tourism ambassador destination marketing statistics

20 Tourism Ambassador & Advocacy Marketing Statistics You Need To Know

This is the year of destination advocacy marketing and the tourism ambassador. Don’t just take our word for it. We’ve got 20 advocacy marketing statistics to back us up.

This year, we’ll see more convention and visitors bureau (CVB) and destination marketing organizations (DMO) looking inward to fully embrace the power of local tourism ambassadors and brand advocates that align stakeholders and build relevance. Therefore spreading their marketing messages across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever crazy next-gen augmented reality social network is being cooked up.

Here are a few thoughts from The Tourism Academy...

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Why is this the Year of Tourism Ambassador & Destination Advocacy Marketing?

1. CVB and DMO Brands have seen dips in organic reach on social sites.

Bottom line, your fans and followers are less likely (organically) to see any of the content you oh-so-meticulously produced and published to your social channels.

When brands hear this, they instinctively start reaching for the “Boost Post” button. However, …

2. The cost of digital advertising is rising 5x faster than inflation.

This includes Facebook and Instagram ads – and it’s only going to get more expensive as brands ramp up their spending to compete over the available ad inventory.

Plus, even if you have unlimited coffers to promote destination marketing posts, you need to keep in mind:

3. Up to 30% of all internet users are using ad blockers.

4. Among both Millennials and Gen Xers, there is a rise in ad blindness.

Even if you spend the money to promote your convention & visitors bureau or destination marketing organization and tourism content, it doesn’t mean your audience is going to see or, more importantly, engage with your paid messaging.

If your strategy was to post your content to your social channels and expect your fans to see it (with maybe a $5 boosted post here and there to bolster it), you’re in for a rough year. Enter advocacy marketing.

5. The average social media user is connected to 400+ friends and family.

The Tourism Academy found the actual number of connections are on average over 600+ friends, families and colleagues. This means that for every tourism ambassador and visitor advocate you have sharing your content, that content has the potential to reach 600 individuals – not to mention the friends of those individuals.

  • 10 positive visitor experiences and tourism ambassadors = A reach of 6,000

  • 100 positive visitor experiences and tourism ambassadors = A reach of 60,000

  • 1,000 positive visitor experiences and tourism ambassadors = A reach of 600,000

As your tourism ambassadors and visitors with positive experiences grow in number, so too does your potential organic reach.

Pro Tip: As you scale your tourism ambassador certificate program, you also scale the time and energy it takes to manage your destination advocacy program. That’s why many destinations choose to deliver their Tourism Ambassador Certificate through a reliable online learning platform like

Whether your program has 100 or 10,000 tourism ambassadors, you can use an learning platform to share your content with all of them through a single online, on demand course, reaching your entire community. You can also automatically reward your newest tourism ambassadors for sharing your content to their social channels, advocating for your convention and visitors bureau, completing the online tourism ambassador course, and engaging with your brand.

Once your tourism ambassador spread positive experiences, visitors - leisure, business, convention, etc. - start sharing your content to their social networks, that’s where the real magic begins.

The Power of Tourism Ambassadors & Advocacy Marketing

6. 92% of individuals trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making it one of the most trust-rich forms of advertising.

7. 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands.

8. Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4x the brand lift as paid media.

When your tourism advocates and satisfied visitors share your destination content to their social channels, they are giving your destination their personal endorsement. Even more important than trusting the messaging, content shared by your advocates are more likely to be seen.

9. In fact, people pay over 2x more attention to posts and recommendations from their friends.

If your marketing content mix includes user-generated content, tourism ambassador and advocate shared content provides even more of a lift in visibility.

10. UGC-shared posts have a 28% higher engagement rate compared to standard posts. They are also 2x as likely to be shared.

All that earned trust and post engagement has a direct impact on sales and revenue. So that you can drive down the acquisition costs related to getting more visitors, more meetings, more conventions and longer stays.

11. 82% of consumers proactively seek referrals from peers before making a purchasing decision.

12. 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.

