photo of lightbulb in foreground with team at a table in the background

9 Terrible, Awful, No-Good, Very Bad Meetings Marketing Mistakes

The ‘leisure with a lanyard’ approach is common in meetings marketing, but this could quickly lead your travel & tourism organization down a rabbit hole of wasting money and time and still not reaching the right planners. And when you do, your message just doesn’t land with the audience. 

With 100+ years of industry expertise, our team at Digital Edge likes to think we know a thing or two (or three… or four…) about driving business for destination organizations, convention centers, hotels and beyond. Learn from us so your team doesn’t make these terrible, awful, no-good, very bad meetings marketing mistakes. We surveyed our content, creative, media and account management departments, and here are their top nine no-nos.

team of professionals in mid discussion

1. Keeping Your Sales & Marketing Teams Siloed

Digital Edge was founded with a mission to close the gap that can exist between sales & marketing teams of destination organizations, so of course, this no-no tops our list of meetings marketing mistakes. When messaging, sales materials and brand identity are fastened together, everyone benefits. When they aren’t, organizations could be left with unsupported sales teams, inconsistent messaging and off-brand materials that could hinder the effectiveness of the sales process and lead to an overwhelmed marketing team struggling to keep up with the sales needs on top of their priorities. It’s important for sales & marketing teams to collaborate internally on creative and content marketing needs, and if you need the strategies to unify these two departments within your organization, that’s where Digital Edge comes in

2. Ignoring AI

We get it — there’s a lot to learn when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), and there are so many new AI tools rolling out all the time that it’s hard to keep up. And while your CVB and the human touch remain invaluable to meeting planners even with the AI revolution, not using AI is a big mistake. CVB sales teams can save time by using AI tools like chatbots and virtual assistants to answer an influx of questions on websites and apps. AI tools can also help make things easier by automating repetitive tasks like data entry.

3. Thinking a Leisure Message Will Work for Meetings

Your brand is a top priority, but there’s a delicate balance involved when speaking to different audiences. Don’t think a leisure message will be effective for meetings. Leisure travelers and meeting planners have different needs. You want to keep brand equity in mind while also wanting to adjust messaging to planners. When Digital Edge first started working with Los Angeles, the destination’s post-pandemic branding was making its debut, so we worked with the Meet LA team, the sales & marketing team for LA’s meetings & conventions sector, and LA Tourism’s branding task force to understand the new brand fully. We gathered real-time sentiment and intel from the sales team and customer input to develop a strategy and messaging that played off the brand while adapting to planners’ and attendees’ needs.

“By leveraging your existing brand toward planners, you can develop a comprehensive strategy for your destination that ensures consistency across all marketing materials and touchpoints, while still elevating your branding when it comes to the B2B side.”

 Kerrie Yancey
Director of Content Marketing
Digital Edge

4. Not Utilizing Segmented Campaigns

As we touched on in the previous meetings marketing no-no, not every message works for every audience — and this goes for meeting planners, too. Awareness campaigns are great for getting the word out about your destination’s meetings offerings. But don’t forget to utilize segmented campaigns that focus on the different needs of different planning professionals. Implementing account-based marketing (ABM) strategies allows you to target a segmented group rather than a broad one — and can increase conversions by 14%, according to Gartner. Digital Edge can help identify different segments for your destination, develop strategies and focus messaging.

5. Putting Sparkle Before Specs

As meeting professionals look for more immersive experiences with sparkle that attract attendees, it can be easy to lose focus of what really matters to these planners: the specs. Planners have told Digital Edge that they find convention center information and meeting hotel listings the most valuable information on a destination organization’s website. They want the meetings package facts and figures so they can clearly understand size, scope and access.

6. Defaulting to All Platforms

This tip comes from our Media Team: Pick the right marketing platforms; not all platforms play best for every industry. We’re all for repurposing content — turn that new blog into a video! But where do you want to post that marketing content beyond your website? To determine which networks are right for you, you need to clearly identify your audience, your goals and objectives and what features you need (for example, different platforms also have different targeting options). And, don’t rely on just trade media to reach the planner audience in today’s diverse, digital world.

“Dig into the details of what those platforms’ features have to offer because you can get pretty deep into the targeting to get more quality results.”

Hailey Surrency
Paid Media Specialist
Digital Edge

7. Using Ineffective Imagery

This no-no might sound vague, but that’s only because so much falls under the “effective imagery” umbrella. Creative that catches eyes is crucial to your meetings marketing — from social media posts to print ads.

So, you do NOT want to show in photos and videos?

  • Empty meeting rooms
  • Couples
  • Children (unless you’re running a group tour or youth sports campaign)
  • Imagery that doesn’t match the accompanying copy

What DO you want to show?

  • Action shots of people doing things (clinking glass at a rooftop networking reception or going on a group bike tour)
  • The eccentricities of your destination — the beyond-the-boardroom experiences for meeting attendees
“Action shots don’t mean somebody riding on a motorcycle, but it can be people having a moment in a meeting. Make sure there’s a personal element to the imagery used.”

Austin Sherrill
Creative Director
Digital Edge

Another key tip from the #DigiBunch: Make sure you’re using high-resolution photos and video. 

8. Changing Campaign Messaging Too Frequently

This tip comes from one of our industry experts, VP of Marketing Strategy Jaimie Hart, who has over a decade of experience as a marketing professional in tourism, hospitality and events. Her advice: Don’t change your campaign messaging too frequently. When you take on any marketing initiative, make sure it has longevity and purpose — and not just a good idea. A good idea is just the beginning. Make sure there’s a strategy behind it. There are ways to avoid ad fatigue without throwing out an effective message that supports your brand and speaks to your audience.

Make sure you've completely outlined a project's goals before launching into it with an agency partner.

9. Not Leaning on Industry Expertise

While it’s important for travel & tourism organization’s marketing & sales teams to work together, it’s also important to nurture agency relationships. Don’t treat your agency partners like an item on your to-do list or give them a to-do list. Collaborate more and lean on their expertise. You should also lean on the expertise of industry leaders, like Destinations International, which provides tools, research and certification programs.

Need a hand implementing the right group marketing strategies for your travel & tourism organization? Get in touch with one of our trusty humans at Digital Edge. Contact Us Directly.

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Looking for that edge?
Contact our team directly.