B2B Travel Is Back: Far from Business as Usual

Almost dormant at the start of a worldwide pandemic, meeting in person is back and valued more than ever. The $500 billion US industry remains changed with a new approach to hybrid meetings among other shifting patterns. As meeting professionals race to adapt, it presents an opportunity for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) to modify their strategy in targeting planners.

More than 23% of DMO Marketing dollars are spent on B2B, reaching meeting planners for events, conferences, meetings, tradeshows and show attendees. Paid advertising remains heavily placed with traditional industry publications through the organizations that host key B2B industry events. While these partners play a critical role in owned content and second-party data, there are several highly targeted digital tactics to consider in customizing a destination’s approach to the meetings industry. That’s where Brkthru excels – we know one size doesn’t fit all, especially with B2B destination marketing.

Know your Target

Lead volume and win rates, meeting hotel and convention facility product, seasonality, along with the presence of key industry verticals shape a DMO’s group booking strategy. Is there a focus on returning Association business, maintaining a base of SMERF, building Corporate? As an example, the majority of Corporate Event Planners (86%) are women and concentrated in key U.S. cities such as Chicago and New York. Corporate planners are more likely to work at public companies in comparison to private.

Support Sales Initiatives

Lift awareness in key geos ahead of sales missions, tradeshows. Focus on a concentrated area of outdoor billboards, transportation, sports entertainment venues or retail locations through Digital Out-of-Home. Capture mobile devices at key events, retargeting attendees for 30 days with an incentive message. A strategic mix of Paid Search and Display can effectively reach attendees pre- and post-event, enhancing a DMO’s presence or incentive messaging.

First Party Data

With increasing data privacy initiatives, a DMO’s first-party data quickly becomes the most relevant and actionable. Establish your own data acquisition channels and maintain segmented CRM lists aligned with the destinations business objectives. Addressable geofence, look-a-like audiences and CRM list targeting support reaching the planners your DMO’s sales team is actively seeking cross-device.

Watch the Calendar

Unlike leisure travel, B2B travel is not as seasonal, and has more of a steady pace of events throughout the year.  Convention and meeting planners start working on events at least six to 12 months in advance; major conventions and trade shows take three to five years. It can be a long, complicated journey for the nation’s 126,000+ professional meeting, convention and event planners (source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics), with preliminary location research, site visits and familiarity tours to several cities and venues, meeting and hospitality planning. Marketing to these professionals takes a 360-degree approach.

If you’re responsible for destination marketing, convention, meetings or events, reach out to the digital media professionals at Brkthru. We’ll take you through our thinking on reaching this important segment of the travel industry.