By Mya Surrency, Digital Edge
After more than a year of working in a virtual environment, selling has forever changed for destination marketing organizations. However, there are some strategic ways your destination salespeople can thrive in this updated environment of new and old sales models.
Salespeople have had to be nimble and adjust to an entirely new way of operating during the pandemic. While things start to go back to normal in terms of working in the office, attending industry events, and hosting site visits and/or FAMs, many sales professionals will need to keep operating with a hybrid sales approach. We have all been in this virtual environment for too long for there not to be behavioral changes that last.
Now that planners have used virtual tools to research and select a destination for their groups, they have adapted to the ease of use and ability to narrow down their options all from the comfort of their computer screen. Thus, virtual tours, 360° tours, videos and virtual presentations have taken the place of what traditionally was the initial site visit for planners to evaluate a destination for meetings or conventions. Now, planners can do this filtering virtually, and destination sales teams are having to blend the new and old sales models seamlessly.
This adds more to our destination sales professionals’ proverbial plates as they begin to get back to in-person sales activities. Moving forward, your destination salespeople will have to balance in-person skills with virtual sales and will need to continue to build out their arsenals of virtual tools to support their efforts.
Destination sales will require maintaining a presence at key industry events, both in person and online. The strategic digital tools to maintain and utilize are your LinkedIn presence and engagement, virtual tours, 360° footage, virtual site tours, virtual sales kits and online proposals. In addition, it’s always essential to keep your database up to date and robust to empower your meetings and conventions digital marketing.
With a hybrid destination sales approach, sales measurements should be adapted to include database development, social presence, social engagement, the number of virtual sites, the traditional leads generated and booked business. It’s not only time for destination sales professionals to adapt and move forward but also for their goals and measurements to do the same.
Through ten years of work and worth, Digital Edge has remained laser-focused on enhancing the destination sales experience — being the bridge between marketing and sales teams to drive more meetings-related business for destinations all over the country.