser. A bad mobile website is the number 1 deterrent to booking travel on a phone. 32% of travel apps are downloaded from clicks on ads.
- Online Video: online video as a resource for planning travel has grown over time: 21% of leisure travellers used online video for travel planning, up from 14% in 2009 (the percentage was 26% in 2012 among business travellers, up from 17% in 2009). Findings also show that travellers watch online video in all phases of travel planning; watching a mix of user-generated content and professionally-made videos. 74% of affluent travellers indicated that watching online video while planning travel have prompted them to book as a result. The figure reached 72% among business travellers and 45% among leisure travellers.
- Destinations: Most leisure travellers and 70% of affluent travellers begin researching travel online, without a specific destination or mode of travel in mind.
This compilation study combines findings from Google’s annual Traveler’s Road to Decision study and Google search data. (Thinkinsights with Google, August 2012)
4. As a Destination Marketing expert, how will Newport Beach & Company continue to push Newport Beach as the premier tourism destination?
Newport Beach & Comapny will continue to follow the research, watch the forecasts and trends happening in the travel industry. We also stay very engaged in other industries – such as technology – to see what is happening so we keep Newport Beach relevant and easy to access and navigate for the consumer. We are thrilled to be working with a very forward thinking community so we all work together to collaborate on the brand and messaging so the consumer is very clear about the experience they will have when they arrive in Newport Beach.
5. What does the next fiscal year look like for Newport Beach and what opportunities are there for Newport Beach & Company partners currently or in the future?
This upcoming fiscal year is exciting….here are three big things that I am really excited about:
1. Newport Beach & Company just launched a brand new responsive design website. This website scales to any device – computer, tablet or phone. It is cutting edge technology for our industry and it makes it very easy for the consumer to navigate and explore Newport Beach via any mobile device. This site brings about great opportunities for our partners because any business within the city limits of Newport Beach that might be relevant to a visitor can become a community partner for free. Our partners are all listed on this new site so their businesses will get great exposure to over 1 million visits to the site annually.
2. Newport Beach & Company just joined forces with a brand management and advertising agency. We are revamping all of the creative and plan to launch a very strong advertising campaign through many digital channels beginning this fall. Most of these ads will drive people to the new website for more information on planning their visit to Newport Beach.
3. International Markets – we bring over 6.9 million visitors to Newport Beach each year…of that – 12% are international visitors. We have representation in the UK and Australia and we just recently joined forces with the Orange County Visitors Association to create an office in Shanghai, China. This is a huge market for Southern California and we are thrilled to welcome the Chinese to Newport Beach. Our preliminary research indicates that this could be a very strong positive impact to our local market and generate great revenue for the hotels and businesses in our area. We look forward to exploring that area more and developing plans to bring them to discover the Newport Beach destination.