Tourism Marketing: Three Essential Summer Marketing Developments

It was one crazy summer, if you’re just coming up for air from the rush you may need to get caught up on everything that happened in marketing. Boy, there was a lot.

Here’s a briefing on critical marketing events.

1. Google Analytics Changeover

Google Analytics Universal Analytics is dead. Long live Google Analytics 4.

If you’re like most people, Google Analytics is what you grab screenshots from to make your monthly reports. For the last 18 months, Google has warned us that they are making major changes to the website data reporting platform. That date arrived on July 1.

By mid-July, data to the old version of Google Analytics stopped. The only way to get current website data is in Google Analytics 4, commonly referenced as GA4.

This change was driven by a shift towards a more user-centric model, emphasizing user engagement and cross-platform tracking. GA4 introduced enhanced predictive metrics, better integration with Google Ads, and more granular data controls.

In short, a lot of your data metrics will look a little different.

The biggest and most challenging part will be the website traffic data. Data is not shared between the two versions of Google Analytics. Once in GA4, you will NOT have old data to reference.

Here are some articles to dive deeper:

If you’re already a Signalfire customer, good news. Many of you had GA4 configured as part of your hosting and maintenance plan. If not, do you need help getting your Google Analytics reconfigured for the new platform? Signalfire can help with that. We will get GA4 configured, connected, and customized to your needs.

2. Social Platform Summer Shakeups

The beginning of July saw some serious changes to some of our favorite social platforms. On July 5, Meta (Facebook / Instagram) launched Threads, a new social platform intended to rival Twitter.

Since Threads was linked to Instagram, the new platform exploded in account setups with 100 million in just five days. There has been a rush to set up accounts and get things going on the new platform. The downside is that engagement is very slow as the new platform struggles with daily users.

Twitter has had its own summer spectacle. On July 24, Twitter was officially renamed/rebranded to X. The infamous blue Twitter bird (its name was Larry, by the way) was replaced with a relatively uninspired X icon.

Already struggling, the social platform formally known as Twitter released brand guidelines. New social media icons and other tools will be updated soon. Should you rush to compliance? No. X is likely to face numerous lawsuits over the brand name and logo.

Our advice?

  • Create a Threads account for your brand or organization
  • Explore and connect with communities or local businesses already posting
  • Share event content and news-related content to begin engagement
  • X? Just sit still and see what happens in the next couple months.

3. AI is Everywhere—Is it good or bad?

The most asked question from marketers this year: Is AI our best friend or the start of the “rise of the machines?” I am firmly in the “AI is a helpful tool” camp.

There are a lot of AI-related terms, but here are the two most critical for destination or tourism marketers to know:

Machine Learning (mostly used by apps and programs): Machine learning is where computers are trained to learn from provided data. They use algorithms and statistical models to recognize patterns and make decisions. Think of it as teaching computers to learn from experience.

Generative AI (most common like ChatGPT): This is a subset of AI that focuses on creating new content. It can be anything from art, or music, to written text. Generative AI is being used extensively on platforms like ChatGPT, Jasper, and Adobe.

Some things to be concerned with:

  • Google Business has begun flagging AI-generated reviews and downgrading their importance signaling that AI-generated content may be frowned on by organic searches
  • Blogs and articles written by AI may not have accurate information for locations or businesses
  • Most AI content generators struggle with brand voice and readability—if you use an AI article, make sure you capture your voice effectively

Some things to be excited about:

  • Generative AI has been exceptional at creating outlines, summarizing content, and transcribing audio or video content
  • With the right plug-ins, ChatGPT can gather information from multiple sources for summarization
  • Many of the AI platforms are being built into website tools to help with SEO

Our recommendations for AI’s applications in your tourism marketing:

  • Request an AI statement of use from content developers and outside designers to know if and how AI is being used for your marketing
  • Begin exploring some of the AI platforms and how they may already be integrated into your current marketing toolbox
  • Discuss with your team ways AI may benefit your workflow or operations

Machine learning and generative AI are still in their infancy. There’s a lot of hype and a lot of misinformation. The best thing you can do is explore some of the tools and determine how you’d like to apply them in your marketing routine.

Some helpful reads:

Signalfire Can Help You Overcome Marketing Challenges

Imagine having a marketing partner that not only kept you up to speed on marketing developments, but also integrated them into your marketing strategy for you.

Signalfire is a team of destination marketing experts able to embrace your destination’s brand and create evocative marketing materials from websites to social media advertising. If you’re ready to level up your community’s marketing, then you need to call Signalfire.