Travel industry: Top metrics and charts for DMO dashboards


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In many parts of the world travel season is in full swing, which means that tourism boards, ancillaries, and intermediary sectors are working around the clock to make sure their clients are prepared to enjoy their dream vacations.

Today we are launching the first of a three part series beginning with Tourism Boards or Destination Marketing Organizations, DMOs. This sector of the travel industry has the exciting job of driving interest and destination awareness. DMOs not only inspire travelers to visit, but also provide invaluable economic benefits to their respective areas.

Not surprisingly though, like most marketers, DMOs are under pressure to prove their performance. We’d like to lend them a hand uncovering the top KPIs and charts to include in their performance dashboard in order to be able to not only justify, but also optimize their efforts.

What KPIs should DMO dashboards measure?

DMOs define their objectives around their top priorities: awareness and economic impact, if they are a tourism board, and revenue if they are a paid attraction. Depending on which objectives are most crucial to their business success, they may include some of the following KPIs in their dashboard:


If the objective is to inform potential visitors by providing information and content, be sure to measure awareness through branded traffic and engagement.

Branded Traffic shows us how many of those who access our site are fully aware of our brand. As they have entered directly by using our URL, or searched for accurate branded keywords, they have clearly already been exposed to us. This may be a reflection of how well our ads are reaching and being received by our prospects.

Engagement represents social media health by measuring how often and how well our audience is engaging with our content through likes, shares, or comments. By measuring engagement we can fine tune content and explore our audience demographic to make sure our message is constructed with them in mind.

Economic Impact

Are your awareness efforts successfully driving visitors to visit and spend money? We can measure this by monitoring economic impact a few different ways. If we create content such as specialized itineraries we can monitor the downloads, by including additionals offers we can also track the number of clicks. In this case a KPI like Itineraries/Deals Downloaded would suffice.


Both paid attractions and tourism boards need to monitor revenue in order to be able to justify the success of their marketing campaigns. Average Night Stay is a good indicator of revenue for tourism boards as they typically earn revenue from city taxes associated with hotel night stays. Paid attractions might want to measure their performance in additional KPIs such as Booking Ratio  [(number of bookings) / (number of bookings) + (lost opportunities)] to monitor how successful their conversion rate is.

What data visualizations should DMO dashboards include?

We recommend that top KPIs span the full width of the dashboard in order to allow marketers to take in the most vital information quickly and accurately. While charts and tables are extremely useful, we suggest using them to break down KPIs into important segments to assist in understanding. Let’s take a look at which visualizations are particularly useful for DMOs:

As mentioned above, awareness is of top importance to DMOs, however, before they start spending their digital dollars on advertisements they must get to know their audience. One way to do so could be to visualize their audience in two different map charts:

DMO data visualization

The first map chart should contain data about your market – who are they and where are they coming from? By identifying top visitors we are able to build powerful campaigns, geared towards attracting visitors to our destination by targeting certain geographical areas to reach our desired market.

Next we should figure out where our market’s top arrival destinations are. If we know the majority of our target audience is landing in an airport nearby, we can use display ad placement or keywords to strategically reach our audience based on their arrival destination.

DMO data visualization

To analyze a bit deeper, a line chart breaking down visitors by their point of origin over time, allows DMOs to get further insight into their strongest markets.

DMO data visualization

In order to gain insight into how well DMO marketing efforts are paying off, a bar chart of visitors by market, overlaid with average spend gives a quick glance at the success of geo targeted campaigns.

dmo data visualizationFurther analysis of financial gain can be measured with metrics such as average night spend. This graph is particularly relevant to those tourism boards who earn revenue on hotel night stay taxes. If we see the average stay drop at certain points in the year we can refocus our content to attempt to draw more visitors in those time periods, or reduce marketing expenditure accordingly.

DMO data visualization

What’s next?

Once all KPIs and visualizations have been added to your DMO performance dashboard, it is time to begin making data-driven decisions. By automating the process and regularly reporting on your key metrics, your DMO dashboard should be at the center of every decision, big or small.

Use it to decide on ad placement, unveil hidden markets, test new messages, find out what’s working and what’s not. DMO sector, you have the data, you have the dashboard, now it’s time to make decisions. Bon Voyage!

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Holly McKendry

Sweetspot Marketing Director. Wakeboarder & travel enthusiast. Communication Studies graduate of Texas State University, San Marcos.

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