13. Peer-to-peer marketing is the leading driver behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.

14. 28% of millennials say they won’t try a product if their friends don’t approve of it.

15. When a friend or family makes a recommendation, it is 50x more likely to trigger a purchase.

16. 67% of consumers surveyed say they are likely to purchase an item or service they see on their social feeds.

17. Online businesses get 60% of their sales thanks to referrals from advocates and brand Superfans.

It’s not just B2C consumer advocacy programs that see a lift in revenue either. Employee advocacy programs for B2B companies - including travel agencies, associations, tour operators, etc. - also generate a noticeable gain in performance.

18. Employee advocacy results in a 5x increase in web traffic and 25% more leads.

ROI for Days

Tourism Ambassador Certification and advocacy marketing are a powerful marketing channel, but when you combine it as part of macro strategy, it’s pure rocket fuel.

19. Word-of-mouth (advocacy) marketing has been shown to increase marketing effectiveness by as much as 54%.

Which leads us to the number-one, grand-pappy stat of them all.

20. On average, brands generate a 650% ROI for every dollar invested in influencer, ambassador and advocacy marketing.

The Tourism Academy knows Tourism Ambassador Certification, Training and Marketing

As organic social and paid advertising continue to lose effectiveness, brands need to look to other channels to communicate their marketing messages. That channel for a lot of CVB and DMO brands is going to be advocacy and tourism ambassador marketing.

Ready to start your tourism ambassador and advocacy marketing program? Schedule a demo with The Tourism Academy and learn how our platform, instructional designers and trade methodology can help you launch and maintain a successful, far-reaching tourism ambassador and brand advocacy program.

Contact us at +1 954 289 4585 or send us an email!



BONUS - 5 Online Learning Statistics You Should Know

1. For Every Dollar Spent On eLearning, Companies Make Back $30 In Productivity

Productivity isn't just crucial to company bottom lines—it's vital for our economy as a whole. The higher it is, the more output that each person can generate using a given amount of input—something that ultimately drives higher living standards. If the product is software and the input is programmer time, then higher productivity would mean writing more software for a given amount of programmer time. IBM found that even though eLearning was costly, it led to substantial improvements in productivity. For every dollar spent, the company claims that it saw $30 in increased productivity [2]. It wasn't just a function of workers being able to return to their desks faster, either. IBM showed that productivity gains came from the ability of employees to apply their newly acquired skills straight away. It's important to be able to apply newly-learned skills quickly in any role.

RELATED: Tourism Ambassador Training & Certification

2. Students Learn Five Times More Material For Every Hour Of Training

The notion that eLearning is a powerful learning tool is not widely contested. Most companies and educational establishments accept that it has a role to play. But what is less understood is just how powerful eLearning can be as an intervention. IBM is famous for its implementation of eLearning courses at its headquarters and across its global workforce. eLearning makes a lot of sense for a company like IBM that has to continually update and upskill its employees to deal with changes in the marketplace and technology. The company wanted to find out whether it was spending its money wisely or whether it should return to more traditional styles of training, such as face-to-face. To the shock of company execs, IBM found that those enrolled in eLearning courses learned more than five times as much material compared to traditional lessons, allowing the company to make significant cost savings [2]. The reason for the success of eLearning appears to stem from how it presents materials. eLearners consume information in smaller, more digestible chunks, making it easier to consign things to memory and understand how concepts interact with each other. IBM employees could get back to their work faster, saving the computing giant money.

3. Comprehensive Training Programs Lead To A 218% Higher Revenue Per Employee

Deloitte, a professional services and research company, estimates that the average employee needs to dedicate around 1% of their time per week to training. Doing this, according to Deloitte, enables the worker to stay up to date with best practices and developments in their industry. 1% of the working week isn't much time at all. It translates to 24 minutes per week or 4.8 minutes per day, assuming a 5-day working week [14]. Arranging 4.8 minutes of training per day face-to-face would be impractical. But thanks to "microlearning"— a popular buzzword in the eLearning industry—companies can now take this approach. What's more, microlearning may be even more effective than regular learning because people are better at absorbing lots of small chunks of information than they are a few larger ones. You can imagine a worker sitting down at their desk in the morning, taking a five-minute eLearning class, and then carrying on with the rest of their work for the day.

