Destination marketers play a unique role in the leisure travel marketplace, positioned at the crossroads between travelers and travel suppliers. Thousands of national, state, regional and local level destination marketing organizations (DMOs), convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) and national tourism organizations (NTOs) play a vital role in stimulating travel demand.

For these destination marketers, an explosion of online tools and technologies has provided unprecedented potential to connect with travelers and promote destinations in new and effective ways. At the same time, challenges ranging from funding constraints to difficulty navigating technical change are forcing many to take a close look at what they need to do to remain competitive and relevant among the multitude of online travel players.

More than half of U.S. travelers use the Internet to select a leisure destination, according to PhoCusWright's Consumer Travel Report Part One: Behavioral Trends, but consumers use DMO Web sites for far more than just destination selection. "Consumers are as active on DMO Web sites after they book their travel as they are when planning and shopping for their trip," said Lorraine Sileo, vice president, research at PhoCusWright. "Destination marketers are facilitators of travel at all points in the travel planning process and must orient their online services to facilitate pre- and post-booking needs of travelers."

PhoCusWright's Destination Marketing: Understanding the Role and Impact of Destination Marketers compares the travel search and booking behaviors of DMO users and non-users. The report provides insight into what travelers are looking for from DMO Web sites during the planning, shopping, booking and post-booking stages, and delivers recommendations for offering online booking or referral services and more.

"It is essential for DMOs to understand what visitors are looking for from their Web sites so that they can deliver the right content and services to increase the likelihood not only of destination selection, but also trip duration, in-destination spend and overall traveler satisfaction," adds Ms. Sileo.