A lot can happen in a year. The industry outlook was very different in January 2022, with pandemic headwinds necessitating a nimble and reactive strategy. As tourism continues to recover, there is an opportunity to apply the learnings of the last three years to emerging trends and innovations to aid the regrowth of the visitor economy. With this in mind, we reached out to 5 of our colleagues and partners to gain insight into how we as a tourism community continue to evolve the work we do. Here is how they responded to the question:
What is one thing you are hoping to do differently, or innovate in your work in 2023?
Solmaz Khosrowshahian, Full-time travel & food blogger @thecuriouscreature and Destination Toronto social media ambassador
My goal is to be more strategic with how I approach tourism projects by determining if there are opportunities to bring multiple partners into the fold and acting as a bridge/connector. I often work with industry members who operate in silos and think we can use resources more effectively and create more strategic content if we collaborate with those who share similar goals! For example: if an airline invites me to experience an inaugural flight, I will try to extend the trip and layer the opportunity with a tourism board or hospitality partner. I also hope to extend the life of my social media content by leveraging videos across platforms I’m not currently active on (like YouTube and Pinterest).
Cara McNabb, Senior Media Planner, Wavemaker (media agency)
We are shifting towards a cookie-less world and first-party data is more important than ever in 2023. Collaboration and transparency with our clients and vendors will be essential when planning campaigns; focusing on vendors who drive innovation and prepare for the loss of third-party cookies. And leveraging channels that don’t rely on third-party cookies by focusing on the consumer journey and building our vendor partner list to drive the most effective campaigns. As the market continues to change and consumers are protecting their privacy, we as marketers need to evolve and be one step ahead to drive results for our clients.
Maxine Morrell-West, Sales Manager, Travel Trade, Destination Toronto
As student travel recovers from restrictions, we are digitizing our student & youth sales collateral for travel planners. Much has changed in Toronto since the first lockdown, and while we’ve always used similar sales tools to showcase the best Toronto has to offer student & youth, the new digital format ensures timely updates to products and programs providing clients with better and more accurate information. Refreshed as required, the digital content highlights Toronto’s student educational programs, performance opportunities, and evening activities. Additionally, we are updating content on our student & youth content hub to meet the evolving needs of student travel.
Rob Housez, General Manager, Chelsea Hotel Toronto
As we enter a new year, our goal is to remain at the forefront in terms of service and value within the competitive market in Toronto. Some of the ways we are implementing innovation in 2023 include: customizing and personalizing sales presentations, proposals and site inspections; investigating the inclusion of a mobile check-in kiosk to elevate the arrival process; building on our local and Canadian food and beverage suppliers to support our local industry; enhancing our brand awareness in the digital world by optimizing our social ads; and, modernization of our HR system, allowing our employees easy access and self-serve options.
Alison Owers-Graham, Sr. Event Planner, Destination Toronto
Destination Toronto is working with Destination Canada and other Canadian DMOs on a project to measure our destinations sustainability, and we look forward to working towards more sustainable events as part of the work we do on behalf of our stakeholders, our industry and the planet. For the last two years, we have used recycled materials for event decor and signage and upcycled whenever possible. We request locally sourced and seasonal foods. We have moved away from water bottles and instead have water stations, encouraging guests to bring their reusable bottles to the conference. In 2023 we will look for new ways to innovate and forward our sustainability commitment.