It’s Time To Rethink Effective PR Measurement for Destinations

schedule 3 min read calendar_today
<span>It’s Time To Rethink Effective PR Measurement for Destinations</span>
Bottom Line:

Destination Organizations manage and protect their destinations’ reputations, but measuring the effectiveness of your communications is its own challenge. Consider these five do’s and don’ts inspired by Destination International’s public relations guidebook, available now.

Reputation management is at the core of what we do as destination organizations. While destinations work to attract travelers and talent while boosting the quality of life for their communities, it all hinges on the destination’s reputation.

There isn’t a yardstick, however, by which we can easily measure that sort of work.

But now there’s something even better than a yardstick.

Destination International’s Public Relations and Communications Committee and AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, collaborated to develop a more practical and impactful way to measure public relations success. The resulting Public Relations Measurements Guidebook for Destination Organizations provides updated guidelines for measuring communication efforts.

Need the cheat sheet? CEOs and other C-Suite destination organization executives can download the executive summary here and consider a few of the key takeaways, including a couple of do’s and don’ts that will help you measure your PR results more effectively.

1. DO embrace the Barcelona Principles as a framework for your PR program. It’s not simple to  sum up in a sentence, but in short, these principles argue in favor of building your own KPIs as they relate to your goals and desired outcomes.

Every destination is different, and every definition of success is equally as diverse. There’s no need to look at your neighbor’s paper to copy what they’re doing. Be inspired by those around you, sure, but build your own version of success as it pertains to your destination’s uniqueness.

2. DON’T live and die by advertising value equivalency, or AVE. These numbers are arbitrary at best, and measuring your success by them provides little real value. Many destination organizations still cling to these metrics, but we’re here to argue that, in such a fragmented and atomized media world, you can do better.
It also makes it more difficult to compare results when you consider the broadening spectrum of where advertising appears. It’s not just magazines and newspapers anymore. The ad value of influencer marketing, for example, complicates the calculations, and muddles the true value of your communication efforts.

3. DO embrace qualitative measurements. We’ve been singing this song for a while now, but many destination organizations still aren’t humming along. While numbers of visitors and dollar amounts are just fine to report, they don’t tell the whole story of your PR success. Additional factors like brand health and consumer perception — which can’t be whittled down to a statistic — are equally vital to underscoring the value of your communication efforts.

More nuanced research, like surveys and focus groups, will help break through the noise of numbers to give you a more well-rounded snapshot of your PR efforts in action.

4. DON’T trust AVE entirely. Even if you ignore the previous warning, be warned that AVE can be a wildly misleading representation of your PR program’s value. A destination can land all of the high-value media placements in the world, but if you’re not reaching target audiences, it’ll do little good.

Cost simply does not equal value in the end, not when it comes to your destination’s reputation. The value will be in the impact your PR efforts have concretely on your visitation and quality of life for local residents, among other more qualitative results.

5. DO integrate your PR metrics with other marketing efforts. Your destination isn’t just working on media relations efforts to generate editorial coverage. There are other marketing efforts at work, social content campaigns, search marketing efforts and traditional creative advertising campaigns.

Avoid evaluating your public relations efforts in a silo. Integrate them with other results to build a more complete image of how your destination is succeeding in all of its goals. There’s more at play than just cultivating the right reputation, but other marketing efforts may help — or hinder — your efforts, which is why it’s best to get the whole picture.

For more inspiration, download the full report, Public Relations Measurements Guidebook for Destination Organizations, for free today.

About the Author

Karyl Leigh Barnes, CDME

President | Tourism
Development Counsellors International

Karyl Leigh Barnes is the President of Development Counsellors International’s Tourism Practice. She’s helped destinations leverage the DNC, the RNC and caucuses to ensure that locals and travelers alike understand what makes each destination tick. Following two years as the co-chair of Destinations International’s Communications Committee, she’s now stepped into the role of crafting educational content for communications professionals within the destination organization industry.

chevron_right More from this Author