4. eLearning Cuts Energy Consumption By 90% And Slashes CO2 By More Than 85%

It should come as no surprise that eLearning is a far greener and more efficient method of training than face-to-face. Figures from an Open University study suggest that eLearning cuts energy consumption by 90% and slashes CO2 by more than 85% [1]. eLearning courses are, therefore, an essential pillar in the global fight against climate change. The world needs a new generation of people with the intellectual and educational capacities to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Building that capacity takes energy, but it could be a lot less if there's greater use of eLearning courses, especially among educational institutions and companies. Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is a priority for companies and educational institutions. Companies, in particular, need to protect the environment to make sure that they have a functioning, wealthy customer base to buy their products in decades to come. Climate change puts that at risk.

RELATED: Online Course - Developing Sustainable Travel

5. When Employers Spend $1,500 Per Employee Per Year On Training, They Achieve Improvements In Profit Margins Of Around 24%

The notion that a training program could lead to a threefold increase in the revenue per employee seems a little far-fetched. But this is no idle finding, it's the conclusion of the American Society for Training and Development after a study of more than 2,500 firms [1]. It was a serious study. Companies that offered comprehensive training across a range of subjects experienced dramatically improved revenues compared to those that didn't. And it wasn't just revenues that were higher either. Data suggests that when employers spend $1,500 per employee per year on training, they achieve improvements in profit margins of around 24% [8]. Furthermore, for every additional $680 a company spends, shareholder return rises by 6%. Investing in the knowledge capital of a company, therefore, is just as important as investing in the physical capital [8]. Traditionally, companies have been reluctant to train their employees. Most managers know that investing in people yields positive returns, but few are aware of the fact that eLearning affects both the numerator and the denominator of the calculation of the performance. eLearning is more effective than most managers believe at boosting the revenue or profit per employee (the numerator) and it's also less costly than commonly perceived (the denominator), increasing the total return per unit spent. 

RELATED: INFOGRAPHIC: Top Online Learning Statistics For Tourism Development


Bonus: Who are your stakeholders?

Bring destination stakeholders into alignment to support tourism:

Tourism Ambassadors from all possible market sectors come together to create a full visitor experience. Destinations, both big and small, can align these sectors successfully because each benefits from a positive visitor experience!  Here are just a few of those who are positively impacted by your credentialed tourism ambassadors (CTA).

  • Transportation hubs like Airports, Rail Stations, Bus Depots, etc.
  • Activities, Attractions & Events - arts, culture, heritage, casinos, sports
  • Government - City, State, Federal - elected officials like mayors and city council, government employees like police and community outreach
  • Community Members - Passionate Volunteers & Local Citizens
  • Conference Hotels, Convention Centers & Meeting Places
  • Local Mom & Pop Shops and Downtown Merchants
  • Community & Workforce Development / Economic Development
  • Schools & Higher Education - colleges, universities, community colleges
  • Medical Facilities - Urgent Care Centers & Hospitals
  • Lodging & Hotels - home rentals, beds & breakfast, RV parks, hotels, etc.
  • Bars, Clubs, Lounges & Nightlife
  • Real Estate and Reinvestment Firms
  • Places to Dine - coffee shops, restaurants, classy joints and local favorites
  • Commercial Real Estate - malls, downtown alliances, retailers, districts, etc.
  • Event Facilities - convention center, arena, theaters, concert halls, sporting events
  • Modes of Transport - Uber, Lyft, taxi, cab, shuttle, public transit, local trolly, limo, motorcoach
  • Tourism Promoters - Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO), Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), Chambers of Commerce & Community Economic Development Groups
  • Everyone else - Tourism Spending benefits every local person and entity through reduced taxes and economic development, including local banks, corporations, etc.

Need help aligning your community, finding tourism ambassadors or designing your tourism ambassador program? Contact us today and our expert team will be happy to help you get the results you’re looking for. Cheers!




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